By Sean Crose
Let’s face it, Manny Pacquiao gets all the love.
Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank
Don’t believe it? Ask yourself what people would be saying if it were Floyd Mayweather who battled Chris Algieri on Saturday night instead of PacMan.
People would be outraged. Offended. Embarrassed for the sport. The cries of “cherry picker” would never subside. Yet it wasn’t Floyd who faced and made easy work of Algeiri on Saturday. It was Manny.
Therefore, instead of gathering torches and pitchforks, everyone will simply ask if “the old Manny was back.” Seriously, how could anyone tell? The Algieri fight was so one sided it’s hard to even compare it to a sparring session.
Let’s move beyond the Mayhem in Macau, though, and focus on why Pacquiao gets so much great treatment from fans and media members alike while Floyd gets…you know, what Floyd gets.
First off, Manny is nice. Really nice. Sure, he has his flaws, but he’s admitted to them and claims he’s trying to be a better person. Never nasty, always humble, the dude is nearly impossible not to like.
Floyd, on the other hand, can be about as cuddly as a cactus. He may be a contemporary African American, but Mayweather has something in common with an Irish American from the late 1800s.
For, just like Floyd today, John L Sullivan was considered to be the best fighter in the world back in the bare knuckle era. And, just like Floyd, Sullivan earned and spent a boatload of money.
He also bragged and felt free to act like a jerk. He was the best, after all, so who could stop him? In short, Sullivan didn’t see the point of coming across like a warm, friendly guy. So he didn’t.
Now, almost a century after his death, Sullivan is as well known for his ‘tude as he is for his fighting skill. He probably wouldn’t have it any other way. Floyd probably wouldn’t, either.
Unlike Sullivan, though, Mayweather actually has a serious criminal record to go with the way he carries himself. Seeing that his most heinous crimes involve abusing women, history is apt to look at Floyd through even more of a squint than it does Sullivan.
As if that weren’t enough, Floyd enjoys spending his free time nowadays tossing money around at strip clubs. It’s hard to imagine Gloria Steinem approving of his lifestyle.
Manny, on the other hand, has never – to my knowledge – been accused of misogyny. Sure, he has his tax problems, but that’s not the same as terrorizing people. Again, Pacquiao always, always, comes across as being nice.
That’s not the main reason why he gets the love, though. I’ve talked to lots of fighters, after all, and most of them are nice guys, too (there are, of course, exceptions). Yet none of them are smiled upon the way Manny is.
For none of them have the reputation of being avoided by the great Floyd Mayweather.
Like it or not, Manny is loved because he seems ready, willing and able to fight his one and only peer. The same can’t be said of Mayweather. That’s not to say Floyd is afraid. It’s not even to say Floyd doesn’t want a Pacquiao fight to happen.
It’s just that Floyd hasn’t given the impression over the years that he’s dying to meet Manny in the ring. That’s why he’s short on the love while Pacquiao gets more love than he possibly knows what to do with.
Word is now out that Floyd may indeed be wanting to get in the ring with Manny to settle matters for good and all. That’s good news for the fans, good news for the sport and good news for Mayweather.
Who knows? If a match with Pacquiao comes to fruition, Floyd may end up feeling a bit of the love himself.