Politics dictate boxing.
Mention boxing to even the most casual fight fan and they immediately ask about Floyd “Money” Mayweather versus Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao. Will it be made?
Looking at that match as a neutral observer and with a purely financial perspective, there’s no doubt that it’s the biggest boxing match available for boxing fans, sports fans and even among the camera hounds of the day.
But does it make sense for both parties?
Mayweather probably rubbed his hands with glee while watching Pacquiao eke out a controversial win that 70 percent of the population surveyed felt he lost to Juan Manuel Marquez. Mayweather sees an easy victory and a monstrous payday to boot. The Las Vegas prizefighter with 2 million Twitter followers has no doubt of his boxing superiority over Pacquiao.
That’s why he’s calling out Pacman.
Meanwhile, Top Rank and Pacquiao’s advisors are dishing out alibis and rationalizations why the fight doesn’t make sense, such as: the Las Vegas stadium won’t be completed by Cinco de Mayo.
Pacquiao recently renewed a contract with Top Rank and like any smart promotional company they don’t want to devalue their investment. Not right out of the gate.
Do they think Pacquiao can beat Mayweather?
Yes, they do, but they’re not going to bet $100 million on it. That’s a bottom figure of what they would lose if Pacquiao were to be defeated by Mayweather in four months. His value would drop to 2008 levels of the real estate market. Boxing would foreclose on him.
“A lot of people don’t understand the politics of boxing,” said Emanuel Steward a few days ago.
Most people think this guy should fight that guy and don’t understand it’s about making the most money you can.
So if Mayweather doesn’t fight Pacquiao then who should it be?
If you look at this objectively one needs to scan the list of Pound for Pound fighters in the top 12. Fighting anyone other than one of the Pound for Pound members is doing a disservice to the boxing fan and the sport.
Mayweather is no doubt the most skillful boxer from 147 pounds and down.
One name that has been rumored is Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, who holds the WBC junior middleweight title. Is he considered a member of the Pound for Pound list?
One day he could be considered, but not this year.
Number one on the list is Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero. He’s the closest in weight and definitely has the speed, skill and heart to battle Mayweather’s brew of boxing.
Guerrero doesn’t have the brand name of Pacquiao or even Canelo, but he has the boxing pedigree and even Mayweather was not a cinch to beat Oscar De La Hoya when they met in 2007. So why not Guerrero?
The southpaw bomber recently injured his arm but was operated on and repaired without a hitch. He’s eager to prove that he can fight anyone at any time. He’s also a member of my Pound for Pound list and with good reason. He can fight.
Number two on the list is Amir Khan. Yes, he lost to Lamont Peterson but he has the speed and style to give Mayweather fits. But that loss to the D.C. boxer has left a lot of doubts in some fan’s minds so a rematch is more in order than a fight with Money.
Number three is Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley. Like Khan and Guerrero he is also a member of the Pound for Pound list and his speed could give Mayweather a hell of a time. He’s probably out of the picture because he signed with Top Rank. It’s more likely he’ll fight Pacquiao but probably not this year. He’s too good and could possibly upset the big plans for Pacquiao. So a fight between Bradley and Pacquiao is out of the picture for at least a year. A match with Mayweather is definitely not one that Money would make. Too much risk for not much in return.
The last feasible match could be Sergio Martinez. But the slick Argentine is a middleweight and that’s far too much weight for Mayweather to handle. Not that he couldn’t match skills, but the extra weight would be too much for Mayweather’s brittle hands. And like Bradley there’s too much risk with little return.
Let’s look at Pacquiao.
Top Rank wants to get their bang for their buck so Tim Bradley is out. He’s too dangerous.
The number one guy that Pacquiao could fight is Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios. He’s too strong and apparently too heavy to fight as a lightweight so he’s moving up in weight.
Rios can bang and he doesn’t run around trying to look for cover. It looks to be the best possible match for Pacman and an exciting one. Plus, both are Top Rank fighters. That’s important. Arum doesn’t like to share money with other promoters.
The other possibilities are rematches with Juan Manuel Marquez or Miguel Cotto. Sure there are people that would buy those pay-per-view fights but Pacquiao needs to show dominance over another fighter before selling either of those fights.
Could Rios give Pacquiao problems?
Rios is a wild card and though he’s never fought at welterweight that doesn’t mean he can’t enter the ring at 141. It makes sense to put the Mexican-American bomber in with Pacman.
If Pacquiao gets by Rios, Cotto, Bradley and Marquez, then you will see Top Rank put their guy in against Mayweather. If he’s still undefeated.
Don’t hold your breath.