After hearing Floyd Mayweather interviewed at ring center by HBOs Larry Merchant last week moments after his unanimous decision victory over Shane Mosley, it doesnt sound as if the biggest welterweight clash of 2010 will be realized. The same stumbling block that prevented Pacquiao-Mayweather / Mayweather-Pacquiao from being realized this past March, that being the format as to how drug testing for PEDs are to be conducted, looms just as large today as it ever has.
Since the proposed bout between them fell apart this past January, Pacquiao dominated Joshua Clottey over twelve rounds enroute to a lopsided decision victory - and Mayweather accomplished the same feat last weekend versus Shane Mosley. The anti-Pacquiao faction has implied that Mannys showing was due more to Clotteys ineptness than it was a testament to his ability, just as the anti-Mayweather faction is suggesting Floyds brilliance was more the case of Mosleys age and long layoff. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle on both accounts. However, it cannot be disputed that both Pacquiao and Mayweather scored overwhelming victories against fighters who despite being big Vegas underdogs, were expected to be more competitive than they were.
Mayweather is adamant about the drug testing issue and Pacquiao is just as adamant about not letting Floyd win the first two rounds by dictating the terms of the fight. Amazingly, Mayweather looked pretty muscled up against Mosley who probably struggled to get down to 147. Yet no one is talking about that? If I were Pacquiao, Id agree to the Olympic style drug testing if Mayweather was willing to part with some money or made a concession of his own like agreeing to fight in a sixteen foot ring.
With both fighters looking terrific and appearing to be at the top of their game, its hard to see either side giving into the other. Had Mosley come out on top against Mayweather can anyone imagine Shane looking to tilt the field in his favor against a fighter who began his title tenure as a flyweight? Of course not. And after how big Floyd looked in the ring against Mosley, he has a lot of nerve being accusatory about Pacquiaos physical stature.
Since May of last year boxing has experienced five significant PPV bouts: Pacquiao-Hatton, Mayweather-Marquez, Pacquiao-Cotto, Pacquiao-Clottey and Mayweather-Mosley. Three involving Pacquiao and two involving Mayweather. That pretty much says everything regarding the current state of professional boxing in 2010. The fact is Manny and Floyd are the face of it beyond a doubt. Minus Pacquiao or Mayweather, theres no super-fight out there that could generate monumental fan interest without one of them being part of it. Perhaps David Haye meeting either Wladimir or Vitali Klitschko with a few of the alphabet heavyweight title belts on the line, but thats certainly not a given.
The problem is both Pacquiao and Mayweather have other options where they could make a ton of money. Manny can make a fight with one of the junior middleweight title holders in an attempt to gain his eighth title and Floyd could make a ton of money fighting one of the belt holders at 154 just as well. Neither fighter holds an advantage over the other as to who should be promoted as the marquee attraction. They both need each other to make a legitimate super-fight. The only hope is Bob Arum (who promotes Pacquiao) needs them to fight in order to get paid a percentage of what would most likely be the biggest grossing fight of all time. So its plausible that hed be more willing to help nudge the fight along behind the scene than he would appear to in public.
The stumbling block preventing a showdown between the two biggest stars in boxing will be Floyd Mayweathers insistence that Manny Pacquiao unnecessarily subject himself to the same type drug testing that Shane Mosley did. The difference is Mosley needed Mayweather and admitted to using a so-called performance enhancing drug before, knowingly or not. Pacquiao has never failed a drug test during his seventeen year career. And this is where Mayweather just doesnt get it as to how he comes off as a fighter who wont agree to a fight to where as he likes to say, the field of play is level.
Floyd Mayweather may be one of the two best fighters in boxing, but he cant deal with facts. Yes, he looked great versus Mosley, but beating Shane at almost 39 is not the same as Vernon Forrest dominating him when he was 30. On the other hand it is Mayweathers signature career victory and sets him up perfectly to meet another great, all be it a smaller fighter, in his prime.
If Mayweather wants his just due, something no educated boxing fan wants to deny him, maybe he should consider dropping the ridiculous drug testing subterfuge after looking like a bigger welterweight than Emile Griffith in his last fight. Coming off such a masterpiece of a performance against Mosley, this is the ideal time for Mayweather to prove his critics wrong, just once. But based on Floyds track record does anyone expect him to agree to one fight against another great in his prime without working an angle to his advantage before the bell rings for the first round?
Boxing needs the infusion that a bout between its two greatest fighters could provide it. Sadly, the fight is as far away from being made as its ever been, and everyone knows who the force behind that is. The guess here is if the fight is to be made, once again Mayweathers opponent, not him, will be the one who steps up and makes some sort of a concession in order to make the fight a reality. Like the boxing public expected it to unfold any other way!
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com
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