The attempt to bring into fruition the mega fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. is turning out to be a striptease that is taking so long to end. Worse, by the time the striptease does end, the fight may no longer be palatable.
A Pacquiao-Mayweather showdown was supposed to be a done deal as early as 2010, when both fighters were undeniably at the peak of their careers. The fight fell apart when Mayweather demanded stringent drug measures. After Pacquiao agreed to the drug tests, Mayweather came up with another dilatory move by asking for a lion’s share of the fight’s projected gargantuan earnings.
The fight seemingly vanished into thin air in December 2012, when Pacquiao’s winning streak came to an end by way of a brutal sixth round knockout defeat to Mexican nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez. Following the huge debacle, not a few thought you could already stick a fork on Pacquiao’s boxing career as it appears to be done.
But for some reason, the stars re-aligned themselves to bring the fight within the realm of reality again. Early last year, Mayweather inked a million-dollar contract with Showtime. The contract calls for Mayweather to fight up to six times over the next 30 months, exclusively on Showtime Pay-Per-View. Mayweather (45-0, 26 knockouts) has thus far figured in two fights, carving out victories over American Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero in May and Mexican Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in September. However, while both fights (particularly the Alvarez bout) posted great pay-per-view numbers, they were downright boring. Mayweather now finds himself under pressure to take on a more competitive adversary.
Apparently on cue, Pacquiao resurrected his career with a one-sided drubbing of American Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios in November. Pacquiao pitched a shutout on the scorecards and reduced Rios into a punching bag, stopping short only of knocking out the cocky American. While the 34-year-old Pacquiao did not display the aggressiveness and Herculean punch that made him a star, boxing experts were convinced that what the “Pacman” has left may still be enough to make a fight with Mayweather very competitive. The World Boxing Council (WBC) made things more interesting when it recently made Pacquiao the No.1 contender for the welterweight title currently held by Mayweather.
As can be deduced, public pressure is mounting on Mayweather to finally take on Pacquiao. But leave it to Mayweather to again come up with excuses. Mayweather’s latest alibi is that he will never fight Pacquiao for as long as the latter’s is under Bob Arum’s Top Rank Promotions. Mayweather fought for Top Rank back in the late 1990s, but the relationship soured after Mayweather claimed that Arum was paying him like a slave.
As things stand, Mayweather is mulling on facing Briton Amir Khan (28-3, 19 knockouts) in May. Mayweather has been ribbing Pacquiao for being a knockout loser and for not being at par with him. Well, the choice of Khan is even worse as the Queen of England offers a more sturdy jaw than the British pugilist. In his last high-profile fight, Khan kissed the canvas three times in a four-round knockout loss to American Danny Garcia in July 2012. In his last outing against Julio Diaz in April 2013, Khan locked lips with the canvas again before settling for a points win.
Pacquiao’s relationship with Arum is under scrutiny at the moment amid the Filipino fighter’s tax woes. While many are encouraging Pacquiao to bolt out of Top Rank to make the Mayweather fight, it will not be that easy. One can already see Harvard-trained lawyer Arum contesting the matter in court and seeking an injunction that will prevent Pacquiao from fighting in the ring.
The clock is ticking for the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight to finally happen. It is really a shame that instead of the squared circle, the fighters have decided to take their fight to, of all places, Twitter.
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