By Sean Crose
It amazes me how positively glib and self-assured some people are. Floyd Mayweather shows up on television Friday night to call out Manny Pacquiao, and some highly esteemed fight writers instantly respond by rolling their eyes in a very public manner.
Seriously? Have we become that jaded?
While it’s true there’s no need to strike up the band over Floyd’s surprising words on Friday, it’s also true that those words shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand. It’s a bit disheartening for me to see fellow writers – GOOD writers – show so little interest in delving beneath the surface here.
While it’s true Floyd has dangled the figurative carrot in front of fans’ and analysts’ eyes before, he’s never spoken as forcefully about a bout with Pacquiao – at least not in ages. Sure, some of what Mayweather said on Showtime can be dismissed (Manny agreed long ago to drug testing, Floyd). Yet, when a fighter goes so far as to pick an actual date for a fight to happen, it’s worth giving that fighter some consideration.
Something I tell my students is that truth can be found in details. If Floyd were to have said “Sure, why not?” to a potential Manny fight on Friday, it could have been brushed off as more of the same. He didn’t do that, however. Instead, he provided a month, a day, a year and a media outlet (Showtime, of course).
Could Floyd have been leading us all on?
You bet he could have been.
The truth, however, is that we just don’t know. And until Floyd’s words prove to have been empty (IF they prove to have been empty), we have to take him at his word. Oh, we can be suspicious. There’s nothing wrong with that. But we should allow the guy the chance to prove he means what he says.
Of course none of this indicates that we have to believe Floyd when he claims that Bob Arum is the villain in all this. That’s just he said-she said stuff. What we should believe – albeit hesitantly – is that he wants to make the biggest fight in forever happen.
Not that the fight will actually occur.
Who knows how this will all play out? Pay cuts may not be agreed to. Promoters, advisers and networks may muddle things. Practically anything is possible. When all is said and done, team Mayweather’s idea of a fair deal may ultimately differ than team Pacquiao’s. And if that happens to be the case, it will be time to get angry.
For now, though, it’s best to be cautiously optimistic. Yeah, I hate the words “cautiously optimistic,” too. They convey the image of walking on wet cement rather than on a solid sidewalk. Still, I see them as being the best words to apply right now.
It all comes down to this:
Will fight historians write of Mayweather’s spiel last night or will it all be forgotten in the weeks and months ahead?
As I like to say, time will tell the tale with this one. One thing is for certain – fight fans will be buzzing straight through to the New Year about this.
And so will Canelo Alvarez. Floyd may have beaten him handily in the ring, but now Canelo seems to want to challenge Mayweather on the pay per view side of things. Perhaps Floyd would rather risk losing to Pacquiao than risk losing a fight weekend to Canelo. Me? If I had to choose, I’d watch Manny and Floyd over watching Canelo and Miguel Cotto.
Truth be told, though, I’d rather watch both. And I think many would share that sentiment.
Let’s hope that in 2015 we can all have our cake and eat it, too.