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Manny Pacquiao Vs Floyd Mayweather JR: The Andre Berto Ploy

By Geno McGahee

The negotiations are back on for a 2011 showdown between Manny “PacMan” Pacquiao, 52-3-2, 38 KO’s, and Floyd Mayweather, JR., 41-0, 25 KO’s, but will the third time be the charm?

Pacquiao is bigger now than ever before and due to the inactivity and perceived avoidance by Mayweather, JR., the people have turned to him as the best in the game.  Even if he isn’t the best, he is doing what a fighter should do.  He is taking on the best available opposition and sending them out of the ring hurting.  Floyd’s business man way of looking at prize fighting has hurt him with the fans and without Pacquiao, he may be forgotten.

Bob Arum sees the dollar signs that comes with a showdown with Money Mayweather, and with the financial and family issues that Floyd is having, there may be more leverage then ever to reel him into the fight.  Pacquiao wants the fight.  Pacquiao is a fighter of legacy and curiosity.  He wants to see if he can defeat a man that nobody has been able to touch, let alone defeat, and that time is coming.

Enter Andre Berto, 26-0, 20 KO’s, the WBC Welterweight Champion.   On November 27th, he defends against Freddy Hernandez, a fighter that has only lost once in thirty fights, but has not had a win that many would be very impressed with.  He beat up a faded DeMarcus Corley and took some shots doing it.  The most likely scenario is that the difference in class with put Berto at 27-0, 21 KO’s, in about six rounds.

What does Berto have to do with Floyd-Manny?  A lot.

If you remember when Berto was set to take on Shane Mosley and the fight collapsed due to family issues and the Haiti tragedy.  The pressure was too much to take and he couldn’t focus on the fight, or at least that was the cover story.  To Berto’s credit, he has started a charity to help those hurt by the Haiti hurricane, but his exit from the fight is rumored to have been partly or totally due to an under the table deal where he’d step aside so Floyd could have an opponent.  Berto got paid well for not fighting. 

Berto is back in the position of pawn for this negotiation.   There is a great concern by Arum and Pacquiao that there will be another fall through for one reason or another and many close to the situation aren’t very confident that Floyd wants to fight at all, let alone fight a beast like Pacquiao.  It’s an uphill fight, but Floyd is not immune to the public’s outcry and criticism.

Floyd announced his comeback on the same night that Pacquiao was stepping into the ring with Ricky Hatton in some attempt to shift attention and link himself with Manny.  He wanted the people to know that he is the best in the game and to refocus on him as the pound for pound king.  Even the choice of his comeback opponent was strategic.  He chose the man that gave Manny the most trouble: Juan Manuel Marquez.  When he defeated Marquez easily, he may have thought that he was able to avoid facing Pacquiao and still get the title of best…because he beat the man that nearly beat Manny quite easily, but this is boxing and styles make fights.  The public was too smart for that.

With two collapses in negotiations, one due to rumored steroid abuse by Pacquiao and his refusal to agree to Floyd’s testing demands and secondly to the turmoil in Team Mayweather with domestic problems and Uncle Roger beating up a woman and being carted off to prison where he belongs.  Now we have them again, and Arum has been very vocal in bringing up Berto to anyone that will listen to him. 

Arum wants Mayweather to know that Berto is ready, willing, and able to fill the spot and fight Pacquiao.  The problem there is that Berto is no challenge at all for Manny.  He will be on the canvas early in the fight.  He’s got a title and has been featured on HBO quite often, but he struggled with Luis Collazo, a good fighter, not a great one.  In fact, many think Collazo won. 

The obvious mismatch of Pacquiao-Berto is a ploy only, and those that are now mentioning Shane Mosley as an opponent for Pacquiao can forget that too.  Mosley wants no part of Pacquiao and would be beaten to a pulp.  His last two fights were atrocious, losing to Floyd as badly as he probably could have and then fighting to a draw with Sergio Mora.  He would be chased out of the ring by Manny. 

The problem is that both men are so far above everyone else, or at least that is how we perceive them, that there is no other challenge for either guy outside of each other.  RSR was recently notified that the two best pound for pound fighters are in negotiations again and it was recently verified by Promoter Bob Arum.  What does that mean?

It means zero until the two are signed to fight and even then, I won’t believe it until I see them in the ring across from each other. When and if that happens, it will be the biggest fight of the decade and there will not be an arena big enough to hold all of the fans that want to see it. Keep your fingers crossed fight fans for a 2011 showdown between the two best in the game.

Must Read: Floyd Mayweather JR. Reported to be Finally in Talks to Face Manny Pacquiao in 2011

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