By Kirk Jackson
Fight time will arrive soon for Manny Pacquiao, November 23rd at the Cotai Arena, Venetian Resort, Macao, Macao S.A.R., China to be exact.
No his opponent will not be fellow great Floyd Mayweather 45-0 (26 KO’s), rather his adversary is a desperately ravenous fighter, in a quest for glory and fighting for a top position in the realm of boxing, Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios 31-1-1 (23 KO’s).
Rios is reason No. 1 as to why we may not see the arrangement of Mayweather and Pacquiao in the boxing ring.
Not only can Rios deter plans for a potential bout between Mayweather and Pacquiao, but he can hand Pacquiao a third consecutive defeat and send the Filipino hero into retirement.
Although stylistically on paper, this looks like a match-up that should work in Pacquiao’s favor because Rios comes forward with somewhat of a reckless abandon or disregard of defense, which creates exciting fights, but leaves Rios vulnerable to Pacquiao’s powerful punches.
But in regards to the Pacquiao-Mayweather match-up, while speaking to an Australian radio show, Arum said that there’s a chance that Mayweather-Pacquiao can happen in the second half of 2014, provided Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 KO) looks good and beats Brandon Rios on November 23, when they meet in Macao on HBO pay-per-view.
“On our side the answer is yes, we’re very open to it,” said Bob Arum. “There are ways it can get done, they have to dumb down the rhetoric, we are prepared to dumb down the rhetoric and get it done.”
“There is no real impediment to having that fight happen whether it will or not depends completely on the Mayweather side,” Arum said.
“I can see it happening, but I can’t predict that it will happen. Again, it takes two to tango.”
This seems just like a ploy from Arum to gain more attention for Pacquiao’s upcoming fight against Rios. It’s a brilliant marketing strategy, something Arum has done in previous Pacquiao fights. But realistically, the likelihood of Mayweather-Pacquiao happening is slim to none and the ship may have sailed.
If we compare the two fighter’s resumes since 2012, they’re going in opposite directions.
Mayweather beat Miguel Cotto for his WBA junior middleweight championship in May of 2012, served a short bid in jail, came back in 2013 and beat four-division champion Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero and then defeated one of boxing’s biggest stars and torch bearers for the future Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, in what was one of the biggest boxing events in recent memory.
In that same time period, Pacquiao lost a controversial split decision to Timothy Bradley in June of 2012 and then got knocked out cold by his arch-rival Juan Manuel Marquez towards the end of the year.
Pacquiao’s head trainer Freddie Roach has expressed his desire to see his fighter face Marquez for a fifth time, in efforts to score a knock-out and bring a story book conclusion to their epic series.
Roach is on the right track, some loose ends need to be tied. If Pacquiao were to ever fight Mayweather in that dream match every boxing fan has been clamoring for since 2009, Pacquiao would have to decisively defeat Marquez, which is a feat that has not been accomplished in four fights thus far.
A rematch with Bradley and a victory over Bradley would also be in order as well. As a legendary champion looking to challenge another legendary champion in Floyd Mayweather, how would you not attempt to avenge your two biggest defeats?
Pacquiao can recover and regain his status as one of the world’s best fighters. But this road to redemption will be a tall task.
So let’s say theoretically Pacquiao beats Rios, then manages to defeat Bradley and or Marquez sometime next year. That would propel Pacquiao to the top and would get the boxing world buzzing again for a match between him and Money May.
But, there is still the negotiations issues of random Olympic style drug testing, purse-split, the whole promotional wars between Golden Boy, Mayweather and Top Rank Promotions, as well as the battle between networks HBO and Showtime.
In all reality, we will never see Mayweather vs. Pacquiao. This is just Arum baiting the casual boxing fan once again to pay attention to his fighter and to his event.
With all of the dysfunction within the welterweight division with there being two separate welterweight brackets divided by networks and promotional companies, we won’t even get to see the best fighters in the division, who happen to be the top tier fighters of the sport, facing each other.
We have Timothy Bradley leading the pack at HBO and Top Rank with the possibility of him facing either Ruslan Provonikov in a rematch, Brandon Rios, Manny Pacquiao or Juan Manuel Marquez in a rematch.
Floyd Mayweather leads the way with Golden Boy/Mayweather Promotions at Showtime with his opponents either being Amir Khan, Devon Alexander, potentially Danny Garcia or some maybe even some other junior welterweight.
We should be seeing Mayweather vs. Bradley because they are the best welterweights in the world, or even Mayweather-Pacquiao because it’s been such a long desired fight.
But back to reality. Bob Arum is probably banking on Pacquiao emerging victorious and looking spectacular against Rios when they meet November 23rd in China.
But instead of Mayweather, Pacquiao’s next opponent will probably be Marquez or some other fighter within the Top Rank staple of fighters. And again the fans will lose.