By Sean Crose
It’s time to face facts: Saturday’s Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley rematch is a far more compelling bout than the lopsided pairing of Floyd Mayweather and Marcos Maidana on May 3’d. For one thing, Pacquiao-Bradley features two top fighters going toe to toe. Mayweather-Madiana merely features a top fighter facing a very good fighter.
What’s more, no one’s really certain how Saturday will turn out. Sure, most experts, fans and analysts have taken their picks, but the outcome of Pacquiao-Bradley truly is in question. No one, on the other hand, believes Maidana will beat Maweather. If Maidana pulls it off, it will be nothing less than the upset of this still-new century. That may sound thrilling, but the slim possibility of a huge upset isn’t the best carrot to dangle in front of fan’s faces.
More importantly, however, is the fact that Pacquio-Bradley will answer the question of who really is a better welterweight. The fight will be about settling old scores and clarifying the pecking order. Mayweather-Maidana, on the other hand, will be all about Floyd. Nothing more. Nothing less. People who cough up the green for Mayweather-Maidana are going to pay a small fortune to see what would have been considered slightly more than a tune up bout years ago.
Last, but certainly not least, is the matter of relevance. Pacquiao-Bradley will be a relevant fight. Mayweather-Maidana most certainly will not be. Even though Floyd’s bout will probably get more pay per view sales than Manny and Tim’s, the Mayweather-Maidana matchup, barring a stunning upset, will be almost insignificant when viewed through a wider prism.
Why? Because Floyd isn’t challenging himself anymore and when you don’t challenge yourself you take yourself out of the game. There’s a difference between relevance and popularity. When you state, on camera, that boxing is about risking little while bringing in as much money as possible, you’re deciding to be an attraction, rather than a true competitor.
Say what you will about Manny and Tim, these guys are true competitors. Saturday’s match can be viewed as a make or break moment for both men. If Pacquiao loses fair and square, his time as a top attraction in the sport is over. If Bradley loses fair and square, his days as a main attraction will be over, as well.
In short, both Pacquiao and Bradley are putting it all on the line this Saturday. When’s the last time Floyd truly put it all on the line? When he fought Shane Mosely? When he fought Ricky Hatton? When he fought Oscar De La Hoya? It certainly seems to have been a while. And, at the rate he’s going, Floyd will never truly put it all on the line again.
That’s a shame, but it is what it is. I don’t have the ability to see the future, but it’s starting to seem more and more clear that an invisible asterisk will appear next to Mayweather’s name in the history books. For it will be said he ended up taking the easy road as his career wound down. It’s doubtful anyone will be able to say the same thing about Pacquiao. Or Bradley, for that matter.
And that’s the main reason why the Pacquiao-Bradley rematch is a far more important fight than Mayweather’s upcoming battle with Maidana. Manny and Tim want to prove who’s the best fighter. Floyd just wants to say he’s the best fighter without having to prove it. The irony, of course, is that Floyd may indeed be the number one boxer in the entire world.
Unfortunately, however, he seems determined to never let the world know for sure. That’s too bad for him. And it’s too bad for the fans, as well. Oh well, at least we have Manny and Tim.