The news of the Pacquiao-Mayweather super-fight being canceled cannot come as a shock to anyone who closely follows professional boxing. When this fight was being put together as fast as it was, that was a dead give away. Super-fights just don't come together that quickly and that's ten-fold when Floyd Mayweather Jr. is one of the participants.
I believe Mayweather purposely jumped at fighting Pacquiao in order to make it look like he really wanted the fight - knowing inside Pacquiao would never become the subservient fighter and adhere to all of his BS regarding PEDs. It's typical Mayweather. Again, I don't think he fears that he can't beat Pacquiao, it's just that he's not sure enough to take the risk without somehow working the system to favor him inside the ring on fight night. Obviously Floyd found out that he doesn't have nearly the leverage over Pacquiao that he did Juan Manuel Marquez and therefore they'll be no fight between them, at least on March 13th, 2010.
Mayweather has succeeded in making Pacquiao look as if he fears submitting to any and all type of drug test - along with making himself look as if he's trying to get out of the fight and save face at the same time.
This hurts boxing because everybody including non-boxing fans were not only looking forward to seeing Pacquiao-Mayweather but were counting down the days to it. And sadly both fighters come out of this looking bad. It's been talked about and been on and off so much that it's almost refreshing to now know it's been officially canceled.
Here are some closing thoughts on both fighters and their future.
Floyd is a greatly skilled fighter, however for the last time, he's not off the chart fast or skilled when compared to other past greats. His offense is more seize the moment intuition than anything else. His fundamentals and basics are terrific and he's great at making his opponent fight from their weakness. That said he's picked his spots since moving up from lightweight and has smartly chosen to participate in fights where he's held all the leverage, a fact that not even the most avid Mayweather fan can deny with a straight face if they're intellectually honest.
When looking over his record it's the names of the fighters that aren't listed on either side of the column that stands out more than the ones who are there. And that wasn't an accident. There's nothing wrong with a fighter trying to make the most money he can without taking a lot of punishment in turn. However, at some point if he's truly interested in going down as one of the greats he has to step up during his career and Floyd hasn't. Boxing is a business just like the NFL, NBA and MLB - but Mayweather has taken it too far to the extreme and on the wrong side.
At this time it's perfectly clear that Mayweather has no intention to fight Pacquiao in a legitimate fight. Unless he can mess with Pacquiao in some way mentally or physically before the bout it's not happening. With that being the case Floyd should retire with his perfect 40-0 record intact. Because he's so hellbent on protecting his 0 it's obvious he'll not fight an opponent who he doesn't hold all the advantages over in and out of the ring.
Right now in 2010 there's only one fight out there that anyone really cares about seeing Mayweather in - and that's against Pacquiao. But Manny has all the leverage and options and there's no way he'll ever let team Mayweather call the shots. Sure, Mayweather could try and fight Shane Mosley who's crowding 40 but Floyd wouldn't solidify his legacy by winning a decision over Mosley eight years after Vernon Forrest did it twice at the same weight.
With Floyd Mayweather trying to protect his undefeated record this is the perfect time for him to exit boxing since he can no longer be taken seriously as a fighter. Enough with ripping off the boxing public with bouts that everyone knows the result before they put their money out to see it. Goodbye Floyd Mayweather Jr. Seven days after you retire you'll be a week old ghost.
Manny has had a tremendous run winning seven world titles from flyweight to welterweight. He is a physical phenom. He throws hard punches with shocking power with both hands from every angle imaginable. He has a first tier chin and he never tires. He's also shown that he's willing to fight the best out there and is a certified all-time great.
As far as him taking any kind of HGH/PED no one knows for sure. He doesn't exhibit any outwardly characteristic of an athlete or fighter who's juicing. The Mayweather faction has put it out there so much that some are starting to believe it. Personally, I happen to believe that Pacquiao shouldn't submit to any drug test he's not required to take, but I realize there are differing opinions about this.
I can see the argument stating Pacquiao should agree to all kinds of testing just for the fight to be made. But on the other hand I hate seeing Mayweather call the shots and dictate the terms of the fight when his accusations right now are completely unfounded and just a form of diversion to hold up the fight. What's even more of a joke is there's never been a fighter who has been aided by using steroids or HGH. In fact it's been the opposite.
And if Pacquiao's fighting ability has been enhanced by some illegal substance - he's really making history because no other fighters have benefited by them including other Philippine fighters. And the fact that they've been able to keep it a secret so long is more impressive than what he's accomplished in the ring. See how far you have to go in order to make the case he's doing something under-handed? You better believe if there was some magic drug or vitamin out there that aided a fighters' ability in the ring to the extent Team Mayweather claims is the case with Pacquiao- everybody would know of it including them.
My problem with Pacquiao is his willingness to compile titles on a one fight and done basis. It's almost as if Mayweather has rubbed off on him in that regard. Then again Floyd learned how to mickey the system from Bob Arum and Manny's now learning it from the man who admits he was lying yesterday but is telling the truth today.
Unless you're a bigger fan of Manny Pacquiao than you are a boxing fan (and there's a plethora who fall into that category) is there really any doubt about whether he can and will beat another fighter (Yuri Foreman) promoted by Arum to pick up another title in a catch-weight bout? There isn't in my mind. Perhaps after he picks up his ninth title by bringing Kelly Pavlik down to 154 he can seek his tenth by bringing Andre Ward down to 158. Why stop there? Might as well lure Chad Dawson down to 162 and claim the light heavyweight title while he's at it.
I can't speak for anyone else - but I'm tired of catch-weight bouts and gimmicks. Pacquiao has done everything that can be asked of a fighter. Despite not liking the fact that he won the WBO welterweight title against Miguel Cotto at 145, I'll give him his due and have to believe he would've won the fight against Cotto at 147. But enough is enough.
Too much is placed on fighters winning titles in different weight divisions on the scale. Pacquiao's legacy would be much better enhanced if he defended the welterweight title against a few legitimate welterweights like the Mosley-Berto winner and Joshua Clottey without bringing them down to 145. Being that he won his first title at flyweight would make defending the welterweight title against the best available in the division an off the chart accomplishment for him.
I never believed Mayweather would fight Pacquiao without trying to win the fight first outside the ring - and that looks to be the case. Now that Pacquiao knows it he should move on and fight the best there is at 147 and clean out the division before looking to bring another title holder down in weight so he can claim an eighth title. Although I doubt that's what he'll do because the market and the money will be in him going for that eighth title.
Then again we live in a world where sizzle always wins out over substance.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com