As the anticipation for Pacquiao-Cotto begins to escalate, it's hard not to think about the fight that's gotta happen but isn't a given to happen if Pacquiao wins, that being of course Pacquiao-Mayweather. I'm not selling Cotto short and a win by Miguel shouldn't be considered an upset, despite him being a 3-1 underdog. But when considering Pacquiao has the style advantage and is the bigger star, it's hard to envision Cotto being awarded the decision even if he clearly earns it. In order for Cotto to garner a decision verdict over Pacquiao he'll have too practically beat him almost beyond recognition. And the reason for that is because there's so much money riding on a potential Pacquiao-Mayweather fight.
Everybody wants to see Pacquiao and Mayweather fight, even quasi boxing fans care about it and want to see it. But that doesn't mean it will happen. Mayweather hasn't really shown an interest in the fight and acts as though he doesn't care or need for the fight to take place. Floyd knows that he's gotten over by being a fighter with a manufactured undefeated record. In the process he's fooled some sharp boxing observers and fans into believing that he's a greater fighter than he is. And he's counting on as time goes by that being undefeated will enhance his legacy. Which it no doubt will to those who want to live in their perfect world and don't fully understand how to read a fighters record.
If Pacquiao beats Cotto the pressure will be on Mayweather to fight him. However, that won't be enough for the fight to be realized unless Mayweather can somehow hoard most of the money.
Last week while training for his upcoming fight with Miguel Cotto, Pacquiao was asked what he thought his chances were of fighting Mayweather and said, "Fans shouldn't hold their breath. I don't think it's going to happen. I'm sure he doesn't want to fight.
"Boxing for him is like a business," Pacquiao said. "He doesn't care about the people around him watching. He doesn't care if the fight is boring, as long as the fight is finished and he gets (plenty of) money....I want people to be happy. You have a big responsibility as a boxer."
Pacquiao's words are right on the mark. It's hard not to like and root for Pacquiao. Other than some of his fans being over the top and believing he can walk on water, the guy is a real fighter and is definitely one of the greats. It's funny that Pacquiao - who's the smaller fighter and has a better resume and will go down a greater fighter than Mayweather historically, wants the fight more. And I'm not convinced it's all about money on his part. In reality Manny doesn't have to continue to fight bigger fighters, especially if he beats Cotto. The burden of proof as to their greatness rest moreso on Mayweather's shoulders.
I don't believe Mayweather actually fears fighting Pacquiao, and it's my belief that if the fight does actually happen, Mayweather has the perfect style to beat Pacquiao. But Floyd is more about the money and as it's been said here before it'll be hard to get Mayweather to agree to a 50-50 purse split with Pacquiao. And there's no way Bob Arum would let Manny ever agree to fight Floyd for less than a 50-50 purse split.
Arum and Pacquiao face a huge task in dealing with Mayweather at the negioating table if Manny wins on November 14th. Based on Mayweather's one-sided decision over Juan Manuel Marquez seven weeks ago, he's convinced he's the biggest star in boxing. And here's why. Pacquiao-Marquez II did 405,000 pay-per-view buys, Mayweather-Marquez did one million. Pacquiao-Hatton did 850,000 pay-per-view buys and Mayweather-Hatton did 920,000. Granted, the circumstances surrounding those fights were a lot different and Pacquiao, based on his showing in his last fight versus Ricky Hatton is a much bigger star now then he was six months ago. But does anyone with a pulse think that means anything to Mayweather? Of course it doesn't!
The biggest fight this year to date was Mayweather-Marquez. However, it's inescapable that Pacquiao-Cotto is the more legitimate fight. Manny and Miguel are closer in size than Mayweather and Marquez were. And Marquez was 36 whereas Pacquiao is 30 and Cotto is 29. The debate as to which is the more legitimate and anticipated fight doesn't exist; it's Pacquiao-Cotto.
That's why it's imperative that Pacquiao-Cotto do more pay-per-view buys than the one million that Mayweather-Marquez did. As of this writing Mayweather can support his claim as being the active pay-per-view king of boxing because the numbers support him. Obviously the numbers don't tell the whole story and it would be difficult for Arum to argue against Mayweather being at least an equal draw to Pacquiao.
If Manny Pacquiao wants to fight Floyd Mayweather as much as he professes to he better beat Miguel Cotto and hope that the fight does somewhere close to 1.5 million buys. And if that's how it unfolds then Pacquiao will have the leverage over Mayweather along with the boxing public behind him. Sure, Mayweather will counter with the fact that he's undefeated, but that doesn't interest boxing fans like it used to. They've smartened up and view Pacquiao as the more willing fighter who's tested himself against live bodies who in some cases were legitimately a little bigger than him.
If Cotto happens to beat Pacquiao, Mayweather holds all the cards and will say he would've beaten Pacquiao with ease. The only way Mayweather is in a predicament is if Pacquiao looks impressive beating Cotto and Mosley handles Berto. Even at that, Mayweather has the choice as to whether he fights an almost 40 year old welterweight or a fighter who weighed 20 pounds less than he did when they made their pro debut.
Either way it's remarkable how well Mayweather's positioned himself to retire undefeated.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com
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