By: Sergio L. Martinez
Why is everyone outside of devout Pac fans still so hung-up on this fight?
I get that, prior to Pac-Man’s pancaking courtesy of a perfectly landed Marquez right-hand counter shot, Pacquiao-Mayweather was the best fight out there, but how can this fight still hold that much appeal?
The fact is simple: the fight is probably never going to happen so forget this “mythical matchup” and let’s move on.
I know that over two years ago, “Pac-Man” was mowing down fighters with vicious shots and seemed unbeatable but can anyone honestly say that the current version of Manny Pacquiao would really have a shot, outside of the proverbial “puncher’s chance,” against the current version of the man who refers to himself as “Money”? This is not to say that Pacquiao is not one of the greatest fighters of all-time, but things must be kept in perspective.
Personally, I’m not a fan of the “Money” persona but from a professional standpoint, Mayweather Jr. can probably outmaneuver most fighters south of 160-pounds; with very few exceptions. He has a solid chin, is a masterful tactician and, more importantly: he simply knows how to win. The man will stand in there and fight just enough to keep fans interested but will quickly dance away at the first sign of any potential threat that may arise. Sure, “Pac-Man”, because of his quick hands and great footwork, may land something big but I seriously doubt that “Money” will stand still long enough to allow that to happen.
Besides, what is it about Manny Pacquiao’s last fight that has people insisting he is a viable candidate to defeat Mayweather?
Pac-Man’s recent systematic domination of Mexican-American banger, Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios was a great confidence-boosting fight but there is a reason that Rios was chosen. The fact is that for as exciting as Rios is to watch, everyone knows that he is an extremely limited fighter. I mean, Rios was out-boxed by Mike Alvarado! No disrespect meant towards Alvarado, but the Denver native is not a world-class boxer by any means, yet he was able to step around “Bam Bam” and also took him apart in their second fight.
It was predictable that Pacquiao’s speed, footwork and combination punching would make it an easy night for the Filipino icon, yet somehow this fight is serving as “You see! He’s back!” type of a performance. Freddy Roach said as much himself in the lead up to the contest, implying that Rios was chosen because he posed little-to-no threat to his fighter. The only thing Rios had was a “puncher’s chance” and we all saw how that worked out.
As for Mayweather, many point to the Miguel Cotto fight as the one that showed him vulnerable and ready for the taking. Although I completely agree that “Money’s” legs did not appear in pristine form that night, the fact is that in his last two fights, Mayweather showed that he still has a great deal of maneuverability left in his 36, soon-to-be 37 year old legs. Although I do not believe that Robert Guerrero and Saul Alvarez were as naturally gifted as Pacquiao was in his prime, the issue remains that Pacquiao is no longer in his prime, either.
In the end, all the analysis, taunting and public outcry will do little to draw Floyd Mayweather Jr. into a fight with Manny Pacquiao. Maybe there is some truth to the assertion that he fears “Pac-Man” but the unbiased truth is that, we will really never know why Mayweather has chosen to pass on this fight so many times. All the boxing world has to judge him on is those fighters that Mayweather chooses to fight. This may be unfortunate but it is also the reality.
The funny thing is that I also would have liked to have seen this fight materialize at some point, so I should heed my own words and move on. Such is life and life is boxing.
Follow Sergio L. Martinez @SrgMrtnz