It's Time for Floyd Mayweather to Finally Step Up

November 25, 2013

As soon as Manny Pacquiao finished off his dominating 12-round unanimous decision victory over Brandon Rios this past weekend, the questions returned to a familiar theme: Can the biggest black mark on the sport of boxing in the past 10 years, the absence of the sport’s ability to make a Pacquiao-Mayweather megafight, be finally wiped away in the near future?

After Pacquiao reminded everyone of his still impressive hand speed, foot speed, and ultimate showmanship this past weekend in Macau, the question that was somewhat on hiatus for the past year – courtesy of Pacquiao’s knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez – was back on everyone’s lips.

Yes, as everyone knows, the quality and magnitude of the fight will be less than it would have been four years ago. In any rational sport, that’s when the two megastars of the generation would have gotten together in the ring. But can anyone with any integrity suggest it is still not, by far, the biggest event this often-criticized sport could produce?

Sure, there are boxing politics to overcome: The cold wars between Top Rank and Golden Boy and the competing interests of HBO and Showtime. But does everyone really believe that such a fight cannot be made if the public simply refuses to accept anything less?

The interesting part of the Mayweather-Pacquiao quandary is that, perhaps for the first time, the ability to make this fight is the sole responsibility of one person: Floyd “Money” Mayweather.

Any semblance of justification now seems utterly out the window for Mayweather to not fight Pacquiao. It seems impossible for Mayweather to continue any of his old arguments to avoid the fight. Let's review some of the thoughts that were consistent with Money May's prior rationale for not fighting Manny Pacquiao.

1. “Pacquiao’s not good enough to compete with me.”

This brush aside by Money May, always dubious to the rational observer, actually gained some credibility in the eyes of some after Pacquiao’s “losing” performance against Bradley was followed by his being put to sleep by Marquez.

However, since then, we have seen Marquez struggle in a fight with Bradley in a way Pacquiao never seemed to. And of course, most importantly, we have the evidence of Pacquiao’s flashy performance against Brandon Rios.

Unless Mayweather plans to move up to middleweight for a fight with Sergio Martinez or Bernard Hopkins, there is no fighter with more credibility out there than Pacquiao. Seriously, who else is he considering fighting?

Danny Garcia? Amir Khan? Devon Alexander? Miguel Cotto (again)? Does anyone really want to see those fights?

2. “Take the test!”

The original Mayweather excuse for not fighting Pacquiao was that Pacquiao would not agree to the drug testing protocol arbitrarily selected by Mayweather himself. The implication, if not the open suggestion, was that Pacquiao’s tremendous success as he moved up in weight was the product of performance enhancing drugs. Ultimately this led to a defamation law suit against Mayweather by Pacquiao.

This issue seems like old news now. Pacquiao’s lawsuit eventually settled out of court and Mayweather has subsequently denied ever alleging Pacquiao was taking drugs of any kind.

Even more pertinently, Pacquiao just underwent stringent random drug testing in the Brandon Rios fight and appears ready to do just about anything that Mayweather could demand.

3. “I’m the headliner!”

When the possibility of a Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight was at its peak four years ago, there was clearly a clash of egos.

While Pacquiao felt he was due for a 50-50 split of revenue with Mayweather, Floyd clearly had other ideas. Mayweather insisted he was the true star attraction, and that Pacquiao’s rapid rise in fame was the result of the media’s premature comparison of his skills to Mayweather’s. As a result, an even split was out of the question in his mind.

But this too seems like an old issue. Recall that Pacquiao had already agreed to take less money than Mayweather last year, even before his 2012 “loss” to Timothy Bradley and KO defeat to Juan Manuel Marquez. One can imagine Pacquiao even being more flexible today to ensure that the mega-fight will happen.

4. “I’m a practical man.”

Often Floyd Mayweather has openly boasted that he fights almost strictly for the money, and in the past he has defended his practice of seeking big paydays while taking minimum risk.

