D. Gulley for The Shop Report
I’ve made the obscure proclamation that I believe that Pacquiao will beat Mayweather in a match, until Mayweather decides to fight him. Now, it appears closer to becoming a possibility. But TBE must realize that his legacy, great as it is, needs Pacquiao while ‘Pac Man’s does not. I’ve been rather hard on Mayweather in the past on this very topic; fight selection. It’s the only flaw in his fighting style, if fight selection were ever to be considered a component of style. Nonetheless, Mayweather has created this flaw for himself, at least when it comes to Manny Pacquiao and the best non-fight to have never happen (yet).
The Blame Game is an Equal Opportunity Employer
The following were the most persistent excuses for not having this fight:
- Manny Pacquiao initially refused to agree to Olympic Style drug testing.
Fueling speculation that the Pac Man packed something extra behind his punch, Manny initially refused to agree to such terms, which had never been placed on him by any previous opponent (even from his rival Juan Manuel Marquez). For that matter, speculation of Pacquiao’s use of PHDs was not widespread until the accusations by Mayweather. Though Manny eventually agreed to such terms, Pacquiao’s refusal for any duration should be a credit – not a discredit – to Mayweather’s claim. Advantage – Mayweather
- The two sides could not agree to purse split.
Even though Pacquiao has relented his rather soft stance on the issue in recent days, he should have never done relented in the first place. This is Mayweather’s fault exclusively, as Pacquiao never demanded more than 50% of the purse, never. More on this later… Advantage – Pacquiao
- The fight can only be promoted by Showtime
Here’s an argument that I can both understand and disagree. Mayweather the boxer also has a heavy hand in his fight promotion and the deal he has with Showtime is the product this arrangement. Manny Pacquiao is promoted by Bob Arum, one of many nemeses of Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather, and therefore Pacquiao has much less do to with promoting fights as Mayweather. Consequently, Mayweather the promoter can claim that only Showtime can promote the boxer’s fights but the boxer terribly misguided in thinking that his opponent would not want to be represented by his promotion company. No Advantage – push.
Certainly, there could be many more, but there merely white noise when compared to these three fickle ideas that impede the biggest prizefight in sports history.
Mayweather initiates the value of the fight…
Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather is the best pound for pound fighter in the world. Critics deride his purported ‘cherry-picking’ of opponents but there is a measure of consistency in each of his fights: Mayweather’s supreme skill. Compubox numbers show better than I can tell that Mayweather is arguably the most highly skilled tactician ever seen in the sport. He both lands and evades punches more often than all of his opponents. What Compubox and no other statistical analysis cannot show is how Floyd always adjusts to a fighter during the fight. Floyd Mayweather is Shang Tsung personified; if his default strategy is somehow not effective, he will use his opponent’s strengths against them (reference his matches against Ricky Hatton, Oscar De La Hoya and Shane Mosley). This is why he’s unquestionably the best pound-for-pound and his matches, snoozers that they can be at times, are still a sight to see. Fans, haters and everyone in between can actually watch a fighter show you how to box and protect yourself. There is no part of his style that would be a risk to emulate, unlike volume punchers who are high risk-high reward (see Manny Pacquiao). 47 victories, no defeats, and always firmly in control of any situation makes him the ulitmate prize-fighter. Among the many rewards for a prize fighter are many millions of dollars, which is something that Floyd so eagerly enjoys mentioning. Add to this his arrogant persona, which makes many seethe to see him beaten and you have a certifiable drawing attraction. This is why the boxing world is waiting to see what’s next for a fighter who has offered so much already and has one, possibly two, more achievements left to accomplish.
…but Pacquiao sustains the value of the fight
As previously stated, we are already aware of what Mayweather brings to a match, well too aware in fact. When explaining why the two haven’t met, Floyd always regurgitates his body of work, undefeated streak, the win-loss record of Pacquiao and his earning power for each fight. Yet these are the reasons why he hasn’t fought the next best fighter of his generation? Manny Pacquiao’s body of work includes winning titles in 8 weight classes. This feat can also be a latent reason for Mayweather’s PHD accusation lobbied against Pacquiao, as the record outdoes Mayweather’s titles in 5 different weight classes. He is not undefeated, obviously, but two of his five losses to date include a controversial decision to Timothy Bradley, and a knockout loss to a rival Juan Manuel Marquez who was knocked down earlier in the fight and behind on the judges’ score cards until he rocked the Pac Man. Nonetheless, he avenged the loss to Bradley and owns the career matchup over Marquez in four fights (which is why we don’t need to see this again). Pacquiao is nothing if not exciting, and for fans of the action more than the sweet science of boxing, he delivers ten-fold. He’s a volume puncher who’s increasingly becoming a smarter boxer. Most significantly, Manny Pacquiao doesn’t have the stigma of dodging opponents in their prime. Pacquiao didn’t wait long to meet Erik Morales once arriving in the weight class, and avenged his loss in their March 2005 bout only 10 months later. Pacquiao scored a TKO against Miguel Cotto in 2009 a full 18 months before Cotto met Mayweather. Aside from Ricky Hatton in 2008, none of the common opponents that Mayweather met first were in their prime (Oscar De La Hoya in 2007, Rafael Marquez in 2009 and Shane Mosley in 2010). All told, the pound for pound rankings in the eyes of the public have remained Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao respectively, but it has been Floyd Mayweather pushing the discussion further down the road by fighter selection.
The peculiar mind of a multi-millionaire
Strangely, stretching the machine behind this super-fight makes some sense in Floyd’s case. The frustration of the boxing world behind the non-fight thus far is because Manny has been recognized for years as the last guy left. This would imply that as previously mentioned, Floyd’s body of work is largely completed if and when the fight happens. And if so, then what? Imagine if Mayweather and Pacquiao would have met in 2010 when originally planned, and Floyd won. What interest would the public have in any of the subsequent fights; what about even a rematch between the two? What interest would there be in Mayweather vs. Robert Guerrero fight after Mayweather beat Pacquiao? Or, how about Mayweather vs Maidana the first time after a Mayweather victory over Pacquiao? The difference in these fights occurring before and not after Pacquiao is millions (and The Rock means MILLIONS – check the WWE reference) of dollars. Floyd would likely tell you that being the number one money earner and earning as much money as you can are in fact mutually exclusive. Floyd Mayweather has become the highest earning athlete by having never fought the second biggest draw in the sport, Manny Pacquiao – a guy who arguably eclipses Mayweather’s popularity outside of the mainland USA. So, the case of Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao may not be one of procrastination but of maturation, with an tremendous ROI at start that has amazingly gained interest several years after it would have peaked. There has been no fighter or matchup able to “shale” the demand of a Mayweather-Pacquiao matchup, so it has not plummeted like oil in recent days. Rather like gold over the last ten years, it has remained increasingly high. It remained high because Mayweather kept winning, and Pacquiao kept bringing excitement. For this reason, Floyd must understand that half of the value in this dream matchup is with Pacquiao, because he’s done his part to remain to sustain the interest. Pacquiao deserves what two fighters would split. Mayweather is more than welcome to finagle his “promotional” works into some revenue stream leading from this green lake. Perhaps too, it annoys Mayweather that his pristine body of work is continually compared to Pacquiao’s which has lost some luster in recent years. But testing one’s mettle and getting scarred is no excuse for refusing to reward a guy who has ultimately brought half the interest to the fight, no more but certainly no less. This is why Pacquiao’s legacy is complete with or without a Mayweather match and Mayweather’s is…