It's a shame that there's so much money on the table, because in a perfect world Manny Pacquiao would fight Timothy Bradley later this year in the hope of erasing the stench from their first bout this past June, then after the fight announce that he's retiring from boxing.
Lets face it, Floyd Mayweather 43-0 (26) has won the waiting game. The fight with Pacquiao is two plus years past the sell by date and everything now favors Floyd. That's why it would be great for Pacquiao to help fans remember in years to come that despite his glowing record, the only fight the fans clamored for from Mayweather — is the one he ducked and dodged when it was a legitimate pick'em Super fight.
There's no disputing that because of the way Mayweather has promoted and managed himself — coupled with Pacquiao's less than stellar showing over the last year and a half, Mayweather is the one who can dictate the terms and conditions if they ever get serious about making the fight. Floyd has a legitimate claim for a slightly larger piece of the purse since he looked terrific in his last fight and Manny officially lost his. Also, Mayweather must be given all due props for being able to maintain his ability to fight at the highest level for over a decade. Not many great fighters can lay claim to that.
On the other hand, Manny has been pulled and drawn away from staying in great shape and has no doubt lost focus on what's most important in a fighters life. Manny has clearly lost that off the chart speed and intensity, not to mention he fights lazy and is more upright when he presses the attack now. He also has to think and process his aggression, something that used to be reactionary and instinctive. And if there's one thing he can't do against Mayweather, if they were to fight, is try to think his way in and process his battle plan mentally as the fight is unfolding.
I don't care how big of a Mayweather fan you are; if you can't admit that Mayweather wanted no parts of Pacquiao when he was really on his game, you must be alone living in your perfect world. The fact is Mayweather used every excuse in the book not to fight Pacquiao, and then let fighters like Miguel Cotto and Joshua Clottey take the risk instead. See, Mayweather knew that because of Pacquiao's energetic style, intensity and work rate, that he'd slow down if he could just wait him out. And hopefully to no ones surprise, that is exactly what has happened. Anytime from this point on, despite him being older according to the calender, Mayweather is the fresher and more live fighter. Something that didn't happen by accident.
Being that Mayweather is a counter-puncher who has hand picked his opposition for at least the last half of his career, he hasn't endured nearly the same wear and tear on his body as Pacquiao. Add to that Pacquiao was willing to fight bigger fighters when they were still a factor, has taken something out of him.
Suppose Mayweather and Pacquiao never fight – it is Mayweather who will be viewed by history as the fighter who didn't want the fight. Similar as to the way Riddick Bowe is viewed as the reason why he and Lennox Lewis never fought in 1993 when the fight was the most talked about match in boxing. Pacquiao is the fighter who is seen by most boxing aficionados as a throw back to a generation when the the top fighters and champions didn't order from the menu and sought to fight the best of the best every time out. Manny is also the smaller guy, yet it was Mayweather the bigger man who introduced excuses like Steroids and HGH use on Pacquiao's part in order to prevent the fight from becoming a reality when the bout was viewed as a pick'em. And it didn't matter one iota that Pacquiao never once failed a drug test.
If Pacquiao walks away after his rematch with Bradley, or whoever he fights next, Mayweather will forever be remembered, and rightly so, for not fighting the boxer who was seen as the biggest threat to his undefeated record who incidentally was smaller than him to boot. Wouldn't that be a kick in the groin to Mayweather? Regardless of how much he pleaded and griped, he'd be more remembered for the fight he didn't take than the 43 he won.
Rocky Marciano retired undefeated at 49-0 (43) and still he's not considered the greatest heavyweight champ in history. Some will highlight how Rocky fought during a pedestrian heavyweight era littered with older former greats like Joe Louis, Ezzard Charles, Jersey Joe Walcott and light heavyweight legend and great Archie Moore. And that is the truth. However, the one thing that can't be said about Rocky is that he ducked or avoided anybody who was out there and viewed as a threat.
Sorry, but that's not the case with Mayweather. The fact is Floyd avoided Paul Williams, Antonio Margarito, Shane Mosley and Miguel Cotto when they were nipping at his heals as welterweights. Instead he waited for Williams to move up in weight as the others knocked each other off as time moved along and they got older. Then some featherweight Super-Nova comes along and all of the sudden he's using HGH/Steroids and is too dangerous to fight. Something that if you believed, you have to reside in another world.
Personally, I'd rather Mayweather and Pacquiao never fight. The fight has marinated too long and is no longer compelling to me. How can it be when one fighter is not only the more live fighter and he'll also demand that the other enter the ring in virtual handcuffs.
Sadly, there's way too many millions on the table for Manny to say forget you Floyd. I have more money than I can ever spend, not to mention other interest that will keep me busy after retirement. Oh, and my resume and legacy is more complete than yours. In fact I'll get a default victory over you in the eyes of the fans because everyone who follows boxing that is intellectually honest knows I wanted the fight with you when it really mattered. No, there's simply too much money guaranteed to Manny for him to go that route.
As Sugar Ray Leonard once said, unfortunately, it'll never happen that way. Manny will in fact eventually meet Floyd on Mayweather's terms and lose, thus giving Floyd the bragging rights he always craved.
It would be nice if, for once, Mayweather outsmarted himself, which would be the case if Pacquiao walked away. And it wouldn't matter what else Mayweather wound up doing in his career. The talk will follow him for the rest of his life.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com