Well, it’s 2014 and the boxing calender has turned, yet it still feels like 2013 or 2012, 2011 or even 2010. Yes, a fight that is going on four years past it being a legitimate Superfight is still the biggest and most talked about story in professional boxing — that being a proposed battle between welterweights Floyd Mayweather 45-0 (26) and Manny Pacquiao 55-5-2 (38). If you believe what Mayweather says, it’ll never happen. On the other hand Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer thinks it still might happen.
Me, I say, Who cares if it ever happens?
Here’s what amazes me. How, I repeat how, can there be so much interest in a fight that should’ve happened in 2010? At one time, say around 2009/2010 there was some drama attached to a Mayweather-Pacquiao clash as to who might come out on top. However, that’s nowhere even close to being the case today. Has the media’s build up and joining their two names together along with Mayweather’s tactics of starving the boxing public for what they really want been that successful? Obviously the answer is an unmitigated yes. The public is that gullible and will buy anything. Perhaps because younger fans, born after 1980, want to feel as if they witnessed some big historical fight the likes of Frazier-Ali I, Foreman-Ali, Duran-Leonard I, Leonard-Hearns I or even De La Hoya-Trinidad. Sadly, for them, a fight between Mayweather and Pacquiao after 2010 doesn’t even match the suspense of De La Hoya-Trinidad circa 1999. And you know why Mayweather-Pacquiao doesn’t come close to being the Superfight that the others were, aside for the adjusted-for-inflation money it will gross? Because in all the other PPV Superfights there was a lot of drama and suspense as to who would win, even in the Foreman-Ali bout when George was a 3-1 betting favorite. In a poll done right before the fight among the more established writers and historians at the time, they were actually split on who would win.
If Mayweather and Pacquiao were to meet this year, Mayweather would rightly be an overwhelming favorite to come out as the winner. The only unknown would be whether Floyd would win by decision or stoppage. The thing that has younger fans and writers interested in this fight so much is the fact that Mayweather and Pacquiao are the two biggest stars of their generations. Seeing Mayweather and Pacquiao in the ring isn’t such a big deal. The only thing that makes it a big deal has been Mayweather’s reluctance to allow the fight to become a reality. At one time Mayweather was troubled by Pacquiao’s presence. In 2010/2011 Mayweather thought he could beat Pacquiao but harbored a percentage or two of doubt. The difference between now and then is that two percent is gone, Mayweather no longer has a morsel of doubt that he can take Manny.
We’ve seen over the last thirty or forty years where some fighters were so sure and confident that they could defeat a particular rival that they would agree to meet them regardless of the circumstances or even if they were on the decline. Sugar Ray Leonard waited until Marvin Hagler started to talk about retiring before he challenged him despite Marvin pleading to fight Leonard for at least five years before they met. Leonard got away with that because he knew a fight with Hagler was never any further away than him simply stating that he wanted to fight Hagler on such and such a date.
Shane Mosley wanted to fight Mayweather for years before Floyd finally agreed to it after Mosley was on a severe decline–and please don’t be fooled by Mayweather’s one public challenge on HBO–but everyone knows Mayweather waited until there was no chance Mosley could stay with him. And Floyd got his way because he knew Mosley would never turn down the opportunity to fight him, which of course he didn’t.
As of this writing Mayweather knows a fight with Pacquiao is there anytime he wants it, it’s just a matter of him giving it the green light. Manny has wanted to fight Floyd for so long that he’d get up off his death bed to meet Mayweather in the ring. And it’s that admirable-but-foolish warrior mindset that will lead to him getting taken apart by Floyd when Mayweather finally decides it’s time to torture him a little bit and shut up those who have constantly said he was afraid to fight Pacquiao.
Again, Mayweather no longer thinks he can beat Pacquiao, he knows it. After seeing Manny look ordinary against Timothy Bradley and getting counted out face first at the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez, Floyd couldn’t be more confident. Forget how Manny looked against Brandon Rios. Pacquiao’s showing against Rios didn’t as much to concern or worry Mayweather as Muhammad Ali’s showing against Oscar Bonavena did to worry Joe Frazier about fighting him.
A fight between Mayweather and Pacquiao when it happens is a faux big fight. It’ll make a ton of money but it will be a one-sided boxing lesson administered to Pacquiao at the hands of Mayweather. Floyd has the size, strength, length and perfect style to control Manny for no less than nine rounds and probably 10 on his way to a commanding unanimous decision victory where he’ll control the tempo and action most of the way.The fact that boxing writers and fans still clamor for Mayweather-Pacquiao in 2014 boggles the mind. Pacquiao has no shot other than landing a lottery punch, none. For a fight to be considered a Superfight, there has to be suspense as to who will win, something a potential Mayweather-Pacquiao bout surely lacks to anyone who knows what they’re watching when it comes to professional boxing, because Floyd and Manny are no longer near equals.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com