As boxing fans clamor for the Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight to materialize, weighty issues are sure to crop up that will lead to the delay of the fight’s staging, or its going down the drain for good.
On Tuesday, Pacquiao said that a catchweight of 145 to 147 pounds, the welterweight limit, would be fine for him. (Read the banner story of this page)
But will Mayweather bite that? If one goes by the belts he is wearing now, Mayweather is actually a two-weight champion now, because he has The Ring, World Boxing Council, World Boxing Association junior middleweight (154-pound) champion, and The Ring, WBC and WBA welterweight champion.
On the other hand, Pacquiao is the World Boxing Organization welterweight champion.
Now the question is—will Mayweather insist to a higher catchweight which will put Pacquiao at a distinct disadvantage (being the smaller fighter).
It was at a catchweight of 151 pounds that Mayweather dominated the bull-strong Saul Alvarez on September 14, 2013.
Now, expect the catchweight to be a potential monkey wrench in the negotiations for Pacquiao-Mayweather, because that issue is more than just about a few pounds —it can actually be a major factor when the actual fight happens.
Remember that when Mayweather fought Juan Manuel Marquez on September 9, 2009, the American agreed to a catchweight of 146 pounds but was more willing to pay a fine of $600,000 for being two pounds over the limit at the weigh in. The result was a bigger Mayweather dominating a smaller and lighter Marquez on fight night.
And for the nth time, I would like to emphasize that the current weigh-in rules, where the fighters are weighed at least 36 hours before a fight, favors the bigger boxers. This is because a naturally larger person can put on more weight in that time span by rehydrating and eating.
Well, the problem is that Pacquiao rarely weighed in at 147 pounds in most of his welterweight fights. He seems to fight at his best at the 144- to 145-pound range, but is not known to add so much pounds before the actual fight. Also, since Pacquiao relies more on speed to clobber his opponents, it would be unwise that he put on more than 10 pounds at fight night.
As for Mayweather, his being a bit taller and having a longer reach than Pacquiao makes him comfortable at junior middleweight (super welterweight) at this point. His speed and power when he fought Alvarez was actually superb, and I wonder if he will allow Pacquiao to get the upperhand in the negotiations for the catchweight of the megabout.
I even doubt it if Mayweather will be willing to sign a deal where a one-pound violation of the catchweight clause of the megabout carries a hefty fine ranging from $5 million to $10 million. Maybe he will settle at the most for a $2-million fine per pound, but that won’t hurt his pocket that much especially if Mayweather is guaranteed a $100- to $110-million paycheck for the fight.
Expect even believe that he has the right to dictate a higher catchweight because he is The Ring, WBC and WBA junior welterweight champion.
Well, gone are the days when the best ring warriors were primarily concerned on deciding who is the best among them. Take for instance the case of Marvin Hagler and Thomas Hearns, whose April 15, 1985 fight produced what is perhaps the best round one among championship bouts in the modern era.
Hearns had to climb from welterweight to middleweight (160 pounds) to challenge Hagler, but it did not bother him that he had to add 13 pounds just to challenge Hagler. That actually put Hearns at a disadvantage because Hagler was a “natural” middleweight.
Even if Hearns was stopped in the third round, he still held his head up high because he took the risk to fight Hagler. And I must have watched Hagler-Hearns at Youtube over 50 times now, because it packed the thunder fight fans craved for.
I doubt it if Pacquiao-Mayweather can equal the thunder of Hagler-Hearns.