Mayweather-Pacquiao II? No thanks
By: Jordan Seward
Arguably, it was one of the biggest boxing fights ever, certainly the richest– but I wouldn’t want to see it again.
That first bell in the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, on the 2 May 2015 ended five years of waiting. It should have been a feeling of relief that I had witnessed ‘the fight of the century’, between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao, but instead I was left unsatisfied, aggravated, disappointed. And I wasn’t the only one as there were at least 32 U.S. lawsuits filed after the fight failed to live up to the hype.
It only confirmed it in my mind. The construction of the White House took 13 years, the Pyramids 22 years, in perspective this was five years in the making but ultimately the wait was too long. It was too long for the spectacle’s sake, but for the financial side – it was perfect. Just long enough to build anticipation and make the fight bigger, which in the end only heightened the blow when it flopped.
Although it will go down as Mayweather’s finest victory and was enough to prove he was the best and cement his boxing wizardry, it will always be remembered for the fight of the century that wouldn’t even have been considered for the fight of the month. It wasn’t because Pacquiao claimed he was fighting with a shoulder injury, it was something else.
There’s one thing that no boxer can withstand, deny or cheat, time waits for no man. Unfortunately, in this case, Pacquiao, 36 and Mayweather, 38, at the time might have been a bit overdue. Mayweather, who is well famed for his evasive and slick defensive skills certainly showed his age in his legs as he struggled to maintain that typical style throughout the fight – although he played it out successful enough to take a 12-round unanimous decision victory to claim the WBA, WBC, and WBO world welterweight titles.
The Philippine’s output wasn’t as vast as it once was either – he struggled throughout the fight to string together those accurate deadly combinations he’s known for and mostly found thin air. Some stats suggested Mayweather actually threw more punches on the night which even the most optimistic of punters probably wouldn’t have backed. There’s no denying Mayweather and Pacquiao were still very skilled boxers at that time but wouldn’t it have been amazing to see it five years earlier?
If it wasn’t for boxing politics; the first negotiations, the reported second negotiations, the denial of second negotiations, the continued disputes – it’s a bit of a miracle the fight even materialised in the first place. Especially, considering Pacquiao was a veteran headliner for HBO and Mayweather Jr was under contract with Showtime. It’s sad a fight that was so long in the making immediately made people wish it got made sooner because that’s a fight the world will never see.
But now slightly regressive thoughts have come to the forefront with whispers of a Mayweather-Pacquiao duology circulating. The rumours sparked after Floyd Mayweather was seen ringside last Saturday for the Philippine’s WBO world title fight with Jessie Vargas. A month shy of his 38th birthday the ‘PacMan’ made a winning return to the ring by outpointing the American in what was his first defence.
Pacquiao being a world champion again and Mayweather just one win shy of that elusive 50-0 record is what’s fuelling the fire. Bob Arum might as well have chopped up some beech wood and added it to the fire when he told ESPN.com “I give it 75%” when asked about a potential rematch between the pair. ‘The fight of the century’ was Mayweather’s penultimate fight before he outpointed Andre Berto and retired last September. If it’s going to happen it will be in 2017 and possibly by then Mayweather will be 40 years old and Pacquiao 38.
By this point Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather would have two opponents, Pacquiao and ring rust. Over a year of inactivity wouldn’t serve him any benefits. Both men are future hall of famers and it would be a sorry tale if they were to share a ring once more and do themselves an injustice which they most likely would giving their age. The first wasn’t great, two years on and with the potential of a second, it certainly doesn’t fill me with too much hope or excitement.
Rematches are rarely what I’d call a barn burner and history tells you that. Benn-Eubank II in 1993 at Old Trafford was a complete let down. We had to wait three years for the rematch after the first explosive contest saw Eubank knockout the ‘Dark Destroyer’. The second time around it ended in an unsatisfactory draw which quite frankly wasn’t worth the wait and still to this day inspires Benn to call for the trilogy.
Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier’s first rematch in their trilogy ambled over the finish line as Ali weaved his way to a staid decision. Roy Jones-Bernard Hopkins, Lennox Lewis-Oliver McCall, Evander Holyfield-John Ruiz, Mike Tyson-Frank Bruno and the list goes on and on. Not every rematch is destined to flop but if Mayweather-Pacquiao II becomes a reality it could be added to the list.
The only slightly redeeming quality about the fight is it would be a shot at redemption. Though, like the first, I would predict it to fall short of expectations. Instead, I just have this lingering, jabbing thought of what if? What if Mayweather and Pacquiao met each other in the ring five, six years before they actually did – that would’ve lived up to the ‘fight of the century’ dubbing I’m sure. But as for a second fight, I say no thanks.