Let the Talking Stop: When will Mayweather Jr. and Pacquiao announce their next opponents?

By Robbie Bannatyne - 01/13/2014 - Comments

floyd818181By Robbie Bannatyne: The sport of boxing is all set to again embark on another brutal but brilliant year of prize fights in 2014. Hopefully the battles within the confines of the ring in the coming year are able to elicit similar levels of sheer joy and excitement in the way 2013’s many memorable rings wars managed to.

But for now, anyway, the two main issues of contention- both the subject of such speculation and analysis- are who will be the next opponents for Floyd Mayweather Jnr and Manny Pacquiao. Of course, there is little doubt among anyone with a penchant for logical thought that the only opponents they should be facing are each other. But we all know it will definitely not materialize in this calendar year.

With the battle lines long since drawn between feuding promoters, Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotion, and by extension their strategic television networks partners HBO and Showtime respectively, we can at least say with certainty the names that Mayweather and Pacquiao will definitely not fight. Manny Pacquiao can only face the limited stable of Top Rank fighters available to him in the welterweight divisions, whilst Floyd Mayweather Jnr will only encounter faces that feature exclusively on the Showtime network. It is as simple as it saddening.

Consequently, this scandalous state of affairs conspires to deprive the world of witnessing truly meaningful fights. In reality, it is a sobering, and constant reminder that economical and political agendas are the only dominant forces in the arena of professional boxing. The fans and fighters are mere pawns in the cut throat game of chess contested by the capitalist elites in the boxing world.

In spite of the prohibitive nature of the promotional and network television war, the preceding 12 months served up some of the most pulsating prize fights in the recent history of this storied sport.

Expect 2014 to be no exception.

The 1st fight of both Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao will serve as memorable landmarks of the current calendar in combat sports.

As of yet both men are still to officially announce an opponent. However, rumors abound that Bolton boxer, Amir Khan, has somehow successfully blagged the next golden ticket to face off with Mayweather, on the Cinco De Mayo holiday, in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. If this is indeed the case, ‘The Money Teams’ decision will quite rightly be the subject of huge derision as there are numerous candidates who are far more deserving of a crack at Mayweather’s crown.

But the order of opponents for a top fighter never has and never will be based purely on merit, and as far as Floyd Mayweather vs. Amir Khan is concerned, the old adage of ‘styles make fights’ helps defy the conventional logic that Khan shouldn’t get anywhere near the fight. There is little doubt that the outcome will be an all too familiar and tedious unanimous decision victory in favour of Floyd Mayweather Jnr. Still, stylistically Amir Khan’s capacity to ring off blindingly fast and slick combinations can cause problems for and pose questions of Mayweather that previous opponents have been unable to do. If and when he overcomes Khan, then Mayweather will probably look to secure a hugely lucrative September showdown with the man of the moment, WBA Welterweight Champion, Marcos Maidana- providing the Argentine wins his protracted rematch against Adrien Broner.

Pacman does not have many viable possibilities. The ‘Fighting Pride of the Philippines’ has to face either Timothy Bradley or Ruslan Provodnikov. Why then has such a straightforward selection process become such a tedious, drawn out affair?

Surely from both a personal and a professional standpoint a Timothy Bradley rematch is the most enticing option for Pacman. Since his dubious of points defeat to the Desert Storm, in 2012, the knives have been out for the ‘Fighter of the Decade’. That ridiculous decision loss to Bradley was the catalyst for sending the once irrepressible Pacquiao’s career into an alarming decline- as he was brutally dispatched by his Mexican nemesis, Juan Manuel Marquez, in his 1st shot at redemption post-Bradley debacle. He managed to arrest the slump via a convincing victory over the battle hardened but basic Brandon Rios. That lopsided win told us little about whether Pacquiao has the capacity to return to the top, though.

But in beating Bradley in a rematch, Pacquiao will regain what was robbed from him- the WBO Welterweight title, and will restore his reputation as one of the most potent forces in the sport.

Regardless of who their opponents may be, let’s hope that their battles in the ring overshadow the ongoing conflict that occurs outside of the ring between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jnr.

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