Thus, one could argue that Mayweather, acknowledging that Pacquiao, being the one fighter with the on-paper qualities to challenge him (southpaw, speedy, straight left-hand power), was not worth the risk. After all, he was getting paid huge money fighting Victor Ortiz and Robert Guerrero, right? Protect the “0” at all costs. Pacquiao could wait…

But of course, Pacquiao then had the Bradley and Marquez setbacks, perhaps damaging the potential “mega-fight” almost as much as a Mayweather loss itself. Mayweather is not so foolish as to have missed the obvious: those Pacquiao performances cost Mayweather money down the line. Another potential Pacquiao loss to someone else would shrink the pie that much more.

5. “I’m a business man.”

There is no question that both Mayweather and Pacquiao are reaching the twilight of their careers. They each fight, at most, twice a year. For how many more years will they both be viable as truly top dogs? Perhaps two…at best.

What Mayweather should be contemplating is not merely a Pacquiao fight, but multiple Pacquiao fights.

Despite a fairly dominant decision win by Mayweather over Miguel Cotto, there are calls in some corners for a rematch. One can imagine that even if Mayweather is equally dominant in defeating Manny, PacMan’s legion of fans would still push for a rematch. Two fights against Pacquiao will undoubtedly generate more than any four or five fights Mayweather might otherwise fight.

And if they somehow split those first two fights, the third fight would be more lucrative than the other two.

6. “I care about my boxing legacy.”

Finally, there is that part of Mayweather that does care about his place in boxing history. He has been more open about discussing this in recent fights. At least some of this is believable.

Currently, while most people feel that Mayweather-Pacquiao would be far and away the best fight in boxing right now, few neutral observers doubt that Mayweather would deservedly be the heavy favorite.

So what does it say about Mayweather if he doesn’t take this lucrative fight even now, when to most observers the actual risk of him losing to Pacquiao – if it ever existed – is so much less than it might have been a few years ago? One might fairly wonder whether the ultra-confident Mayweather secretly harbors seemingly irrational doubts when it comes to facing the PacMan.

Furthermore, great fighters always seem to participate in great boxing rivalries. Pacquiao himself had multiple fights with future Hall of Fame fighters Eric Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera, and Juan Manuel Marquez.

Amazingly, Floyd Mayweather is arguably the only historically great fighter without a rival. In fact, there is only one fighter he has fought twice in his entire career. (He fought Jose Castillo twice, following his initial controversial decision victory in the first fight with a more dominant decision win in the rematch.) His true rival throughout his career has been Pacquiao – and the two have never fought!

Fighting Pacquiao a couple of times, even at this late stage, would easily be more meaningful for Mayweather’s legacy than anything else he can do at this stage in his career. If he wins in dominating fashion, some people will feel like he has put the perfect bow on his career of supremacy. If the fights are competitive, he still goes down in boxing lore as part of something special.


Perhaps previously one could have argued that both Pacquiao and Mayweather could be held responsible for the big fight not taking place. (Yes, I remember Pacquiao’s embarrassing, “I’m afraid of needles!” excuse.) But as it currently stands, you would simply have to be blind to not see that Mayweather’s stubbornness and vindictiveness are the only remaining obstacles.

Floyd Mayweather is next scheduled to fight on May 3rd in Las Vegas. It is almost universally expected that the fight will be against a boxer who nobody believes can compete with him. For those who can no longer stomach the nonsensical situation, the following prescription is suggested.

(1) Loudly and consistently complain to any boxing promotional or media outlet about your disgust regarding the fight not being against Pacquiao and let them know you will not watch the fight;

(2) Do not pay to watch that fight; and

(3) After the fight, do not join the mainstream sports media hype by treating it as a meaningful event. Ignore it or at least significantly minimize its importance, unless you want to confirm to the authorities in boxing that you are as dumb as they think you are.

by Manish Pandya
Staff Editor for

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