I remember leaving the venue the night Manny Pacquiao demolished Ricky Hatton, in May of 2009, and hearing a friend say to another friend of ours, “He'll do the same thing to Mayweather.”
To which I interjected and said, “There's not a chance in the world of that happening.”
Four months later, in September 2009, I was leaving the same venue with the same group of guys after watching Floyd Mayweather tutor Juan Manuel Marquez for 12 one-sided rounds. The guy who said Pacquiao would knock out Mayweather was more convinced than ever that he was right four months earlier. However, the other two among the group weren't as convinced that Pacquiao would beat Mayweather as they were the night Manny separated Hatton from his senses.
The real interest in a Mayweather-Pacquiao bout began during the summer of 2009. In a perfect boxing world Floyd and Manny would've faced each other somewhere between March and May of 2010. Here we sit four and a half years later and the faux super-fight is no closer to being realized.
Since Pacquiao stopped Hatton and Mayweather schooled Marquez, Pacquiao has fought nine times, all on PPV. Mayweather has fought seven times, all on PPV. That's 16 PPV bouts between them. Think about how much money they've made in those 16 PPV exclusives.
In addition to that only five of those 16 PPV bouts with them as the main event were moderately exciting and action packed: Pacquiao-Cotto, Pacquiao-Marquez III & IV, along with Mayweather-Cotto and Mayweather-Maidana I. What's really sad is thinking about how much money boxing fans coughed up to see five outstanding bouts in 16 fights.
Together, Mayweather and Pacquiao developed their own cottage industry by not fighting each other. By them not fighting in the spring of 2010, every time they've fought since then on PPV, viewers and fans have sized them up and how they'd do against each other. That keeps the interest in a potential fight between them thriving. This is the main reason why bouts like Mayweather-Maidana I & II and Pacquiao-Aligeri among their other recent bouts were and are PPV attractions.
Sure, Floyd and Manny both would've made a King's ransom had they met during the spring of 2010, but not nearly as much as they have made since, without having faced each other. If Mayweather and Pacquiao fought in 2010, one of them would've lost and he'd be a boxing staple on HBO or Showtime now if he was still fighting. Unless the fight was spectacular or controversial, the loser would go back to headlining subscription cable cards. The reality is the public would've lost interest in the loser once it was established he couldn't beat the winner.
We are at the point to whenever Mayweather and Pacquiao fight, they're not really being measured by the opponent in front of them. They are really being compared to how the other looked in their last fight. When Pacquiao takes on Chris Algieri next month, assuming he wins, his showing will be compared to how the version of him who fought Algieri would've fared against the Mayweather who beat Marcos Maidana in their rematch last month. And on and on it goes.
When Mayweather looks good, he becomes the favorite in the eyes of boxing fans. And when Pacquiao looks good and Floyd looks vulnerable, then Manny closes the gap as to who fans think would win. What an understanding of the business side of boxing they've acquired. Everyone else would keep saying “fifty million dollars apiece” as to why they should fight each other, when the real money is in making 20, 25, or 30 million over and over and over again in low risks fights.
Basically, when Mayweather and Pacquiao fight on PPV and it cost you anywhere between $70.00 – $80.00 to watch, remember you are paying for a dry run or a dress rehearsal. There isn't one boxing fan reading this who can't say that when they were watching the slow hand and footed Maidana, who can't box, actually land to Mayweather's head and face last month, you weren't thinking in your mind how Mayweather would've dealt with Pacquiao's speed, power and boxing ability. Come on, you know I'm right.
Furthermore, when Pacquiao takes on the better than advertised light hitting Algieri next month, you'll replace Algieri with Mayweather in your mind’s eye and then try and deduce how Manny would handle Mayweather's speed and boxing ability if he were inserted from his last fight against Maidana…………Again, you know I'm right.
What a cottage industry Mayweather and Pacquiao have cultivated together. It's even more amazing that it happened and fell into place without either coercing or corresponding with the other to work it like they have. And seeing how that as long as they keep talking about fighting each other after their last bout, there's really no urgency on their part to fight. And this could go on for a long time as long as their future fights pay them millions and millions of dollars apiece.
Forget about who or what is to blame for the fight not being made. The reality of it is, Mayweather-Pacquiao is as bullet proof as the NFL. The only way fans should pay for the next fight featuring Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao is if they're facing each other, it can be argued. Otherwise, perhaps you're wasting your money and contributing to their cottage industry.
There's an old joke about a village idiot who people got into the habit of offering either a dollar or a quarter. The idiot always took the quarter, as people laughed at him. The scam went on year after year, and the idiot continued to amass a fortune in quarters. That “idiot”–he understood that the first time he took the dollar, it would be the last money he ever made. He knew not to do that, and so got the last laugh on everybody. That's the story that popped into my mind when I realized the hustle that Mayweather and Pacquaio are running. They'll run their game as long as they can, then finally bust things out at the very end, when they're both ready to hang up their gloves, by fighting each other.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com