Mayweather vs. Pacquiao…Again?!?
This is Floyd Mayweather’s time. The multi-city press tour in advance of his Sept. 14 with Canelo Alvarez has eyeballs focused on Money May. And those who are not talking about Mayweather are talking about Canelo and his chances of defeating boxing’s grand master.
After years of speculation about Floyd possibly fighting Manny Pacquiao, which included a kaleidoscope of misstatements, disinformation and dodges, no one but no one is discussing Mayweather vs. Pacquiao anymore—no one, that is, apart from Floyd Mayweather.
According to boxingscene.com, Mayweather charged that “You guys [in the media] built Pacquiao up to this level and said he was better than Floyd Mayweather…I’m not pointing a finger at no particular figure.”
Aside from the cloak and dagger “I’m not pointing a finger at no particular figure” (with its we know who you are subtext), I have serious doubts that the media—which deserves to be taken to the woodshed on many accounts—deserves to be taken to the woodshed in this instance, for inflating Pacquiao’s accomplishments. Granted, the media is imperfect (which makes it a perfect reflection of our imperfect sport and profession). But the buck stops there, except of course when it doesn’t stop there at all.
Pacquiao’s “level” as Floyd calls it—and the faux “loss” to Timothy Bradley and genuine loss to Juan Manuel Marquez must be taken into account—wasn’t determined by the media, grand proclamations concerning this, that, and the other thing aside. Manny was considered one of the best fighters on the planet for one simple reason: he was one of the best fighters on the planet.
If Pacquiao was a media creation, as Mayweather alleges, we would have to discount if not deny his brilliant performances in the ring. Whining about catchweights and questionable decisions is all well and good, but Pacquiao, at his very best, was a thrilling performer. And while Mayweather can demean the Philippine to his heart’s content, as fabulous as he is on many fronts, thrilling he is not and has never been. That’s not to say he isn’t great. His record speaks for itself. He is a tactical genius, in and out of the ring. But his fights, which are almost always noncompetitive, and for which Mayweather can’t completely be faulted, do not raise the blood pressure, let alone the roofbeams.
The reason why Mayweather even brought up Pacquiao is more interesting than his ostensible argument. Despite the bravado and zillions of dollars in revenue he can generate, it’s possible, perhaps even likely, that even Floyd understands that the fight between him and Manny that never materialized is a world-class opportunity lost, and that future historians, not hypnotized by the glittery present, will of necessity take note.
Mayweather vs. Pacquiao would have been the highest grossing fight in history. It would have established, when it might have actually mattered, who was the number one pound-for-pound fighter in boxing. But of course the fight didn’t happen and Floyd, whose insecurity might be showing, would be wise to let it go. He’s thinking about that which the rest of gave up thinking about a long time ago—and not without some sadness, and not without a tinge of regret.