Is Floyd Mayweather Jr. scared of Manny Pacquiao?
That’s the question that both boxing analysts and fans have begun pondering after another year without the Mayweather Jr. vs. Pacquiao matchup many feel is the only fight worth watching in the fading sport.
For years, fight fans across the world have been salivating at the potential of Mayweather Jr. and Pacquiao meeting in the ring. Unfortunately, Negotiations for the fight have turned into a war of words between the two camps, alienating boxing fans worldwide as the two continue to spar via the media instead of in the ring.
Mayweather has insisted that he will not fight Pacquiao without Olympic style random blood and urine testing. Mayweather’s last three opponents, Miguel Cotto, Victor Ortiz and Shane Mosley, all submitted to the testing without any objection.
The testing style allows for blood and urine samples to be taken all the way until the night of the fight. During original negotiations in 2010, Pacquiao’s camp pressed for a 14-day cut off window for testing, citing the boxers fear of needles (although he has tattoos) and belief that drawing blood close to the fight would weaken him.
Another major stumbling block has been the purse split for the assumed record setting bout. Mayweather’s camp has refused a 50-50 split, citing the 4 losses on Pacquiao’s record as reason enough for Mayweather to garner a 60/40 or even 70/30 split. Top Rank head Bob Arum has insisted on a 45-45 split, with the winner taking home the remaining 10 percent.
On September 20, Manny Pacquiao appeared on ESPN2’s “First Take” and directly offered Mayweather a 55/45 split. Pacquiao took his concession a step further, saying that Olympic style drug testing would not be a problem, even if samples were taken the night of the fight.
The appearance by Pacquiao placed the ball squarely in Mayweather’s court. While the statements made by Pacquiao seemed to concede defeat in the negotiations, team Mayweather saw otherwise.
“Manny Pacquiao can’t tell Floyd Mayweather [expletive],” said Mayweather advisor Leonard Ellerbe a few days after Pacquiao’s appearance (via LA Times). “If and when the fight takes place, Floyd will dictate the terms.”
What is amazing about this entire situation is that both fighters are well aware that they stand to make the most money by facing each other, as the bout would easily garner an 8-figure payday for both fighters.
Lets not forget PPV buys, where each fighter has posted major numbers. Over his last three fights, Mayweather has averaged 1.38 million PPV buys to Pacquiao’s 1.21 million.
Also, Mayweather has been a much stronger live gate draw for the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Two of Mayweather’s last three fights have raked in over $10 million in sales, with Pacquiao only accomplishing the feat once over the same three fight span.
After vowing to return to the ring after his short prison bid over the summer, all signs point to Mayweather not fighting again in 2012. Floyd will turn 36 in February, and as we all know, father time has never been kind to most boxers.
If Floyd Mayweather wants to finally put an end to all the talk that he is afraid of Manny Pacquiao and cement his legacy as the best fighter of his generation, he has to put his ego aside and finally go toe-to-toe with Pacquiao.
Mayweather’s stifling defense coupled with the pinpoint accuracy of his counter-punching would be the perfect counter to Pacquiao’s relentless punching style.
Hopefully we get to see it before both fighters are a shell of themselves.