This past Thursday afternoon the press tour for the upcoming Pacquiao-Mosley fight kicked off at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Both Manny Pacquiao and Shane Mosley rank among the top five active fighters in boxing when it comes to the respect they garner from a majority of today's boxing writers and fans. Throughout their careers Manny and Shane have met the best boxing had to offer in their respectful divisions, and even fought rematches against the fighters who defeated them or gave them their toughest and most difficult fights.
Matching Pacquiao 52-3-2 (38) and Mosley 46-6-1 (39) is a dream fight on paper. At one time had they fought as lightweights or welterweights it would've been a tossup or perhaps Mosley would've gone off as the betting favorite. And there's a strong case that can be made that justifies Mosley as being the best and most dangerous fighter Pacquiao will have ever shared a ring with. However, it's 2011 and Mosley is 39 crowding 40 years old, and Pacquiao is at or near his prime at 32. Oh, Pacquiao is a substantial favorite three months out from the fight, and for good reason. That being today Pacquiao can do everything better in the ring that a fighter can do over another, with the exception being Shane might hold the advantage in single shot power, again, that too may be a reach at this time.
Instead of the Pacquiao-Mosley announcement getting you pumped up for the fight, and it will be an exciting fight as long as it lasts, what it really does is serve as a reminder that this should've been the press tour kickoff for Pacquiao-Mayweather. That's the fight that all boxing fans are waiting to become a reality. Everyone who follows boxing knows that Mosley no longer posses the tools needed to beat Pacquiao. Shane is getting the fight because Mayweather doesn't want it. Mosley said as much at the press conference when he said, "if (Mayweather) wanted to fight him, he'd be fighting him." For Mayweather, hiding behind the smoke screen that he's thrown up suggesting that Pacquiao is using steroids or some form of HGH, is viewed by most clear thinking fans as an excuse. In sports, especially combat sports, perception is reality. And it's looking more and more like Floyd believes that the risk/reward factor in regards to him fighting Pacquiao isn't worth it.
If $30 million dollars isn't sufficient reward for risking a loss (and since Floyd's near his prime and has never taken a beating, it's unlikely that, win or lose, he'd be facing serious physical damage), what would be? It's got to be one of the greatest risk/reward fights in history. Can he really be so vain that a decision loss means that much to him? Until he agrees to fight Pacquiao, one must conclude that he fears his legacy won't hold up historically when compared to boxing's greatest of the greats if he suffers a defeat in the signature fight of his career. And if that's the case, Floyd's the one who chose the money and low risk fights during the peak years of his career.
The only thing that could legitimately become a stumbling block and prevent the biggest fight of the last decade from being made are Mayweather's pending legal issues, felony coercion and misdemeanor battery pertaining to his ex-girlfriend. Assuming that Mayweather won't have to serve any jail time, and it's highly unlikely that he will, he must step up and fight Pacquiao next, provided Manny gets by Shane in May. The sand in the hourglass is almost through. Floyd has to cast aside his worry that if he loses to Pacquiao, he'll be more remembered for his single defeat than his 41 career victories. That would be better than being more remembered for his appearances on Wrestlemania and Dancing With the Stars as Mark Kriegel of Foxsports.com wrote last week.
Just a couple years ago it seemed as if there was plenty of time to make Pacquiao-Mayweather, or if you will, Mayweather-Pacquiao. Then again, if fans were willing to pay to see Hopkins-Jones II 17 years after their first fight, then I guess there's still plenty of time left to work through the obstacles preventing Mayweather from signing the contract to face Pacquiao. The only problem is, Pacquiao is 32 and Mayweather will be 34 at the end of this month. Based on their age, they're both near the end of their prime. It's a rarity that boxing lucks out and gets to see two greats face each other at or near their prime. That's why when it does happen those fights are never forgotten. How many fights are held in the same historical reverence as Frazier-Ali I and Leonard-Hearns I?
In order for Pacquiao-Mayweather to be held in that regard years after they fight, it has to happen soon. If Mayweather can survive his upcoming court date and Pacquiao manages to get by Mosley this coming May, they must face each other in their next bout. If they wait beyond 2011, it'll be more remembered like Leonard-Hearns II then Duran-Leonard I.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com