Friday, July 16, 2010

The Decision: Pacquiao/Mayweather

By Tony Mangia


Don't hold your breath for the "Fight of the Decade." The welterweight showdown by arguably the two best fighters in the world will not happen. Noise from both Manny Pacquiao's and Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s camps suggest that neither fighter is as close to an agreement as the public has been led to believe. The silence from Mayweather is deafening.

Top Rank's Bob Arum has given Mayweather until Friday, 11:59 p.m. deadline to accept terms for a potential November 13 bout with his fighter, Pacquiao. Arum hasn't specified whether it was Eastern or Pacific time, but when you open the sports pages on Saturday, don't expect to read about the fighters shaking hands.


This talk has been teasing boxing fans since January, and the intrigue is beginning to wear thin. While many boxing fans wonder if Money is backing down from Pac Man; Mayweather suspects that his potential foe is juiced up on drugs and has refuted Pacquiao's claim that blood tests weaken the Filipino fighter. Pacquiao has agreed to blood testing up to two weeks before the fight---a two week window that Mayweather has refused to sign on to. Mayweather backers'message is that avoiding the blood-drawing is a ruse for Pacquiao to skip the bout.

Dividing the fight purse is one of the other contentions. Top Rank wants a 50/50 split, while Mayweather thinks he deserves 60 percent. This isn't the first time these two teams have squared off outside the ring. Oscar DeLa Hoya's firm, Golden Boy Promotions---which promotes Mayweather---has a percentage of all of Pacquiao's promotions---according to a 2007 contract. Pacquiao currently has a lawsuit against Golden Boy contesting that document and requests that the firm relinquish all interest in Pacquiao's promotional rights. Mayweather may not want fight an opponent that is suing his promo team---or it could be more of an incentive.


Floyd Mayweather is known for his outrageous behavior, but his logic is sometimes just as crazy. He recently said his "brand" is being undefeated. Pretty Boy claims his legacy lies in managing to retire undefeated. Whhaaat!? Does this mean he is afraid of Pacquiao? What kind of talk is that for a fighter? If he ducks Pacquiao, his brand will be undefeated, but he will be branded a fraud. Boxing historian, Burt Sugar, said the last time he could recall a boxer avoiding an opponent in this fashion was 100 years ago when "Gentleman" Jim Corbett "retired" for four years to avoid facing Bob Fitzsimmons. Corbett came out of retirement and, as fate would have it, got beat by the shadow he couldn't run from anymore.


Snoop Dog released a video supporting Mayweather and teasing Pacquaio. In a way only the rapper could convey, he tells Pacman, "Show us you ain't dirty and you ain't takin' no need to squab one on one." In Pacquiao's defense, he also could have rhymed, " To show I ain't no chicken, Pac Man can go two weeks with no needle prickin'."

If The Fight of the Decade doesn't occur, the fight world will have to settle for the Filipino Senator, Pacquiao, in a re-match against Miguel Cotto or Antonio Margerito. Margerito---suspended for one year for using illegal hand wraps--- is the more intriguing of the two.

It could be that Mayweather knows he's on a downslide. At 33, Money has fought only six times---winning by close decisions--- against inferior or fading fighters. Pacquiao, in the same span has fought 11 times against superior competition.

Mayweather is capable of leaving the ring being the richest and one of the greatest fighters of all time, only if he meets Pacquiao. A win and his legacy is secured in stone. If he refuses to fight, he will be undefeated with an asterisk---no, with a question mark. To both, just hurry up, the decade is coming to an end!

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