Floyd "Money" Mayweather may be taking on Miguel Cotto tonight, but the fight that will remain on the minds of most boxing fans will be a potential bout between Mayweather and Manny "Pac-Man" Pacquiao. The elite fighters have waffled back and forth and a fight may seem unlikely, but there is still reason to believe that it will happen.
The first step is obviously for both men to win their next fights. Mayweather shouldn't have too much of an issue with Cotto, while Pacquiao will have to get past Tim Bradley next month. Bradley is certainly no pushover, but he has yet to face a fighter of Pacquiao's caliber, and Pac-Man's combination of power and speed figures to be too much to handle.
After that, the discussions will likely pick up again. One obvious pitfall is that Mayweather will begin serving a 90-day jail term next month stemming from a domestic violence charge, so that will delay things and it may mean that Pacquiao will negotiate a different fight. If Pacquiao's camp waits, though, there is no reason why they can't get something done.
Mayweather is breaking records with his $32 million purse for the Cotto fight, and that fight doesn't even come close to comparing to the magnitude of Mayweather vs. Pacquiao. It's impossible to even venture a guess as to what Mayweather and Pacquiao would stand to make from a fight against each other, but it is certainly a sum that is far too great to pass up.
Both Mayweather and Pacquiao are great businessmen and they have plenty of other savvy businessmen in their ears as well. This is a fight that is far too lucrative and far too important to boxing to forgo. The key is that Mayweather and Pacquiao have to come to some sort of agreement before they both get too old.
Mayweather is 35 years old, but he has a fighting style that seems like it can hold up forever. Pacquiao is 33, but because he relies so much on power, his shelf life is probably a bit shorter than Mayweather's is. If they can't get something set up within the next year, though, you have to wonder if it's ever going to happen.
The main thing that needs to happen is that both men must make concessions. Mayweather has been a bit of a bully when it comes to purse split as he wants the vast majority. He does bring the fact that he is undefeated to the table, but Pacquiao is considered the more exciting fighter, so an even split is more than fair.
Pacquiao has to give a little as well. He initially refused to agree to Olympic-style drug testing, and while his camp has said that he changed his mind in that regard, there hasn't been any evidence to support that. Mayweather is obviously very concerned that he would be fighting somebody with an unfair advantage, so there's no reason why Pacquiao shouldn't agree to that testing program and prove that he has nothing to hide.
When it comes down to it, these stumbling blocks can be cleared quite easily. It simply comes down to whether or not Mayweather and Pacquiao actually want to make this fight happen. Because of the money involved they would be stupid not to, and neither of them seems stupid to me.