How About Now? It’s Now or Never for Mayweather & Pacquiao

By David Matthew on December 2, 2014
How About Now? It’s Now or Never for Mayweather & Pacquiao
Mayweather-Pacquiao would shatter all PPV/revenue records ever seen in the fight game.

The future is now—and the emphatic urgency of The Now is staring both Mayweather and Pacquiao in the face with an evident reality…

As we move beyond the fifth year of failed Mayweather-Pacquiao negotiations, hopeless boxing romantics still can’t help themselves when pondering the question on every casual sports fan’s mind when they think of boxing: “Will Manny Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KOs) and Floyd Mayweather (47-0, 26 KOs) ever fight?” And just like a hopeless romantic who holds on to faith after years of failed advances towards a woman who clearly does not share mutual interest, he can’t help but wait and try to catch her attention when the timing is just “right,” echoing the popularized Drake lyrics with the shameless question, “Girl, how about now?” At exactly the point when it seems all hope is lost, sometimes—the hopeless romantic’s tireless optimism and persistence pays off—and the stars align at the last possible moment, as may now be the case with Mayweather-Pacquiao. Or, like most hopeless romances where the passion only strikes one side of the coin, perhaps it was just never meant to be.

Before sports fans who are singular minded when it comes to boxing give up all hope and wallow in melancholic regret at the fight of their generation never materializing, there is still reason for optimism when it comes to Mayweather-Pacquiao. Both fighters now seek meaningful opponents that can build upon their respective all-time status and capitalize on the last opportunity for mega-fight greatness as their careers enter the final leg of their illustrious tours through the modern annals of pugilistic supremacy. Both fighters have exhausted their pools of top contenders to where Floyd decided to give Marcos Maidana a rematch nobody wanted to see, while Pacquiao opted for a lukewarm fight with the outmatched Chris Algieri in a fight that nobody needed to see. And when it comes to an opportunity to further elevate their respective legacies in an all-time great context, both Mayweather and Pacquiao can now only look to each other.

So, how about now?

In the aftermath of Pacquiao masterfully dispatching padawan Chris Algieri in Macao, China last month in a fight which featured the alleged re-emergence of Pacquiao’s blistering punching power (alleged because Algieri is not world-class and thus said evidence remains inconclusive), there were immediate reports that Bob Arum was in exploratory talks for a Manny-Floyd showdown with Les Moonves, the head of CBS Corp., which owns Showtime, the premium network that Mayweather is contractually obligated to for two more fights. Manny re-asserted his desire to fight Floyd in the post-fight interview, standing in the center of the ring and mimicking his own Foot Locker commercial where he jumps up and down in an excited fervor exclaiming, “He’s going to fight me? Yes! Yes! He’s going to fight me!” While Manny has always expressed his unequivocal desire to fight Floyd, what is now interesting is that both Floyd and members of his inner-circle seem to be warming up to the once-in-a-generation showdown. Recently, Mayweather-Haymon affiliate Sam Watson was asked of whether Floyd wants to fight Pacquiao, and emphatically responded in the affirmative, saying “Floyd wants that fight bad, that’s all he talks about. I think the fight will happen.”

Mayweather cohorts expressing optimism in the fight materializing is one thing, but what about Floyd Mayweather’s own current stance on the fight? Perhaps the most interesting facet of Mayweather-Maidana 2 was not the outcome of the fight, as Floyd predictably outclassed an overmatched Maidana, but rather Floyd’s surprisingly warm response to Jim Gray’s compulsory question of whether the Pacquiao fight will ever happen. When Pacquiao’s name was mentioned, Floyd uncharacteristically broke free from his usual deflection of the Pacquiao question, giving an optimistically direct, open public response to the fight: “I’m going to talk to my team and see what we can assess. I’m not dodging anybody. If the Manny Pacquiao fight presents itself, let’s make it happen. Manny needs to focus on the guy in front of him (Algieri). Once he gets past him, then we’ll see what the future holds.”

That future is now—and the emphatic urgency of The Now is staring both Mayweather and Pacquiao in the face with an evident reality: If the fight doesn’t happen now, it will never happen. With just two fights remaining on his Showtime deal, and at 37 years of age with high mileage on his boxing body from a lifetime of pugilistic exploits, Floyd knows the end is near. Whereas some former champions can never say no to a prizefight, boxing far beyond reason into their 40s and 50s to where chronic, neurological damage is imminent, Mayweather has always approached boxing with measured pragmatism: Hit and don’t get hit; sustain as little damage as possible; outsmart your opponent; rake in record-breaking revenue. It’s a formula that is esoteric to Mayweather’s insular cipher, and it has produced Floyd’s dynamic ascent as the sport’s most prolific fighter, a star that has outshone all rivals with a sustained dominance and recorded perfection that no peer has been able to match. 

