He doesn't posses the "It" factor, nor is he the most outrageously skilled fighter you've ever seen. Compared to Hector Camacho, Sugar Ray Leonard and Roy Jones his hand speed looks almost pedestrian; that said he's one of the best fighters since Muhammad Ali at tweaking his opponents and getting inside their head leading up to a big fight.
Floyd Mayweather by virtue of his interviews, antics and orchestrated press conferences has transformed himself into a fighter who when he speaks, the boxing world tunes in to find out what angle he's working this time. Before his retirement after stopping Rick Hatton in December of 2007, Mayweather didn't garner stop the press attention like Oscar De La Hoya or Mike Tyson. But since the emergence of Manny Pacquiao and his lopsided decision win over Juan Manuel Marquez in his last fight, Mayweather has become the talk of the boxing community.
Starting on the day of the Pacquiao-Hatton bout when Mayweather announced his comeback, Floyd has tantalized boxing fans with what he'll say and do next. Keeping them on the edge, trying to figure out will he fight Pacquiao? Is he afraid of him and does he believe Manny is really using PEDs and/or HGH to help him as a fighter?
During the last few weeks the Mayweather faction has repeatedly asserted how they believe Pacquiao may be using PEDs/HGH and that's the reason Manny has looked so overwhelming in his last two fights versus Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto. And because of that Mayweather has changed the debate to being about how Pacquiao has to prove to him that he isn't taking or injecting himself with any illegal supplements or steroids. This is nothing more than an attempt to try and rattle Pacquiao. He wants it to look as if the fighter who has shown throughout his career that he's willing to fight the best fighters out there (Pacquiao), is the more reluctant fighter than the one who's hopped, skipped and avoided taking on the upper-tier fighters in his division, (Mayweather).
The Pacquiao camp is playing the Mayweather camp in return and giving them a dose of their own medicine. Pacquiao has agreed to being tested by the Nevada State Athletic Commission three times, only the Mayweather camp insist that he must submit to the drug testing guidelines of the International Olympic Committee. In other words Team Mayweather not only wants to dictate that the protocol for the test be done more in depth for this bout than any of the two fighters' previous fights, they also want to dictate who does the testing. In essence they are saying Pacquiao submitting to being tested isn't enough. For it to be authentic and legit he must submit himself to the drug testing that we (the Mayweather faction) deem legitimate.
Give Team Mayweather credit for dictating the the pre-fight hype. Through the subterfuge of Mayweather he's managed to make it look as though it is Pacquiao who is hiding something and is perhaps doing something on the underhand, when in fact there is no evidence or proof that Pacquiao is doing anything of the sort.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. is trying so hard to get inside of Pacquiao's head, hoping to get he and Freddie Roach to think about everything but the actual fight itself. Mayweather is doing his best to set things up so if he and Pacquiao don't fight in 2010 it'll look as if it was because of the unwillingness on the part of Team Pacquiao than it was Team Mayweather.
With the news of the last couple days that the fight may not happen, it's caused an uproar with boxing fans and has painted Pacquiao in a less positive light. Right now Floyd is controlling the media and fans regarding the build up and anticipation of fight.
When all is said and done, Pacquiao has more options and can fight any upper-tier junior welterweight or welterweight and make a ton of money. On the other hand Floyd has to fight somebody really good who is a perceived risk and not a setup in his next fight in order for him to break the bank. Pacquiao can make the most money fighting Mayweather, but he doesn't need him to make a monumental pay day.
Mayweather has exceeded all expectations regarding the games he's playing to sway the boxing media and public in trying to convince them that it is he who really wants the Pacquiao fight, but it's being held up because Manny can't pass a stipulated drug test. This is something you've gotta be pretty gullible to believe.
The anticipation of Mayweather-Pacquiao has sparked interest in boxing like no other fight in recent history. When you see boxing the lead story on the bottom crawl on ESPN programing, you know it's big, simply because ESPN does a terrible job promoting boxing - as evidenced by the fact they don't even promote their own Friday night cards on ESPN2.
Mayweather's request for a potential 3-5 blood tests and 8-12 urine tests taken at random intervals (Olympic testing) is a head game aimed at interrupting Manny's training and preparation up to and including the day before the fight. It gives Floyd the upper hand in calling the shots and an out if he doesn't want the fight.
The band marches on and Mayweather is doing his best to gain an angle if and when he fights Manny Pacquiao. It certainly would be a welcome change if Mayweather and Pacquiao would just sign to meet at 147 with Pacquiao's WBO title on the line without any gimmicks.
Well, you can forget that as long as the name Mayweather makes up half the marquee. Floyd will attempt to hold up and pull out of the fight up until the time both he and Manny leave their dressing rooms and head for the ring on fight night if they ever make it that far.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com
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