By Ken Woods: The uproar over the Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao fall out has reached a fevered pitch. Although fans have been divided about each fighter’s merits in the ring, they are actually a lot more similar than many realize.
Both these fighters are a lock for the hall of fame. Mayweather is undefeated in 45 bouts, and Pacquiao is the only eight-division world champion in the history of the sport. Both of their legacies are secured no matter who they fight for the rest of their careers, including each other. They don’t need this fight.
Stop the ingenuous banter about Mayweather being scared of Pacquiao. That is utter nonsense. Neither one of these guys are scared to face each other.
Analysts say Mayweather only fights guys he knows he can defeat, but name one fighter that would be a favorite on fight night between 140 and 154 pounds. Pacquiao wouldn’t even be a betting favorite, so if he fights him, wouldn’t he also be facing a guy he’s favored to beat?
There are several accusing Mayweather of cherry-picking opponents. Let’s look at facts. Mayweather has fought the same foes Pacquiao has within the last 5 years and Pacquiao has fought them after Mayweather, with the exception of Miguel Cotto and Juan Manuel Marquez. So aren’t both parties guilty of cherry-picking?
Analyze the fighters that they don’t have in common. Pacquiao fought Juan Manuel Marquez twice, Tim Bradley, Joshua Clottey, Antonio Margarito, and Brandon Rios during that 5-year stretch. Mayweather fought Victor Ortiz, Robert Guerrero, Saul Alvarez, and Miguel Cotto (Mayweather fought him after Pacquiao at 154 pounds).
Alvarez would beat everyone on Pacquiao’s list of uncommon opponents. Ortiz and Rios are evenly-matched, Clottey and Guerrero would be an even, competitive bout, Cotto defeated Margarito at the full 154 pound weight limit (Pacquiao fought Margarito at 150 pounds), Mayweather easily beat Marquez, Pacquiao was knocked out by Marquez, and that just leaves Bradley, who has a win over Pacquiao, although controversially. When we look at it objectively, they fought the same level of opposition since the first negotiation. The only difference is Pacquiao has lost twice with one by way of knockout.
Many are not satisfied with Mayweather’s choice of recent opponents, and they have every right to be, but the alternatives some have proposed have been ridiculous. Enthusiasts think Mayweather should fight a real challenge like Keith Thurman or Shawn Porter. Who? Both guys couldn’t sell out their own backyard barbeques and now they should fight Mayweather? Give me a break. Marcos Maidana and Amir Khan have better resumes than those two. Name at least three world champions that Thurman and Porter have beaten if you think otherwise.
Others contend that Erislandy Lara would be a sufficient challenge. He beat Alfredo Angulo and Austin Trout in his last two bouts. He has two draws, a loss, and couldn’t sell water to a dehydrated senior citizen in the desert. He also wouldn’t be a betting favorite.
Some say Mayweather should fight Gennady Golovkin. This guy fights at 160 pounds and also hasn’t beaten anyone of at least B level. He is also on HBO, so calling out Mayweather is a non sequitur because he knows that fight will never happen. Similar can be said for Sergio Martinez. He called out Mayweather but he also called out Pacquiao in the past, and neither one accepted the bout. In addition, Martinez already has a fight scheduled against Cotto. Why is there no demand for Pacquiao to fight Golovkin? At least they fight on the same network.
Why do fans insist that Mayweather go to 160 to find a challenge and not Pacquiao? They weigh the same on fight night, they both have held titles at 154, and both have weighed in at or slightly above 150 pounds on fight night regardless of the weight class.
Neither pugilist should fight at 154, let alone 160. Both weight classes are a big stretch for each fighter.
This is not the first time great boxers have failed to face each other; it’s just the nature of the sport. Oscar De La Hoya never faced Winky Wright, Riddick Bowe never fought Mike Tyson, Sugar Ray Leonard never fought Aaron Pryor, Shane Mosley never fought Felix Trinidad, and those are just a few examples. This fight is just another in a list that should’ve been.
As you can see, the debates and pages of comments are arbitrary at best. They both are great boxers who divide and conquer our attention and support in boxing.