Earlier this evening, Yahoo Sports boxing writer Kevin Iole reported that Manny Pacquiao had stated on two separate ESPN programs today that he would be willing to accept a 55-45 financial split in a potential fight with Floyd Mayweather. Pacquiao's previous insistence on a 50-50 split has repeatedly been cited by Mayweather as a deal-breaker.
Boxing fans have been screaming for this fight for nearly four solid years, but to judge from readers' comments and what I read from other boxing writers, it seems to me like interest has waned during 2012. I see and hear more calls for Mayweather versus Sergio Martinez at this point.
Pacquiao, meanwhile, will still need to take care of business against Juan Manuel Marquez in December, when the two longtime rivals meet for a fourth time.
A sizable percentage of boxing writers don't believe Pacquiao deserved his majority decision victory over Marquez last October. A loss this time, or even another controversial win, would seriously damage Pacman's negotiating ability, 55-45 split or not.
Although Pacquiao's loss to Timothy Bradley last June was considered by most observers to be among the most notoriously bad decisions in the sport's history, Pacquiao still looked less than impressive against an opponent fighting on two badly injured legs.
Pacquiao's career has been trending downhill since his electrifying TKO of Miguel Cotto in November of 2009. That fight was his fourth straight stoppage. Since then, he has not finished a fight within the distance.
Against Joshua Clottey in March of 2010 and Shane Mosley in May of 2011, he was stymied by skillful opponents who were unwilling to engage with him, and he ended up with easy unanimous decisions that hardly thrilled the fans.
His failure to stop Antonio Margarito in November of 2010 was more of a testament to Margarito's toughness than anything else. Pacquiao put on an offensive clinic against a much larger man and the damage he did to Margarito's eye paved the way for Miguel Cotto's TKO of Margarito last December.
Pacquiao has been one of the most popular and exciting fighters to emerge in the past two decades. A convincing win over Marquez will have everybody shouting as loudly as ever for Pacquiao-Mayweather.
Personally, I don't believe that is going to happen. I'm already on record predicting Marquez will win, or at least lose another fight many of us think he deserved to win.
But Dinamita is 39 now, and even though I think he deserved to win both of the last two fights, they were extremely close and Pac had his moments. If Pacquiao wins in convincing fashion next time, I'll be surprised, but it won't exactly be my biggest shock in a lifetime of watching sports.
And like so many other Keyboard Palookas out there, I'll be right back following the Pacquiao-Mayweather drama just like it's 2009 all over again.