Now 47-0, will Floyd put his pristine record on the line to fight Emanuel Pacquiao? He should. As much as Floyd likes to play aloof and act like he doesn’t watch boxing, pretending to not know his opponent’s names—he understands legacy and boxing immortality very well. If Floyd doesn’t fight Pacquiao, his already cemented all-time great legacy will be slightly muffled by the “what if he fought Pacquiao” question. If Floyd beats Pacquiao, his stature ascends even further to unimaginable heights. If he loses, it perhaps sets up an epic trilogy that both endears boxing fans to him and apotheosizes a rivalry reminiscent of the past lore of Leonard-Duran, Ali-Frazier, Gatti-Ward, and Bowe-Holyfield, fueling boxing with the theater it so desperately needs: a competitive rivalry. 

Mayweather would and should be the clear-cut favorite in a prospective match-up with Pacquiao. He has been the more consistently dominant fighter of this era, and would step into the ring with a considerable size advantage. If Floyd’s one-sided shutout against Juan Manuel Marquez (who is sized similarly to Pacquiao) is any indication, it could conceivably be a very long night of Pacquiao lunging, but never really finding the elusive Mayweather, who may very well comfortably counter from a safe distance en route to a wide points decision victory. Conversely, Manny has recaptured enough of his elite footwork and relentless in-and-out flurrying offensive arsenal to make the fight legitimately intriguing, yet again. That said, in the aftermath of being knocked out by Marquez, Manny has transformed into a more cerebral and measured fighter, as was on full display in the Bradley rematch where Manny dominated with not just a whirlwind attack of combination flurrying, but also a disciplined command of angling, timing, and ring generalship. He will need to approach a Mayweather fight with a chessman-like game plan if he has any hopes of outpointing boxing’s brightest virtuoso, as Floyd boasts the highest boxing IQ of any combatant in the sport. As such, Pacquiao’s newfound cerebral approach to the ring would serve him well should the fight be made.

There is no better timing than now for the fight to be made, particularly for Mayweather. With just two fights remaining on his Showtime-CBS contract, fighting Pacquiao next would open up the potentiality of a rematch in the event that Pacquiao actually defeated Mayweather. Any Mayweather-Pacquiao agreement would likely feature a rematch clause (as is presently being reported in the current round of negotiations), and a prospective rematch would round out Floyd’s contractual obligations with Showtime/CBS, which would have him retire on schedule, something Floyd has expressed a great desire to do. Additionally (and needless to say), Mayweather-Pacquiao would shatter all PPV/revenue records ever seen in the fight game, and would create a situation where both fighters could likely walk away with upwards of $100 million dollars for a singular fight. Nothing would speak to the “Money” persona more than this fight, and now that both Mayweather and Pacquiao have juiced as much as they can out of the steady train of towering PPV numbers, regardless of who is on the B-side, that train has seemingly slowed, unless the next stop is Mayweather-Pacquiao.

With all that being said, there may actually be some other match-ups for Floyd that might produce a better fight. Mayweather-Cotto 2 certainly has its intrigue. Their first fight was arguably Floyd’s most excitingly competitive fight of all time, and Cotto’s middleweight resurgence in the wake of his destruction of Sergio Martinez renders him compelling once again. Further, Mayweather’s adviser Al Haymon is reportedly in talks to negotiate a potential Mayweather-Cotto 2 showdown in New York City in May. Mayweather-Canelo 2 also has its intrigue as a fight many think has the potentiality to be a scintillating encounter if Canelo has learned and grown from his first experience fighting Mayweather as many believe he has. Mayweather-Thurman would also be fascinating, as Thurman is an undefeated young lion with scary upside, devastating punching power, and a rapidly evolving skill-set that has convinced many aficionados that he’s the welterweight of the future. Yet none of these fights feature a fraction of the intrigue and public demand for a Mayweather-Pacquiao showdown. 

