Empty Promises: The Mayweather – Pacquiao saga
By Ahsalim: Long before I ever imagined writing about the sport of boxing, I was merely a hardcore fan religiously following The Sweet Science.
However, from 2009 onwards, frustration, disappointment and anger followed by optimism and hope describe my day to day cycle of feelings towards what Dana White, the brains behind the multi-billion dollar enterprise, the UFC, describes as ‘a sport on life support’. In my humble opinion, the inability to stage the most lucrative boxing event in history for half a decade clearly demonstrates that prize fighters do not engage in their brutal battles solely to build an everlasting legacy.
The earlier you accept facts in life, the quicker you’ll move forward. Anyone in their right mind wouldn’t simply take a punch in return for penny stocks, nor should they be expected to. With the time that’s left, failure to put together a fight between these two greats would be the biggest sporting loss of this generation. If I had a pound for every time someone mentioned a potential matchup between Floyd Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, I’m absolutely certain I could accumulate an amount equivalent to, if not greater than Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s highest ever pay day to date.
According to economic reality, Floyd and Manny don’t need each other at all. It’s a painful irony for the boxing public when we consider the money that a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight could generate. Many boxing fans do in fact ponder whether or not Bob Arum is, who in the words of Dana White, is ‘sucking the life out of the sport’. Conversely, is the possibility of the Money man losing his zero similar to a stock market crash in his perspective? For someone without any insider information, it’s extremely hard to believe who’s ducking who. As far as facts are concerned, both fighters have illustrated reluctance in wanting to engage in nothing besides a war of words.
Don’t fool yourself; boxing is a series of business deals that make sense for those involved. It always has been and will always remain this way. Arguably the best fight the sport of boxing has ever witnessed, The Thrilla In Manila, saw two previous bouts in which Ali and Frazier had battled in the squared circle. What’s most frustrating is that many other great fights over the years saw the best fighters face each other in the ring on more than one occasion. Gatti-Ward, Pacquiao-Marquez, Benn-Eubank to mention a few and most recently Froch-Groves.
Mayweather-Pacquiao is still a compelling matchup, though it carries a great deal of negative baggage. As boxing fans we’re undoubtedly disgusted, many of us, by all the wasted opportunities throughout these past few years. Nevertheless, should the fight occur, it will be one that you don’t witness every so often. I feel that it’s the only (potential) prize fight that has generated unprecedented speculation in the media. This goes for websites, T.V talk shows and magazines that rarely pay any attention to prize fighting.
Those of you with an objective view will agree when I say that Manny Pacquiao is probably no longer the world’s most powerful pound-for-pound fighter. Having been knocked out cold by Juan Manuel Marquez (the “loss” to Tim Bradley in no way counts) he no longer rests over the pound-for-pound throne. Moreover, Pacquiao hasn’t scored a knockout in his last nine fights. On the other hand, Floyd is still atop in virtually every pound-for-pound ranking. Although he’s still undefeated, he’s not the same guy that knocked out Ricky Hatton. At the end of the day, athletes, like us, aren’t immortal. Although Mayweather’s legs aren’t quite shot, as Freddie Roach claims, there’s no doubt that his feet aren’t as quick and his jabs not as crisp as they once were. What’s kept Floyd Mayweather Jr. at the top of the game is that his mind still moves as fast as anyone else is in the sport’s history. Despite this, the air of invincibility isn’t there anymore. Mayweather fought his first rematch in more than a decade against Marcos Maidana which demonstrates that although he remains the pound-for-pound king; he isn’t exactly the same force he was in the past. Overall though, I still think that he would beat Pacquiao. He might not dominate or comprehensively outclass him, but he’ll win. For those of you that follow European football, consider the Spanish giants Barcelona, besides Real Madrid and maybe a few other sides on their best days, there aren’t many teams that could school the Catalans. Barcelona are certainly not the dominant force they were a few years ago.
An era once existed when major fighters were paid off the gate, resulting in a higher premium when facing better opponents, enabling fans to witness truly entertaining fights. But television has forever altered this industry. As we approach the end of 2014, we’re seeing Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao again making empty promises, calling each other out on social media and after their latest fights. If the fight does come to fruition soon, each side will walk away with unprecedented earnings. The history books however, will show that this super fight occurred way past its sell by date. Facts don’t lie, but business does.
Do you still care about a Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao fight?