By Ivan G. Goldman
Nothing can deter Floyd Mayweather fanatics from their mission to explain away the inescapable truth that their hero is the only pro in the world anywhere close to welterweight who would turn down a $50 million purse to fight Manny Pacquiao. We’re talking spooky stuff here. I mean when these people drink the Kool-Aid, they drain the whole pitcher. It’s like trying to reason with Moonies or Cub fans.
Photo: Hogan Photos/Golden Boy
Even straweights would fight Pacquiao for that kind of money. All of them.
Lately our BoxingInsider.com site, proving that we don’t discriminate against the logically-challenged, has provided us with the views of Kirk Jackson, who in his article titled “The Real Reason Manny Pacquiao Wants to Fight Floyd Mayweather,” accuses Pacquiao of fighting “for money, not for the fans, not for legacy.” And that, Mr. Jackson confides, is why the Philippines congressman wants the Mayweather fight. Oh my gosh. Isn’t that awful? (But in the same breath Jackson says he doesn’t really fault Pac-Man’s thirst for cash)
Meanwhile, Floyd pretty much announced why he’s in the game when he changed his ring moniker from “Pretty Boy” to “Money.” Ironically though, when he weighs legacy against cash, Mayweather goes for legacy. That’s why he turns down such big, big, record-breaking purse money to fight Pacquiao, why so far he won’t take the one fight that could cement his place in history, won’t accept the most sought-after match-up that can be made in all the world. And it’s a fight with the relative shelf life of celery. Mayweather is 35, Pacquiao 33.
Over the years Mayweather, a very knowledgeable fight guy, has learned quite a few things about fashioning a legacy. For example, he doesn’t even fight once a year anymore. He’s competed only four times since calendar year 2007. This cuts down on the wear and tear and preserves his health. It’s impossible to begrudge him either. He earns fewer purses, but because he’s in demand, the purses are fatter. A smart business choice. But it also makes it mathematically and physically less likely that he will notch a loss on his record.
To his credit, or discredit, depending on your viewpoint, Floyd has another excuse for being so inactive. It’s his unfortunate predilection for slapping around women, which costs him both time and money, including a recent 60-day incarceration. I know it disturbs some people to mention this, but the fact is, what put him away wasn’t jaywalking.
But back to Kirk Jackson, who concludes “Manny needs Floyd. Floyd can fight Canelo Alvarez, rematch Miguel Cotto, fight Sergio Martinez or even fight Bradley and still make a ton of money. Pacquiao doesn’t have the same options.” This is a perfect example of the “truthiness” concept that political comic Stephen Colbert has made so famous. It sounds sort of true, and in some ways it is, but in its totality, this grand statement is an evasion around the truth.
Yes, Mayweather can make what to most of us would appear to be a lot of loot fighting any one of those guys. But no two of those contests would pay Floyd as much as one bout with Pacquiao. That’s something Floyd figured out long ago. In fact, much of his career over the last few years is all about how to make money without fighting Pacquiao.
Sure, Pacquiao wants Mayweather for the money. But he also wants to beat him, and to see what would happen. That’s the way great fighters think. They want the best fights because they’re also fans.
World-famous Pac-man is battle-worn and slipping, but he’s still a money magnet. His Dec. 8 fight with Juan Manuel Marquez in Las Vegas practically sold out the first weekend tickets were available to the public. The PEDs excuse is gone, the money excuse is gone (Pacquiao will settle for 45%), and even Pacquiao’s defamation suit has been settled. So?
Much of Shakespeare’s great tragedy Hamlet follows the Danish prince as he walks around the castle knowing what he ought to do — which is to take action against his father’s murderers — but not doing it. Finally he does it and it costs him his life. Substitute the word legacy for the word life and you see why Floyd hesitates to do the thing he knows he ought to do. Maybe he’s seen Hamlet.
Ivan G. Goldman’s critically acclaimed novel The Barfighter is set in the world of boxing. Information HERE
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