Floyd Mayweather Jr.: It Should Be Pacquiao or Bust for Money's Next Fight

Kevin McRaeFeatured ColumnistSeptember 22, 2012

It's time for Money to put up or shut up.
It's time for Money to put up or shut up.Al Bello/Getty Images

Floyd Mayweather Jr. is the best fighter of his era. Even his most ardent detractors cannot argue that he is gifted with a level of talent that most of us, if not all of us, have never seen before in a boxing ring.

His speed, defense and ring knowledge are unmatched. He knows where he is at all times and almost never gets hit with a clean punch.

He has won all 43 of his professional fights. He has won eight world championships in five weight classes and is clearly the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world today.

But, as of today, he has yet to accept what all experts agree would be his sternest test to date. And that test comes in the form of Manny Pacquiao.

Now this is not to say that Mayweather is the only one to blame for the super fight having not materialized yet. Both camps and both fighters hold a share of the responsibility. 

Everything but the kitchen sink has been argued about, from money, to drug testing, to probably the color of underwear each man is allowed to wear at the weigh-in.

The average boxing fan is just sick of it already, and many have lost interest and moved on from the fight. And that's a shame because this is just the type of event that boxing needs to pulls itself out of the downward spiral that's gripped it lately.

This past week, while appearing on ESPN's First Take, Pacquiao finally conceded to taking two of the biggest stumbling blocks to the fight off the table. He agreed to accept a smaller percentage of the purse and a stringent random drug testing regimen.

He even agreed to allow Floyd Mayweather Jr. to wear his trunks if it would get the fight done.

Now Mayweather supporters will, and have, already come out and once again said this is not enough, that in fact Manny Pacquiao has no right to think he can dictate terms.

Mayweather senior advisor Leonard Ellerbe put it even more bluntly. 

"Manny Pacquiao can't tell Floyd Mayweather sh**," Ellerbe told the Los Angeles Times on Friday.

But what all this bickering and arguing between the fighters, their camps and their fans neglects to consider is that neither guy really has much of an option at this point.

Whether it's right or wrong in the public eye, Manny Pacquiao has won this round. He is the one who came off as conceding on key points, willing to accept less than his ideal in order to make the fight happen.

If Floyd Mayweather once again ups the bar, he's going to start appearing like Lucy in the Charlie Brown cartoons. Every time Charlie Brown runs up to kick the football, Lucy pulls it away at the last second. And this happens every single time. 

If Mayweather doesn't agree to a Pacquiao fight many have pointed to junior middleweight champion Saul Canelo Alvarez as an acceptable alternative. This is wrong on a few levels.

The most fundamental being that despite his meteoric rise in the sport, Canelo Alvarez is still just a 22-year-old prospect. He has amazing talent, yes, but he is nowhere near ready for a fighter the caliber of Floyd Mayweather Jr, and probably not even Miguel Cotto.

Nothing on his resume indicates that at 22 and still learning the game he belongs in that end of the pool. Other than victories over a shot Carlos Baldomir, a shot Lovemore N'dou, a shot Kermit Cintron and a shot Shane Mosley, Canelo has not accomplished enough.

And believe me, that's no criticism. He's doing exactly what a 22-year-old fighter does: building a resume. But to think that at this stage he's ready for Floyd Mayweather Jr. is ridiculous. And taking that fight would be nothing short of a calculated risk on the part of Money and his team.

Another alternative, Sergio Martinez, is on the shelf until at least May with pending knee surgery and a broken hand. 

If not these guys then who else?

The only answer is Manny Pacquiao. Now let's get it done already.