By Dennis Cruz
By now, fight fans don’t have to be introduced into the world of the great Mayweather vs Pacquiao debate.
Chances are pretty good that, five years into this maddening go-nowhere fiasco, everyone has already chosen sides and will fight to the very end to prove that the other guy is the one running from the mega-fight.
But this piece isn’t about what fans want: it’s about what both fighters are going to get and why, given their actions and professional conduct, they’re going to get exactly what they deserve this coming year.
First, there’s boxing’s top draw and still consensus pound-for-pound top fighter, Floyd Mayweather.
Mayweather has spent the last several years on a self-installed pedestal, looking down on the boxing world. He has come and gone as he pleases and freely admits that he’s running the show. In short, the five-division world champ lives as though he makes the rules and is above the sport.
When attacked, Mayweather simply smiles and leans on stacks of hundred dollar bills for social media photo-ops. He’s right because he’s rich and he’s rich because he’s fully in charge.
Everything around Mayweather exists for his pleasure, like teenage boy who got too rich, too fast for his own good. From the “friends” in his entourage to the cars in his garage to the fighters he chooses to face in the ring: they are all there by his design and for his pleasure.
As a result, the once mighty Mayweather Empire is beginning to crumble around him.
The once air-tight allegiance between Golden Boy and his adviser, Al Haymon has fallen to pieces and his own Mayweather Promotions has proven itself thus far inadequate in handling a major PPV event. The pool of available opposition has dried up completely, thanks to a Mayweather-perpetuated continuance of the Cold War. Even his ability to dance around media scrutiny has begun to fail him as Mayweather began to face some sharp attacks during his most recent media tour.
2015 promises dark days for Mayweather. Still owing two fights to Showtime, Mayweather has to come up with at least two more viable opponents as well as face the possibility that Saul “Canelo” Alvarez may be openly challenging his ownership of Mexican holiday dates in May and September. And he’ll be doing all of this as a jaded 38-year-old with diminishing capabilities and a media on his back that just started amping up the attacks this past September.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Great Boxing Divide, Manny Pacquiao is facing the possibility of an absolutely stellar 2015.
The thawing of the Cold War between Oscar De la Hoya and Bob Arum will allow for fights with Danny Garcia or Amir Khan to be possibilities. Arum’s Mikey Garcia is moving up to 140, likely intent upon facing Pacquiao. Then, of course, there’s always the chance of wrangling Juan Manuel Marquez into a fifth encounter.
Best of all, though, is the distinct possibility that new HBO signee, Saul Alvarez, will face Miguel Cotto in May with the winner taking on Pacquiao in a September blockbuster.
As we can clearly see, Manny’s cup will be overflowing with big fight possibilities the coming year, and given the right fights and right performances, he could once again be challenging Mayweather for the no. 1 spot in both drawing power and pound-for-pound status by year’s end.
Right, wrong, or somewhere in the middle, it’s also obvious that the media has already assigned Manny the white hat in the Mayweather-Pacquiao feud, so it will be Mayweather taking the blow to the legacy when history reduces this tale to a paragraph in boxing’s history.
As the old saying goes, “you reap what you sow,” and this maxim perfectly describes the immediate futures of both near-retirement superstars.
A Mayweather who has dabbled in violence, intimidation, arrogance, and money lust will finish his career in a dark place.
Pacquiao, on the other hand, will get the luxury of one more glorious victory lap and a final string of high-profile money fights before heading off into retirement.