So, Manny Pacquiao wants to fight Floyd Mayweather?
That’s not a big deal anymore. Four years ago? Big deal. Today? Not so much.
Sure, folks will watch, and probably in record numbers, if the two ever get into the boxing ring and go at it. But it’d be watching out of curiosity, not in the hope of watching two of the all-time greats square off at the height of their careers.
Ever since Pacquiao got knocked unconscious by Juan Manuel Marquez two years ago, the cache of a Pac Man vs. Money Mayweather fight has dwindled.
“I don’t even think about Pacquiao,” Mayweather said, according to AP. “I don’t even know him actually. But I wish him nothing but the best. But that’s not my focus. I could care less about what Pacquiao does. I don’t wish anything bad on the man. I try not to focus on no one else’s business.
“If it happens, it happens. You guys can keep asking the same questions over and over. I move when I want to, where I want to, and how I want to. Hopefully, it’s next.”
At this point, it would be like watching Sugar Ray Leonard and Tommy Hearns fight to a disputed draw in their rematch in 1989—eight years after the original classic won by Leonard on a 14th-round TKO. By then, the legendary boxers were hardly at their pugilistic heights.
The boxing game itself these days seems to have all of the cache of roller derby. Gone are the 1980s, when the sport was replete with talented champions and interesting personalities. Mayweather, even as he ages, has not encountered an opponent to seriously challenge him.
Pacquiao has lost twice since he burst upon the scene, even though one was a typical boxing heist—the title decision “defeat” to Tim Bradley. (Pac Man dominated Bradley in the rematch, by the way.)
Still, a Mayweather-Pacquiao bout would be watchable, but it would not settle any arguments. Neither are at their best anymore. Pacquiao has already shown he can be knocked out, though not likely by Mayweather, whose punches pack the power of a water balloon.
But the boxing game is so destitute that so much hype would surround a match between these two. Pacquiao supporters say Mayweather ducked him. Mayweather’s fans say Pacquiao refused to take steroid tests, indicating he had something to hide.
“I believe good faith negotiations could produce that fight,” Pacquiao said, according to AP. “But it is impossible to negotiate when you are the only one sitting at the table. Two fighters who want to fight each other have never been kept from fighting each other.”
Sounds like Pacquiao wants a huge payday, and only Mayweather can produce that for him, even as he’s shown to be less the fighter he was.
But you never know with boxing. When Leonard fought Marvin Hagler years after they were in their primes, the fight produced one of the more memorable bouts in recent times. It solidified Leonard as an all-time champion and was the impetus for Hagler quitting the sport.
Maybe Mayweather and Pacquiao could produce something similar. No one can believe it’s going to happen, though.