An interesting development to now turn one’s attention to features the negotiations between Miguel Cotto and Canelo Alvarez for a May superfight. Canelo-Cotto is a perfectly ripened PPV mega fight of epic proportion that would arguably hold more intrigue than a lopsidedly matched Mayweather or Pacquiao fight, unless Mayweather and Pacquiao fight each other. Perhaps nothing would motivate Mayweather to make the Pacquiao fight happen like the threat of a rivaling mega fight that might feasibly bump Floyd out of the undisputed limelight in the month of May. May—a month that holds special significance for Mayweather—historically and etymologically symbolizes Floyd’s unparalleled dominance and carte-blanche ownership of the sport. The thought of having to acquiesce to any other boxing event in the month of May might boil Floyd’s blood faster than Bob Arum’s presence at the Mayweather Boxing Club—and incidentally—it may prove to be a significant reason why Mayweather-Pacquiao is made.

So, how about now? Despite both camps continuing their usual shenanigans (Floyd trolling Manny on Instagram, Arum lusting for control, Manny goofily smiling through it all), there is also encouraging indicia to suggest that both camps are now warmer to the fight happening than perhaps ever before. Despite being played and toyed with for the past five years, the boxing world is still enamored with the prospect of Mayweather-Pacquiao.  Finally, the boxing world may get the Girl of its dreams. She’s a little bit older, but still in her prime. Smarter. More experienced. Better. And just like the girl who never gave the boy with the deepest capacity for love a chance, she’ll regret it some day when the window of opportunity is no longer there.

And so will Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. 

Follow David Matthew on Twitter @David_Math; Instagram @TruSparta

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  1. Koolz 03:02pm, 12/03/2014

    Mayweather got put in Jail for beating his wife I wouldn’t befriend him talk to him or anything.  A fighter has the mind set of control that includes the situation there in and there emotions.  Is not a boxer a fighter?  No Guess not.  In life you need to get rid of negative energy that includes people around you.
    I never said Mayweather was ducking anyone I said Arum and Mayweather do not want to work together.  Arum wants all the control but Mayweather since he is the boxer wants control also.  I cant’ see these guy make any sort of compromise.  “Pac is just doing what Roach wants him to do, get on Mayweather’s nerves.”
    It’s all a business after all.
    Would love to see this fight happen but meh….I am more excited by GGG who destroy Mayweather before six rounds.

  2. Ugo 11:16am, 12/03/2014

    I agree Mel, sweet Drake reference lmao. I believe a fight would happen as they’ve both squeezed out their lower opposition. Agree that its been mostly Mayweather’s fault or party that the fight hasn’t come to fruition yet

  3. Robert Ecksel 11:00am, 12/03/2014

    We’d never block you, Irish. Ako strolls in, pisses on Mayweather, and leave us to clean up the mess. Try again on Norm’s article.

  4. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 09:49am, 12/03/2014

    Yikes! Was I blocked along with Ako? Tried twice now to comment on Norm Marcus’ neat article and it’s a no go!

  5. David Matthew 06:26am, 12/03/2014

    Request for Ako’s disgusting comment to be deleted.  People can hurl insults and their distaste for Mayweather all they want - in the vein of sports analysis and fan-banter.  But when people degenerate to base-level racialized and primitive language, that’s when the line is drawn.  Please remove Ako’s comment from this discussion.

  6. Pete The Sneak 05:42am, 12/03/2014

    5/6 years to late for me…Got to the ‘who gives a shite’ mode about this fight round 2008… Nice write up Dave, but let’s move on. Nothing to see here…Peace.

  7. Emilio Cortes 10:08pm, 12/02/2014

    Floyd will respond by calling him Number 1 pound for pound Coward in the world!

  8. Galvar 07:21pm, 12/02/2014

    Only people who have the power to make the fight happen are the fans.  Don’t buy the PPVs.  Even if they do fight, I think I agree with the more and more common opinion that it’s going to be a boring fight.

  9. Mel 06:55pm, 12/02/2014

    I love the fact that everybody posting on this article (Koolz,Alex,Mike) have so much confidence and assurance that Mayweather is the one dodging Paquiao, I suppose you’ve all been PERSONALLY in contact with Mayweather and you’ve all heard it directly from him. He confided in you and he told you all he was “scared”. Let me guess you all just saw the many commercial, automatically, Mayweather is the .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

    Listen, these are two grown ass men if they wanted to fight each other they would just make it happen. I am sure money is a factor.

