The thing about drug addicts and alcoholics is that it’s hard to feel sorry for them. It’s not that we don’t recognize the validity of their struggle. It’s not that we don’t know their pain is real. It’s not that their disease isn’t a tangible thing. It’s that they did it to themselves.
Floyd Mayweather has put himself in a similar position. No matter what happens with a potential Mayweather-Pacquiao superfight, the undefeated 38-year-old will be hard-pressed to come away from the next few months unscathed, and he has nobody to blame but himself.
If you have a limited supply of empathy available to you, I urge you to reserve it for drug addicts and alcoholics instead. Let Mayweather stew in it. A man with as few redeemable qualities as he could use a little time alone with his thoughts.
Even those outside the confines of a typically pro-Pacquiao boxing media have grown weary of Mayweather’s tired antics. Yahoo’s Kevin Iole, who at times seems to go out of his way to give Mayweather the benefit of the doubt when it comes to fight selections and negotiations with competitors, lambasted Mayweather in his column on Tuesday.
“If Mayweather wanted it done, it would be done,” Iole wrote. “On the few occasions he chooses to speak publicly about the talks, he routinely mentions he’s the more powerful A-side in the talks. That unquestionably is true. But then he’ll bring up the nonsense that he repeatedly spews – which his fans repeat like clapping seals – that he’s the boss and Pacquiao is simply an employee of Top Rank. The insinuation is that it’s tougher to make the fight because Pacquiao doesn’t run his own promotional company, though clearly that has nothing to do with making the fight. Let’s be honest, though: If Mayweather truly were the boss, it would be his adviser, Al Haymon, who would be getting punched in the face.”
And that’s the thing about all of this: If Mayweather truly wanted to fight Pacquiao, the fight would be made. It would have been made six years ago, too. Or five. Or three. Or whenever he wanted, but it never was. And now he’s put himself in a really bad situation, one even Mayweather can’t win.
Just think about it. If Mayweather doesn’t fight Pacquiao on May 2 and ends up in the ring with either Miguel Cotto or Amir Khan, nothing he can do in those fights will really matter. He could fight and beat both on the same night, and the first question at the post-fight press conference would be about Pacquiao. All the while, HBO and former promotional partner Golden Boy will hammer his wallet by putting the proposed Canelo Alvarez vs. James Kirkland fight on the same night in competition with his precious PPV date and fight fans who have long clamored for him to face Pacquiao will revolt and be relentless in mockery of him.
Even if Mayweather does fight Pacquiao, he’s bound to lose that situation, too. Most folks consider Mayweather the favorite in the fight. The reasoning typically stated is that Mayweather is naturally larger and a fantastic counter-puncher, the latter of which he shares with Pacquiao’s great nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez. Assuming that’s how the fight plays out and Mayweather does defeat Pacquiao relatively easily, only the cringe worthy “Money Team” seals who clap for him no matter what would give Mayweather anything more than a nod.
After all, while Pacquiao has maintained elite status over the past few years, absolutely no one who watches boxing believes he is anything close to what he was as a fighter when the fight should have happened way back in 2009 or 2010. So while Mayweather would finally meet and face Pacquiao, as has been long expected of him, the mark on his record would forever have an asterisk affixed next to it with a footnote that reads ‘Yes, Mayweather defeated Pacquiao but not the one we wanted him to.’
And here’s what should be scariest to Mayweather, though he’s likely too concerned with propagating his image of power and money to realize it. Pacquiao can absolutely beat him in 2015. Oh sure, he’s not what he once was, but Mayweather hardly is either. The fleet-footed Floyd of five or six years ago would lose nary a round to a crude brawler like Marcos Maidana, and he certainly would never have gotten tagged flush on the chin so very many times over the course of two fights. Moreover, Pacquiao is absolutely the hardest fighter in the world to prepare for. It simply can’t be done. The only southpaw in the world with the speed, dexterity, power and technical skill of Pacquiao is the one he’ll face on fight night, and no matter how much he believes he’ll be ready for the absurd combination of attributes he’ll be up against on May 2, he won’t be ready for it when the bell rings. No one is. It took Marquez 36 rounds to learn all of Pacquiao’s tricks. Mayweather will have a third of that.
Pacquiao isn’t as destructive as he used to be, but he’s smarter now. He’s content to let his handspeed and aggression carry the day for him. He steps back at times when he used to push the pedal to the metal for the knockout because he’s finally realized that judges like his style of fighting just about better than any other out there. Pacquiao doesn’t have to knock Mayweather out to win the fight. He simply has to move forward and out-throw him, and it’s almost certain he will.
So while it doesn’t really matter for him, don’t be surprised if Mayweather fights Pacquiao on May 2. Don’t be surprised if he’s made a huge favorite, too. But when the fight is over and judges award a close decision to Pacquiao, when Mayweather’s face turns to a scornful scowl as his undefeated record at long last falls by the wayside to the one man his gilded legacy couldn’t afford a blemish against, don’t be surprised of that outcome either.
Remember, too, one magnificent oddity about the situation when it’s all said and done: whatever path he chose and whatever outcome unfolded for him, Floyd Mayweather couldn’t win.
And he did it to himself.
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