Manny Pacquiao Needs to Focus on Marquez Before Thinking About Floyd Mayweather

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Manny Pacquiao Needs to Focus on Marquez Before Thinking About Floyd Mayweather
Jeoffrey Maitem/Getty Images

It's great that Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather are finally getting on with it and are going to square off in the ring.

It's great that Pacquiao is so eager to face Mayweather that it's all he'll talk about. He is even committing himself to a date.

But Pacquiao-Mayweather is never going to happen unless Pacquiao gets past Juan Manuel Marquez first. So perhaps he should hold off on his enthusiasm for just a little bit longer.

According to the Manila Bulletin, Pacquiao's promoter, Bob Arum, confirmed that he and Pacquiao have set the superfight date for April 20, 2013—just over four months after Pacquiao is set to face Marquez.

If Pacquiao somehow loses to Marquez, though, he's not going to step in the ring against Mayweather.

So one of two things is happening here: Pacquiao is using Jedi mind tricks to fool people into thinking he's going to face Mayweather when, in actuality, he plans on throwing his match against Marquez just to get out of it ; or he's just being foolish and is overlooking his December bout in favor of the more exciting bout to come in April.

Most likely, it's the latter.

It's not as though Pacquiao has proven that he's immune to distractions and pressure—he's not.

We saw that in June, when he lost a controversial split decision to Timothy Bradley. In anticipation of that bout and in the aftermath of that sort-of loss, we heard plenty about Pacquiao's mental state at the time, which was, by all indications, not good.

ESPN experts discuss the possibility of a Mayweather-Pacquiao superfight.

There was lots of speculation that he was so distracted by his crumbling marriage and his extracurricular activities (such as gambling and basketball) that it negatively impacted his preparation and, eventually, his performance in the ring.

As we saw not too long ago, this is someone who needs to be 100-percent mentally prepared in order to perform at his best. This is someone who is capable of being distracted by mitigating factors. And in this case, a looming date with Mayweather serves as the mitigating factor.

Pacquiao is too seasoned to let this December bout against Marquez become a trap. He's too smart to become so focused on beating Mayweather that he skips right over the stepping stone that is going to carry him toward his fiercest rival.

On December 9, he can start thinking about Mayweather. But until then, it has to be all about Marquez.

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