By Sean Crose
You’re sick of it. I feel your pain.
You’ve been told so often, so many times, that the long awaited Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather fight is in the works, only to have all that hope evaporate into the ether.
You’re sick of being left at the altar, of being jilted and jaded, of telling your friends who aren’t fight fans that big things are coming only to be proven wrong yet again.
Enough, you say. Enough of talking about it. Enough of reading about it. Enough of watching and listening to other people discuss it. Just enough.
Like I said, I feel your pain.
I myself have had my belly full of such stupidity.
But then I read words such as these, words which came straight from the mouth of Manny Pacquiao himself, via the Manila Bulletin:
“Negotiation is now underway to finalize the fight between me and Mayweather hopefully to happen in May next year.”
Mayweather has a reputation for being a BS artist. Manny doesn’t. When he utters words like this, he has to be taken seriously.
Could it be then that this fight is actually close to happening? The Bulletin is reporting that Manny would get 80 million dollars for the fight, while Floyd would get 100 million, which certainly gives the impression that serious negotiations are under way.
Still, the Bulletin also reports that Michael Koncz, the man who whispers in Pacquiao’s ear, isn’t convinced. “Until I hear something from Floyd,” he’s quoted as saying, “I don’t hold high hopes.”
Yet it’s not entirely irresponsible to believe there may (“may” being the operative word here) be something to all this. For the Daily Mail’s Jeff Powell reports that Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach has also weighed in on the matter.
“My understanding is that Floyd is insisting on the re-match if Manny beats him,” Powell quotes Roach as saying, “which I believe he will. That’s okay with us.”
While it’s true Roach is known to say all sorts of things, arguably with Machiavellian intent at times, he’s undoubtedly close to Pacquiao and most certainly has his finger on the pulse. Besides, it makes sense that both fighters would want a rematch clause.
For, make no mistake about it, this potential bout – no matter how required by the rules of sportsmanship it may be – offers a big risk for each man. Yeah, they’ll make Titanic-sized paydays, but both men have already made enough to fill a fleet of Titanics.
There’s more at work here, and that’s legacy. The loser of the Pacquiao-Mayweather matchup (or matchups) would be forever relegated to playing the role of Joe Frazier. As justifiably honored as Frazier is, he’s always going to be, fairly or not, remembered as the guy who came in second to Muhammad Ali after the dust from their three epic battles had settled.
That sort of thing would be a tough pill for any fighter to swallow. Manny and Floyd have been on top of boxing’s heap for so long, however, that a regelation to second best could possibly be devastating.
This is particularly true in the case of Mayweather, who’s put so much on his undefeated record and perceived pound-for-pound crown. While there’s little doubt he’ll look bad if he doesn’t step into the ring with Pacquiao at some point soon, he’ll deserve credit if he does.
No one, after all, will be able to accuse him of riding off into the sunset with his millions. He’ll have faced the best there was when he arguably didn’t have to. That will be to his credit. And to Pacquiao’s, too.
It’s clear, though, that Pacquiao wants this fight to happen. That’s why he’s now taken to publicly calling the man known as Money out. Will Mayweather take the bait? Fans certainly hope so. The same can be said for the media. And, I might add, for business honcho Les Moonves.
In case you don’t know, Moonves is the head of CBS. And CBS runs Showtime, which has an enormous contract with Floyd for his next two fights. It’s hard to tell what’s going on behind the scenes. It’s also impossible to make responsible statements regarding where things stand.
It certainly appears, though, that it’s now Mayweather’s move.
Here’s hoping the reports are true and that he’s making the right one.