In September, 36-year-old Floyd Mayweather Jr. retained his unbeaten record when he took his 45th victory in the ring against Saul Alvarez. This was the second instalment in his six-fight deal before retirement, meaning that four more contenders still have a chance at taking on Mayweather in the hope of wiping his ‘unbeaten’ title.
There is a long list of potential opponents who would love the dream shot at Mayweather. None of them however present such a formidable threat as 34-year-old boxer and Filipino politician Manny ‘Pac-Man’ Pacquiao.
His record thus far is hugely impressive: 54 wins, two draws and only five losses make him the ideal candidate to face Mayweather.
The two welterweight fighters have fought, and beaten, many of the same contenders including Ricky Hatton, Oscar De La Hoya, and Miguel Cotto. They even shared the title of ‘Pound-for-Pound Number One’ in the world in their weight division – but they are yet to meet in the ring.
So, why haven’t they fought? Well, they were due to do so in March 2010. However, Pacquiao rejected Mayweather’s demand of an Olympic style drug test in the run up to the event. Whilst this seems a contentious move for a sportsman to make, Pacquaio reasoned himself with the claim that taking his blood would weaken him before the fight, and his trainer backed this.
Fast forward to 2012 and the next round of negotiations for the so-called ‘fight of the century’ collapsed over a money row. Pacquiao was offered a flat fee of $40 million – a tidy sum indeed – but ‘Money’ Mayweather did not offer him any share of the pay-per-views revenue.
Considering that Mayweather’s latest fight against Alvarez generated $150million from this scheme alone, it is easy to see why Pacquiao deemed his cut unfair. Yet, ‘Pac-Man’ has since agreed to split the revenue that their fight would generate 55-45 in Mayweather’s favour.
What’s more, with the lack of a central organisation to organise fights in the boxing arena, with it instead being done by rival companies, the likelihood of this fight happening gets weaker.
Not only do different promotional companies manage the two boxers, but their respective managers and TV networks are in opposition. Mayweather’s former promoter, Bob Arum, who currently manages Pacquaio, has in the past branded Floyd’s new promoter and fellow boxer, De La Hoya, a ‘moron,’ asking ‘who the hell is he?’
In the ‘Golden Boy’ camp, De La Hoya has stated that for as long as Arum is involved with ‘Top Rank Promotions,’ De La Hoya will never deal with them. To complicate things further, Top Rank now fights exclusively on TV station HBO, whereas Golden Boy only fight on Showtime.
There are complications, yet a fight is strongly speculated about, anticipated, and somewhat demanded by boxing fans.
In football, the equivalent would be an intense penalty shootout between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Formula 1 fans, just envisage a race between Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso where they drive the same car. Tennis fanatics, think of a Grand Slam between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. Warwick students, picture Varsity. This is how significant a Mayweather and Pacquiao fight would be in the sport.
Pacquiao’s southpaw boxing stance would counter Mayweather’s orthodox style, making for an even more interesting clash. In the past, Mayweather has conquered southpaw boxers such as Victor Ortiz and Zab Judah, neither of whom have faced ‘Pac-Man.’ These other southpaw fighters do not have the power or speed of Mayweather’s prospective rival. For example, Pacquiao defeated Puerto Rican boxer Miguel Cotto after twelve rounds, who was able to knock down Judah in just eleven.
As for the outcome of such an event, we can only speculate. Recently, Mike Tyson told the press that even he was unsure of who would win. Through comparing the results of ‘Money’ and ‘Pac-Man,’ we may be able to get a clearer picture of who would be victorious if the two ever do fight it out.
It is true that Mayweather has won 100 per cent of his fights, while Pacquiao trails with a still-magnificent 89 per cent. However, the Filipino has been involved in sixteen more fights than the American. Manny’s record suggests he has every chance of winning.
When fighting De La Hoya, Pacquiao achieved a technical knockout. However, when Mayweather came up against him, De La Hoya did not quit, leaving Mayweather to win narrowly by the decision of the judges – not a knockout.
These results are also the same when considering their respective fights with Cotto. Similarly, Ricky Hatton was knocked out by Manny after just two rounds, whilst he faced a defeat from ‘Money’ after ten. All of this would suggest that the power packed into Pacquiao’s punch may be enough to take on Mayweather and win.
On the flip side, Pacquiao has had four tough fights against Mexican Marquez, including his last fight when he was the victim of a late knockout in the sixth round. In comparison, Mayweather outclassed Marquez when they met in the ring in 2009.
Therefore, the power and speed of Pacquiao coupled with the defensive genius of Mayweather could result in the biggest grossing fight in the history of boxing.
Boxing fans across the globe will now have to wait for Pacquiao’s upcoming fight on the 23rd of this month against Brandon Rios, which he is dedicating to the recent natural disaster in the Phillippines. The politician-boxer is in a must win situation after suffering two consecutive losses. If successful, it is more than likely that Mayweather will face criticism if he avoids a fight with Pacquiao. (Update below)
There has certainly been a build up. In the typical style of boxers who often ‘talk the talk,’ before only one of them in the ring actually ‘walks the walk,’ Mayweather has come out and said that comparing him to Pacquiao would be “like comparing a watermelon to a grape.” Manny has deflected this insult, saying instead that Mayweather is “kind of afraid of him.”
With Mayweather’s next fight planned for May, but no one yet confirmed to be his contender, boxing fans everywhere can only sit and hope that the name of one Manny Pacquiao is announced.
UPDATE (23 November 2013): Manny Pacquiao has won his match against Brandon Rios by unanimous decision. There will now be heavy pressure in the aftermath of the fight for Mayweather to acknowledge his victory and finally take him on.
Twitter: @chloewynne @BoarSport