This past Thanksgiving weekend a friend of mine who I'll refer to as Dave, went to Las Vegas for the weekend. Dave is very connected to the entertainment field regarding Atlantic City and Las Vegas.
When I saw him the week after Thanksgiving, he said to me, “Frank, it's set! Floyd and Manny are going to fight May 2nd of next year at the MGM in Vegas.”
Dave said, “The big executives at the MGM have already reserved the date for the fight.”
I said to him there's been no announcement what so ever that the fight has been finalized. He simply said, “That’s what the big money boys are saying, they've been holding the date since October.”
Despite Dave being one of the nicest and most trust- worthy people you could have as a friend, I didn't write what he passed along to me, even though I believed him. And the reason for that was, the Mayweather-Pacquiao bout has been on and off so many times that I just wasn't confident that Mayweather wouldn't find another way to stall it again. So I didn't pursue it any further because of the overload of faux reports pertaining to the anticipated bout. Well, due to what's recently been reported and how it appears the fight will be finalized soon, or so we think, it looks as if Dave will be right regarding when and where the fight will take place.
This shouldn’t be a big surprise.
On January 10th I wrote how I thought the time was nearing for Mayweather-Pacquiao and how HBO and Showtime would work together and not prevent the bout from being realized. And the reason I stressed in the article was: “the public is fed up with both fighters not facing each other and it was evidenced by their declining PPV buy numbers for HBO and Showtime. So they really didn't have anywhere else to turn regarding opponents that could stimulate public interest.” So it looks like this coming May 2, on the weekend of Cinco de Mayo, Floyd Mayweather 47-0 (26) will fight Manny Pacquiao 57-5-2 (38) in what will be a blockbuster event five years after the sell by date of when it was truly a legitimate super-fight.
For the past week the activity/reporting regarding the fight coming to fruition has really escalated; however, Mayweather has flooded social media saying it's not done yet and asking everybody to slow down while he tours the world on his private jet. Just once I would love to see Floyd overplay his hand, so much so that those who want to see the fight become disgusted enough that they lose interest in it. But that's not going to happen, and what makes it worse is Mayweather knows it.
What stands out most to me and why Floyd is stringing the public along further is this – apparently Team Pacquiao hasn't agreed to every single demand that Team Mayweather has insisted upon. And you better believe that until that happens there's no way Mayweather will go through with the fight. None what so ever because with it being so close, and both the public and Pacquiao being so hungry for it, there is no urgency on his part to bend on anything, and he won't.
The more Mayweather drags this on the more it becomes obvious that he isn't cut from the same cloth as other past great champions. And yes, I'm saying he's not the in-ring-fighter they were, and he'll be forgotten soon after he retires regardless whether he wins or loses to Pacquiao. Sure, he doesn't want to end up destitute like other past greats have, and to insure against that he's managed himself brilliantly. He has more money than he'll ever need, I think. And to that I say good for him. I'm for all fighters getting as much money as they can. But Floyd has taken it to the point that he's lost touch.
Floyd has been convinced by the media and fans that he and Pacquiao fighting is a really big deal, but it's really not. He'll be 38 when the fight takes place, we've seen him lose at least once in the ring, to Jose Luis Castillo….so Manny really cannot be the first fighter to defeat him. As for Pacquiao, he's been defeated five times and stopped three times. So what makes Mayweather beating him such a herculean feat? It doesn't, and it's unlikely that Mayweather will beat Pacquiao as conclusively and decisively as Juan Manuel Marquez did in 2012.
Mayweather-Pacquiao is Frazier-Ali I to those who were born after 1980. And the reason for that is, Mayweather has been the top dog in boxing for most of their teen years through adulthood. So to them Mayweather is the be-all end-all because they weren't around to see the greats who fought during the sixties, seventies and most of the eighties.
In the realm of super-fights, Mayweather-Pacquiao isn't as compelling to me and many others as Pryor-Arguello I, Duran-Leonard I, Leonard-Hearns I, Foreman-Ali. And it doesn't even get within sniffing distance regarding anticipation of any one of the three clashes between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier circa 1971-75.
Think about this, and how crazy it sounds when Mayweather says he's the greatest or “TBE.”
On March 22nd 1967 Muhammad Ali knocked out Zora Folley in the seventh round to mark the ninth consecutive defense of his undisputed heavyweight title. One month later he was stripped of the title for refusing military induction. Ali didn't fight again until October 26th of 1970 when he stopped top contender Jerry Quarry in three rounds. On December 7th he fought the next ranked contender, Oscar Bonavena, and stopped him in the 15th round of a rough fight. Twenty three days later on December 30th 1970, Ali agreed to meet an undefeated all-time great wrecking machine named “Smokin” Joe Frazier, who was at his absolute peak and the defending undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. Oh, and Ali would meet Frazier nine weeks later in the most anticipated sporting event in history, after fighting only 18 rounds in four years.
Yet Floyd Mayweather has strung along fighting the former featherweight champ for five years because not all of his terms to insure victory have been met! Yeah, he's “TBE.”
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com