You can forgive some media practitioners for treating as the gospel truth the recent announcement of American Floyd Mayweather Jr. that he was ready and willing to meet Filipino Manny Pacquiao in the ring on May 2, 2015. Having been chasing Mayweather for that kind of pronouncement for the last five years, not a few pencil-pushers actually thought that Mayweather has finally come into grip with the reality that there is no dodging the inevitable showdown with the “Pacman.”
“We are ready. Let’s make it happen. May 2. Mayweather versus Manny Pacquiao. Let’s do it,” Mayweather was quoted as saying in the interview held in San Antonio, Texas, where his promotional company was putting on a boxing show.
Mayweather sounded dead serious, that is, until the experts dissected his statement and realized that it was loaded with loopholes. For one, the announcement was not substantiated by a written, fully accomplished fight contract. Mayweather actually made the utterances while trying to promote a boxing card. The boxing card needed some media mileage and the easiest way to get it was for Mayweather to talk about Pacquiao.
Mayweather further averred that a fight with Pacquiao will only take place under Showtime, which he hailed as the No.1 cable company in the United States. Pacquiao, of course, is associated with HBO and the big fight can only happen if HBO joins forces with Showtime. Under no circumstance will the big fight be beamed solely by Showtime as Mayweather insists.
Mayweather’s choice of May 2 as the fight date was also looked upon as ill-advised from a marketing standpoint. The date falls on the weekend before Cinco de Mayo (Fifth of May) which is celebrated in the United States and Mexico. It was on May 5, 1892 when brave Mexican soldiers surprisingly repulsed French forces and the world of professional boxing has made it a point to celebrate the historic event with a big fight involving Latino boxers. Before Mayweather made his announcement, Mexican Saul “Canelo” Alvarez announced that he was fighting Puerto Rican hero Miguel Angelo Cotto on May 2 for the World Boxing Council (WBC) middleweight (160 pounds) championship. Alvarez reiterated this week that he is bent on fighting Cotto on May 2 despite Mayweather’s pronouncement. One can argue that Alvarez-Cotto can conveniently be made part of the Mayweather-Pacquiao card. This is a huge marketing folly because Alvarez-Cotto can stand on its own as a main event and rake in huge bucks. Moreover, a huge fight between two Latino stars being made a mere supporting event goes against the Cinco de Mayo tradition in pro boxing.
True to form, Mayweather started humming the same old lines after the interview in San Antonio. He talked about how Pacquiao is desperate to land the fight because of the latter’s financial woes and how way superior his skills are over the Filipino pugilist. He also kept harping on how he deserves a huge slice of the profits. These are the very same excuses Mayweather has been using in the last five years to avoid a showdown with Pacquiao.
Make no mistake, Mayweather will be the favorite if the fight pushes through, which makes it all the more perplexing why he continues to have second thoughts on fighting Pacquiao. For his part, Pacquiao has accelerated his verbal jabs at Mayweather in the hope of convincing the American to step up to the plate. Pacquiao recently dared the American to just shut up and sign on the dotted line. In a recent post on Twitter, Pacquiao challenged Mayweather to make the fight happen because the fans have waited long enough.
Pacquiao’s quest for the big fight with Mayweather has thus far gained the overwhelming support of the boxing community. As things stand, Mayweather is trapped in a corner and is getting pummeled by critics who have come to picture him as a chicken-livered champion.
The clock is ticking as boxing fans await a more convincing announcement from Mayweather. The guess is that it will become because as Pacquiao puts it, Mayweather “has nowhere to run.”
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