Regardless of whether one is a Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather Jr. follower, boxing fans are unanimous in raising the clarion for the two fighters to finally step into the ring and swap leather.
After Pacquiao went through another 12-round waltz against a nondescript foe named Chris Algieri, not a few condemned the mismatch as another waste of time for the eight-division champion. To assuage the growing disappointment, Pacquiao immediately called out Mayweather and declared his availability for the long overdue megabuck.
Mayweather’s only noticeable reply has come by way of the social network, specifically Instagram, wherein he again mocked Pacquiao for the latter’s numbing knockout loss to Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012. This time around, though, Pacquiao did not let up and retaliated by daring Mayweather to fight him if the American really feels that the ‘Pacman’ is no longer up to par.
From where this writer sits, Pacquiao should not waiver in his verbal assaults on Mayweather. Promoter Bob Arum is dangling another hush puppy, World Boxing Association (WBA) junior welterweight (140 pounds) champion Jessie Vargas, as a back-up foe in the event negotiations for a Mayweather bout fail to get off the blue print stage. Arum, however, is thinking in the line of a promoter who only wants to exclusively milk his marquee fighter down to the last dollar. Vargas, 26-0 with 9 knockouts, is a decent stylist who does not belong in the same level as Pacquiao. The 25-year-old Vargas barely dodged defeat against the one-dimensional Antonio De Marco in the undercard of Pacquiao-Algieri. That a battered Vargas had the temerity to call out Pacquiao shows that he is only after the big payday that comes along with the fight.
The last thing Pacquiao wants is to fight Vargas and treat boxing fans to another fistic charade. Pacquiao is better off leaving these hush puppies to their respective cage and stepping up the pressure on Mayweather. With his career winding down, Pacquiao needs the Mayweather fight to galvanize his legacy. On the other side of the fence, Mayweather also needs the big match to fortify his own claim to greatness.
To his credit, Pacquiao’s repeated calls for Mayweather to man up have been seconded by just about every notable name in the business. Even noted business rivals are reportedly willing to shake hands just to make the fight happen.
Pacquiao-Mayweather was first put on hold by the rift between Top Rank Promotions, which represents Pacquiao, and Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, which back then, represented Mayweather. Golden Boy Promotions is no longer in the picture after Richard Schaefer left the company. Top Rank’s beef is now with Al Haymon, Mayweather’s manager.
There is also the problem with the cable companies that beam Mayweather and Pacquiao’s fights on pay-per-view. Pacquiao is affiliated with Home Box Office (HBO) while Mayweather is under contract with Showtime. But it has been proven in the past that HBO and Showtime can work together if there is really big fight worth putting up. This happened in June 2002 when the two cable giants joined forces to bring about the Mike Tyson-Lennox Lewis heavyweight matchup.
Word is that CBS Corporation, which owns Showtime, is already reaching out to Mayweather to convince him to take on Pacquiao. Mayweather has only two fights left in his megabuck deal with Showtime but lately, Showtime has not been realizing a profitable return as Mayweather’s pay-per-view numbers are no longer cracking the one million mark.
Top Rank, as of this writing, has yet to release the pay-per-view numbers of Pacquiao-Algieri. Reports are swirling that the figure may not be released at all or may be padded as the fight was a major disappointment in terms of pay-per-view subscriptions.
Foregoing considered, it’s a classic case of ‘no way out’ for Pacquiao and Mayweather. Boxing made Pacquiao and Mayweather rich and famous and now the sport’s followers are demanding payback. They want the two men to give back by tearing each other’s head off in the squared circle.
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