Without ever fighting him, Floyd Mayweather has had a tremendous impact on Manny Pacquiao's career. Pac-Man may want to seriously consider sending Mayweather a fruit basket.
Or at least fill his commissary should Mayweather ever run afoul of the law again.
All jokes aside, the superfight-that-will-never-be is the biggest non-event in boxing history. There is no way to accurately measure the value that has been provided to both fighters.
That doesn't mean we won't try to put things in perspective from Manny's point of view.
The Electricity Keeps the Lights On
Boxing has been struggling with relevancy issues since the mid-to-late '90s. If it were just Pacquiao running around and beating everyone up, no one would care.
But Money has provided a nemesis. A rival. Someone to constantly compare Pac-Man to after he vanquishes another nameless opponent.
The possibility of a Mayweather fight keeps the attention on Pacquiao.
Take the Timothy Bradley fight that ended with Manny losing his belt in a controversial decision.
The media attention paid to such a terrible call paled in comparison to the Hail Mary mishap on Monday Night Football a few weeks ago. Yet, that fight generated the most press coverage the sport had seen since the Mayweather-Oscar De La Hoya fight.
Why did it generate so much attention?
Because people care about Pacquiao in relation to Mayweather. They don't want the supposed bout to be tarnished by a loss to someone else. Otherwise, the fight would have probably gone unnoticed by a large portion of the sports public.
Pacquiao is a millionaire more than a few times over and would have been if Mayweather had never existed. However, he wouldn't have been as well off.
Every opponent that Pacquiao has faced has needed the fight much more than Manny did. He was an established star that had a great alternative to fighting against whomever. That's the key to a successful negotiation, needing the deal less than the other guy.
How many more millions has Pacquiao made because of the potential of a Mayweather bout? Impossible to tell. But suffice it to say that it's more than enough to get a decent haircut.
Much like the 1997 split national championship between Michigan and Nebraska, the who-is-better debate between the two fighters will last forever.
Since the fight will never occur, there will never be a feeling of finality to either fighter's career. They will continue to live on in bar arguments regarding who reigns supreme as the best pound-for-pound boxer of his era.
Maybe they could team up for a series of endorsements in the future. Or make a documentary about the fight that never was. The possibilities are endless, as are the debates that will rage without any actual empirical evidence to provide a concrete solution.
Well played, sirs. Well played.