Rest assured boxing fans....we will get to see the biggest fight of this era. Don't fret for a moment, you'll get to see the top pound-for-pound fighter in boxing, Floyd Mayweather, fight the number two pound-for-pound fighter in boxing, Manny Pacquiao. The only way that Mayweather-Pacquiao doesn't happen will be if Pacquiao loses in the interim, because we know Mayweather won't be defeated before they fight.
If anyone thinks that either Floyd or Manny are gonna retire without facing each other and creating the biggest gate in boxing history, you're out of your mind. Mayweather has everybody where he wants them. He's won the drug testing argument. In that I mean now Pacquiao is willing to consent to all of them. Not because there's a cloud of suspicion over him because there's not. The reason is because Mayweather has manipulated the debate and the boxing media regarding drug testing. Because he is such a draw now, every fighter who fights him is more than willing to take the test as he says. And that makes him look like a man of his word who's trying to clean up boxing. What a joke, Mayweather only cares about creating a legacy and getting paid for it.
A few years ago the fighter who I consider the second greatest welterweight in history, Sugar Ray Leonard, had a legacy fight out there waiting for him. The opponent's name was Marvin Hagler, who was dying to get his hands on Leonard. The problem for Marvin was, Ray knew it. And in knowing that he played Hagler knowing that Marvin would agree to the fight if he had one foot in the grave.
So what did Ray do? He waited for Hagler to slip ever so slightly and start talking about retirement. Then outta nowhere he goes on a Maryland radio station and says he'd come out of retirement only to face Hagler. When word got back to Hagler, Marvin tried to be coy and made Ray wait for his answer. Only Ray was too smart. He knew it was Hagler's dream fight. Leonard knew that Hagler would make more money fighting him than he ever did in his career, and at the same time would be afforded the opportunity to win his legacy fight and shut up his doubters. As we now know, Hagler accepted the Leonard fight under Ray's terms and has probably regretted that decision for the past 25 years.
In boxing there are some fighters who want to face another fighter so bad because they're so confident they can beat them, that they'd take the fight under almost any circumstances. Evander Holyfield practically got up from the grave and jumped at the chance to fight Mike Tyson. George Foreman as an old man in his mid forties wanted Tyson and would probably still fight him today at age 63. Did anyone doubt that as shot as he was Shane Mosley was gonna fight Mayweather at a time when Floyd held every advantage?
Boxing history is replete with the above scenarios. So wake up and add Mayweather-Pacquiao to that list. Floyd knows that Manny thinks he's afraid of him, and is using that to his full advantage. He also knows that Manny will agree to the terms of the fight whenever Floyd is serious about making the fight. Mayweather has no fear of Pacquiao, but he also knows that to insure victory he has to mess with Manny a little more and drag the fight out a little longer.
Pacquiao hasn't won by stoppage since beating Miguel Cotto. His opponents since the Cotto fight have been the very underwhelming and limited Joshua Clottey. Then he took on corpses named Antonio Margarito and Shane Mosley. In his last fight he was out-boxed and taken to school by his featherweight nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez. Minus Manny's devastation's of Ricky Hatton and Cotto, nobody would be considering Pacquiao anywhere close to even money in a head-to-head match up against Mayweather, would they?
At age 35 Mayweather looks bigger and stronger every time out. It's been said here before that Mayweather is too physically skilled along with being too big and strong for Pacquiao. Which shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone because Mayweather is the bigger man. Floyd takes a terrific shot and is tiger-like inside when it comes to mental toughness and determination.
At this time Pacquiao is so distracted and unfocused that he's not the fighter he was in 2009. As time moves on it'll get worse and he'll be ripe to be plucked by Mayweather. On the other hand, Mayweather is looking at a few months jail time, but Mayweather always stays focused and handles distractions almost as good as Muhammad Ali did. In fact, Floyd may be Ali-like in that the more he thinks the world is out to knock him down - the better he fights.
Mayweather has played this perfectly in hindsight. He'll get to Pacquiao as long as Manny isn't Marquezed before he's marinated him enough to make the fight between them. Make no mistake, Pacquiao is an all-time great pound-for-pound fighter. But he's more on the decline than is Mayweather and that isn't by accident. Floyd has worked that angle and is counting on Pacquiao wanting him so bad that he'll almost grovel to him when it looks as if they'll never fight.
Mayweather will be the more live fighter when the bout finally comes off. Add to that he has the style, speed, confidence and strength to decision Pacquiao. You better believe they'll fight as long as Manny doesn't lose in his next fight or the one after that.
Lastly, this is being written before Pacquiao fights Timothy Bradley next month. However, if Manny stops Bradley in the first round, it won't change my view on how Mayweather-Pacquiao goes. The only thing Pacquiao's showing will determine is when the fight happens. Great showing against Bradley means the fight's further down the road. A sub-par showing by Pacquiao against Bradley will translate into we're getting closer.
Just remember - if Pacquiao doesn't lose before fighting Mayweather, the fight will definitely be realized. And when the day comes that Mayweather finally signs for the fight and the press tour is announced, you can bet everything you own it'll be to Manny's disadvantage.
Mayweather has mastered starving the public for this fight. When he does meet Pacquiao, it'll be for the most money the fight is capable of doing and he'll have the most vulnerable Pacquiao in front of him. Count on it.
Follow TSS on Twitter here.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV