Well, here we go again.
Say everything you want about Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Is he the most talented fighter of this era? Absolutely.
Is he one of the best pure boxers of all time? There's no question about it.
Does he already have a Hall of Fame legacy? You better believe it.
Hell, I'd make the argument that he belongs in the conversation with the very best boxers of all time. Not just of this era, but of any era.
Would he in all probability defeat Manny Pacquiao, should the two of them ever set foot in the same ring together? In my opinion, yes, he would.
But none of that matters, because for whatever reason, Floyd Mayweather Jr. doesn't want to fight Manny Pacquiao.
Fans can cloak it in whatever rationale or reasoning they choose, but it has become an undeniable fact that Money wants no part of the Pac-Man.
This is not to say he's afraid. Not to say he feels he would lose. It's just to say that Mayweather consistently recycles the same excuses, and looks for any reason under the sun why the fight can't happen, not why it can.
If Pacquiao were to offer every child a puppy, give Mayweather the entire purse, and host the fight in his backyard with Leonard Ellerbe as the referee, there would be a reason to say no.
For Mayweather's detractors, his recent comments, which come in the wake of Manny Pacquiao appearing on ESPN and stating he would take a smaller share of the purse and submit to stringent blood testing, come from exactly the script they were expecting.
It was almost as if Floyd surfed the Internet, summed up all the arguments on why he would say no to the latest concessions made by Pacquiao, and then just regurgitated them in front of a willing reporter.
On Halloween Mayweather had this to say to Ben Thompson of FightHype.com:
You have to realize this, in my opinion, Manny Pacquiao is desperate. He doesn't make his own decisions, because Manny Pacquiao has a boss, his promoter, that makes his decisions. Once you take a loss and you're on the decline...listen, Manny Pacquiao, whether he got cheated or not, his stock drops enormously after taking a loss. No matter how you took a loss, you look an L.
So there you have Mayweather's first line of reasoning. We can't make any deal with Bob Arum.
Mayweather once again raises the issue of promoters. And that's certainly correct. Despite Pacquiao's stated offer of a 55/45 split, no deal can be completed without going through Bob Arum.
But to think that Pacquiao could not exert substantial pressure on Top Rank's CEO is a little unrealistic. Pacquiao is the company's premier star, a money-making machine, that has brought in countless millions to the company.
Mayweather also accused Pacquiao of using his name to sell his upcoming fight with Juan Manuel Marquez. That logic would work, if Pacquiao had been the one to bring Mayweather up into the discussion.
This often takes place as a result of a question, often asked by a reporter who doesn't cover boxing full-time, which assumes that the true hardcore boxing fan even cares whether this fight happens at this point.
On the issue of the loss, few people, with the noted exception of Mayweather's army of apologists, will accept this line of reasoning.
And Mayweather himself diminishes the argument by acknowledging that there's a possibility Pacquiao was cheated in his loss earlier this year to Timothy Bradley.
Listen, there have been arguments made that the fight was closer than it was seen on television. Personally, I don't find that to be close to reality. Of the 58 members of the media present at ringside, 55 scored the bout for Pacquiao, most by margins of 6-9points.
A five-judge panel convened by the WBO, when have you ever heard of this before, also found unanimously that Bradley got a win he did not deserve.
So there we have the second line of reasoning. Pacquiao's stock has dropped because of the loss, so now 55/45 is no longer good enough.
At this point Floyd Mayweather has become a bit like the Lucy character from Charles Schulz' famed Peanuts comic strip.
For those of you who are fans of the comic, you'll easily remember that Lucy is frequently shown holding a football, which she encourages the main character, Charlie Brown, to run up and kick.
Each time Charlie Brown is reluctant because of Lucy's history of yanking the ball away each time he comes within inches of hitting it. But each time she convinces him and the result is predictable—Lucy moves the ball and poor old Chuck ends up on his behind discouraged.
In this sense Floyd Mayweather is Lucy holding the ball. And whenever Manny Pacquiao gets close, he yanks it away again. The offer is never good enough.
You'll notice what Mayweather didn't include in that rant. He never once mentioned what he'd consider a fair deal, or a deal he would accept.
There's a very clear reason for this and it's probably exactly what you're thinking. Floyd Mayweather doesn't want to pigeonhole himself.
If he were to come out and say he'd accept 60/40 or 65/35 or whatever number you can think of, and Pacquiao were to immediately accept, he'd be in a bind.
Mayweather would be left with no wiggle room and a choice of accepting the fight, or showing the boxing public definitively that he has no interest.
In the past Mayweather has stated that he would not be willing to discuss any sort of split with Pacquiao, instead preferring to pay him a flat-sum. This would not include any share of PPV revenues which would likely be substantial.
Let's be clear here. This is Manny Pacquiao. Love him or hate him, his starpower in the sport is a fact. He's not Victor Ortiz and just happy to be here.
To think you can negotiate with him like he is just some other opponent, without a name or standing of his own, is not grounded in reality. And Floyd has to know that.
And again in his comments to FightHype, Mayweather pointed out that he is a much bigger box-office draw than his Filipino counterpart. He went as far as to accuse Top Rank, again taking a line straight from his fanbase's collective mouths, of falsifying PPV numbers to build Pacquiao's profile.
Who knows if this is true. Obviously Mayweather is a huge PPV draw. There is absolutely no disputing that fact.
But Pacquiao is also a big attraction. And whether or not his numbers are comparable to Mayweather's, there is no denying that he is at worst the second-biggest draw in the sport. When you take into account international revenues, where Pacquiao clearly trumps Floyd, it's probably a lot closer than people think.
Sure, Floyd would make big money fighting Canelo Alvarez or Sergio Martinez. But anyone who tells you that money would be close to what he'd make fighting Pacquiao is either lying to you, or has had a little too much to drink.
But either way let's concede that point to Mayweather, because he definitely is the bigger draw. Floyd's most recent PPV tilts did substantial PPV numbers. But don't totally discount that other than Victor Ortiz, Floyd has always done best when facing an opponent who himself has a substantial built-in fan base.
Certainly Manny Pacquiao would fit that bill in a way that none of the previously mentioned fighters would.
Given that, it's absolutely ludicrous to argue that the money generated from this fight would exclusively come from the Mayweather name.
Floyd is smart enough to know that, and he's smart enough to know he'd make more money fighting Manny Pacquiao than he would any other fighter. Hence his unwillingness to divy up any slice of the PPV revenues.
Just as ridiculous as it is to Mayweather fans that Pacquiao would want 45 percent of the purse, is how ridiculous it is to expect that he'd accept a deal that gives him none of what would almost certainly be record PPV money.
It's almost unbelievable at this point, that after this much silence, this is what Mayweather came out to say. It's virtually identical to what he's been saying for the past three years.
But in reality, it fits the pattern of Floyd Mayweather throughout his boxing career. Nothing is more important to him than the zero that follows his 43 career victories. And no amount of money is worth that simple, small number to him.
And for his fans, that's good enough.
Hey, he doesn't have to fight Manny Pacquiao. In my opinion, and in those of most unbiased observers, he'd probably beat him.
But it's become clear, at least in these eyes, that for whatever reason, he has no intention of finding out.
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