It's been slightly over 10 months since Floyd Mayweather 41-0 (25) scored what has to be considered the signature win of his career over Shane Mosley. Yeah, it may have been eight years after the late Vernon Forest beat a prime Mosley more convincingly than Floyd did, and he did it twice. And granted, though Mosley was a totally spent and empty package the night he fought Mayweather, except for one big right hand in the second round, Shane was still the most formidable and dangerous fighter Floyd's ever shared a ring with. On that there can be no denying, and in Mayweather's defense, he clearly out-thought and out-fought Mosley for 10 of the 12 rounds they spent in the ring fighting.
Since the night Mayweather outclassed Mosley, his rival and career nemesis, Manny Pacquiao, has brutalized Antonio Margarito, (who Mayweather had a chance to fight circa 2006/2007 but thought it was too risky) and is about to fight and defeat Mosley more impressively and conclusively than Mayweather did. Once again in Mayweather's defense, if Pacquiao beats Mosley more decisively than Mayweather did, it'll be more of a testament to style matchups than it is an indicator as to what would happen if Pacquiao and Mayweather ever fight.
Last week in an interview with Fighthype, Jeff Mayweather said Floyd is considering a summer bout in South Africa in celebration of former president Nelson Mandela's 93rd birthday. For those who don't know, Mandela is a big boxing fan. It's been said elsewhere that Mayweather's decision to fight in honor of Mandela is due to Pacquiao having recently been invited to the White House to meet US president Obama. This is very plausible considering Mayweather's limited options. The fact of the matter is, all Floyd Mayweather can do is watch, wait and hope. Because there are no real alternatives for him.
If you look closely, Pacquiao is doing to Mayweather almost exactly what Muhammad Ali did to reigning heavyweight champ “Smokin” Joe Frazier, circa 1971/1972.
For those who aren't aware of what Ali did in order to secure a rematch with Frazier after Joe handed him his first defeat, it goes like this and it almost worked perfectly. Immediately after Frazier won the “Fight Of The Century” Ali began lobbying for a rematch. There were a lot of things said as to why it didn't materialize, but at the end of the day Muhammad and Joe couldn't agree on purse parity. Frazier felt that he did Ali a favor splitting the purse for their first fight and believed since he won it, he shouldn't have to spit it again as undisputed heavyweight champ. On the other hand, Ali felt because he was the superstar and draw, he deserved at least purse parity.
When Joe declined and said he can't become the champ until he fights me, the hell with him, Ali said, I'll fight and eliminate all the other top contenders so that he'll either have to defend against me or be stripped of the title. For the next year and a half Ali fought every top contender in the world except the one he couldn't get in the ring, George Foreman. And that's only because Foreman's manager and trainer, Dick Saddler, told Ali, “we want to fight the champion, and his style is better suited for young George than yours.” Twenty two months after Frazier defeated Ali to become undisputed heavyweight champ, he lost the title to George Foreman 37-0 (34) and the rest is history.
Back in those days promoter Bob Arum, who promotes Manny Pacquiao, worked with Ali. Now it looks as if Arum has Pacquiao fighting and eliminating all the available opponents left for Mayweather. As long as Pacquiao doesn't run into a welterweight George Foreman along the way, Mayweather is pretty much boxed in. The reality is, there's only fight that matters in the eyes of the public pertaining to Floyd Mayweather and that's a showdown with Pacquiao. Aside from that, Mayweather will have to conjure a huge gimmick to generate interest in his next fight if it isn't against Pacquiao or retire.
Joe Frazier was asked every time he was in public for a year and a half after their first fight, “when are you fighting Ali again?” Mayweather hears the same in reference to Pacquiao these days. The difference is Frazier did fight Ali and beat him legitimately in Super Fight I. Floyd can't say he fought Pacquiao, let alone claim a victory over him. There's really nowhere for Mayweather to turn unless he gives the public the only fight they want from him. So all he can do is watch, wait and hope that Pacquiao either loses or shows some signs that he's on the decline.
On a personal note, if Pacquiao was fighting Mayweather instead of Mosley on May 7th, I'd probably favor him to win. But obviously Floyd has some reservation about sharing a boxing ring with Manny. Pacquiao must be better than I thought?
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com