By Ivan G. Goldman
So what’s Floyd Mayweather waiting for? He still hasn’t signed a contract to fight Manny Pacquiao on May 2, and HBO, rather than waiting around to solve the Floyd puzzle, has already grabbed the date for a contest between Canelo Alvarez and James Kirkland.
Yet even in the teeth of all this stalling and despair, I’ve got hopeful news for those eternal optimists expecting to see a Super Fight at last between the two top welters, Mayweather and Pacquiao.
There are some who contend that Mayweather fears Pacquiao’s explosive southpaw speed and will never face him under any circumstances. As for myself, I was leaning toward the theory that Mayweather would decide sometime after October 2018 when they launch the James Webb Space Telescope. More on that later.
But then I spoke with an insider who’s always steered me correctly. “Floyd’s hired a southpaw sparring partner,” he said. “They’re starting right away. It really might mean something.”
It’s possible Floyd wanted a southpaw refresher course with no particular aim in mind, but it could also be a sign he sees Pacquiao on the road ahead.
Mayweather holds world titles in both the welter and super welter divisions. Go down the list of upper-echelon southpaws in both weight classes and you come up with only four:
* Devon Alexander, 26-3 (14 KOs), who was overwhelmed by Amir Khan in his last outing and whose career has definitely hit a rough patch.
* Erislandy Lara, 20-2-2 (12 (KOs), a Cuban who fights out of Houston and holds a bogus, lesser WBA title. Mayweather holds the real one.
* Demetrius Andrade, 21-0 (14 KOs), a tall super welter from Providence, Rhode, Island.
* Philippines Congressman Pacquiao, 57-5-2 (38 KOs), who looked sharp in his last three outings, against Chris Algieri, Timothy Bradley, and Brandon Rios and who much of the world wants to see in the ring against pound-for-pound king Mayweather.
Floyd appears locked into the PPV format, and it would be awfully difficult to sell Alexander or Lara as PPV opponents. Andrade’s career lost traction when he pulled out of a December 13 contest with Jermell Charlo on Showtime because he decided the purse was inadequate. But if Mayweather accepted him as an opponent, all would be forgiven.
With HBO scheduling Canelo vs Kirkland for May 2, the rumored joint HBO-Showtime pay-per-view telecast of Pacquiao-Mayweather on that date appears dead.
What’s more, Golden Boy, which is promoting Canelo-Kirkland, has been taking over promotional details for Mayweather fights for years. It’s not likely to put on two big cards the same night, which means it also sees little hope for a Mayweather-Pacquiao Super Fight May 2, which is the Saturday closest to the Mexican holiday of Cinco de Mayo. But there are other possible dates.
Canelo-Kirkland isn’t the greatest super welterweight contest you could put together. Kirkland, 32-1 (28 KOs), stopped his last five opponents, but only if you count the ridiculous 10th round disqualification of Carlos Molina, who was kicking his butt. Ostensibly Molina’s cornermen were inside the ring when they weren’t supposed to be there. Kirkland hasn’t even competed since December 2013.
Meanwhile Pacquiao declares he’s said yes to everything, signed everything for May 2 and that if he doesn’t get Floyd’s signature by the end of this month, now less than a week away, he moves on. Again.
Floyd sings the same old song — that Pacquiao’s not good enough to fight or doesn’t sell enough pay-per-views or he already had his chance years ago and didn’t take it and besides, his promoter Bob Arum is impossible to deal with.
Floyd, who once chose the ring moniker of “Money,” would lose something like 25 or 30 million dollars by substituting anyone else for Pacquiao. It may not be the best fight out there, but it’s the one that the general public craves, that would get a tsunami of free publicity in all the big-distribution media and sell like crazy on fight night. It would be the Super Bowl of boxing, the biggest-money fight in history, by far.
Now about that space telescope launch in 2018. It will give us the most magnificent view of the stars ever, thereby affording Mayweather a more precise astrological chart and revealing the most propitious time for him to get into the ring with Pacquiao. Because after all, you can’t be too careful.
Floyd, who turns 38 in less than a month, would be a mere 41 at launch time, giving him plenty of time to decide, unless gosh, the clock runs out first.
Some of you may protest that wait a minute, you’ve never heard that Mayweather believes in astrology. Frankly, neither have I. But I bet he’d be willing to try if it provided him with a fresh excuse not to face Manny Pacquiao.
As for the southpaw sparring partner, I’ll believe Floyd will fight Manny when I see them in the ring together and the bell sounds to begin round one.
New York Times best-selling author Ivan G. Goldman’s Sick Justice: Inside the American Gulag was released in 2013 by Potomac Books. Watch for The Debtor Class: A Novel from Permanent Press in spring, 2015. More information here.