    If…..... This is a mind trick by Mayweather, who cares? This is a chess match not checkers every move counts including a rematch clause. The king sitting on throne will not and should not kneel to a fighter that was knocked out and has losses under his belts. If it’s was a pith the money before is this fight does occur the fight should not be 50/50 split! Maybe 85/15 to the guy sitting on the throne.

  10. I Don't Care Anymore 02:51pm, 12/02/2014

    Manny vs. Floyd = zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

  11. Koolz 01:31pm, 12/02/2014

    No the fight won’t happen because Mayweather and Arum don’t want to work together and that is that.  It has nothing to do with fear of a fighter.
    Contact Arum instead of Floyd.

  12. Shock rhythm 12:57pm, 12/02/2014

    To Floyd “believers”: Instead of defending him in vain, why not just do your best convincing your boy to come to grips with his unfounded fear? You cannot gauge a boxer just by looking at him superficially. Dig deep down and you’ll be in a better position to see the real stuff. A soldier who loses courage loses all battles though he may win some. Like it or not, Manny Pacquiao serves to be the ultimate measuring stick for the pampered, extremely flattered “champion.”

    To make the story short, Mayweather is a bothered man. He could not accept the painful truth that Pacquiao is a better man than him. He might beat Pacquiao, should he gain enough courage to push their much-awaited battle. But after all the low-blows and mockery he has exhibited, he just proved himself as an unworthy champion.

    Fights only take place inside the ring. If you’re gonna talk trash and duck, be willing to take the heat when some fans say you’re avoiding legitimate threats to your oh-so-precious record.

  13. john jones 12:23pm, 12/02/2014

    this megafight wont happen no matter what the circumstances. Floyd cannot accept to be humiliated by Pacquiao inside the ring. Pacquiao is too quick and has tremendous punching power on both hands. Floyd simply doesn’t have that power punch and due to age he is slowing. Time for him to retire now i think.

  14. john jones 12:17pm, 12/02/2014

    there is no other logical explanation why won’t fight. he is simply scared. no human being in this world can refuse a $150 million projected payoff unless you are scared to be run over a 10 wheeler truck.

  15. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 11:22am, 12/02/2014

    Eric-You got that right! Lemieux and Rosado go to war this Saturday…who needs Mayweather anyway….other than the Las Vegas gaming and hospitality industry, all the “gentleman clubs” on and off the Strip, and those Fatburger joints, especially the one that shares a common wall with a McDonalds on the Strip.

  16. jr 11:09am, 12/02/2014

    can someone show me where floyd used his shoulder roll against a southpaw?

  17. jr 11:08am, 12/02/2014

    talks about being late…prolly from flomos who dont to see their hero getting pasted…but floyd will win anyway, lmao.

  18. jr 11:05am, 12/02/2014

    all this talk about floyd being this master counter puncher…can someone point to me where he countered a southpaw?

  19. Mike 10:32am, 12/02/2014

    No great champions have been undefeated, the likes of Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard and many more except for Rocky Marciano who was still on his prime when he died of a plane crash. That’s why it is wrong to say and a form of cheating for mayweather to surpass Marciano’s record because he could have gone 50 more fights undefeated or lose along the way in more of his fights. So, if mayweather wants to be called as one of the greatest of all times he should accept defeat now and forget his zero loss record and if he beats Pacquiao then he would become the exception to the rule. The ball or “balls” is now on mayweather for the megafight to happen.

  20. Alex 09:29am, 12/02/2014

    Manny wants to fight Mayweather, but Floyd keeps ducking him. I think it is time to remove Floyd from the top P4P list. A fighter who ducks opponents is not a champ…he is a CHUMP.

  21. Don from Prov 08:38am, 12/02/2014

    How about it is much too late (IMO/interest level anyway)

  22. Mel 07:52am, 12/02/2014

    Dave…... Nice Drake reference lol

  23. Eric 07:35am, 12/02/2014

    Floyd vs Manny, taint happening. Get over it. This country is going to hell in a handbasket and whether or not these two tiny fellers fight each other should be waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down on anyone’s list of concerns. At this stage of their careers and the way Floyd fights, it would probably be a boooooooring decision victory for Floyd anyway. The fight would NOT live up to the hype at all.

  24. Koolz 05:40am, 12/02/2014

    The only ones stopping this fight from happening is Mayweather and Arum both do not want to work together.  Arum wants to much control and he is full of it.
    How this could all be worked out is anyone’s guess.

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