Legendary fights are rare in today's boxing landscape, but there's one epic fight that every boxing fan wants to see: Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao—a battle between the top welterweight fighters in the world.
Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier, Riddick Bowe vs. Evander Holyfield, Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Thomas Hearns—those fights defined careers and built legacies.
Mayweather and Pacquiao have a chance to put their careers in perspective by fighting each other, and a failure to make this fight happen would be a travesty as far as boxing history is concerned.
Both fighters are nearing the end of their careers, and both have proved over the course of time that they stand alone as boxing's greatest stars of this current era. There isn't a better way to put the finishing touches on their careers than by squaring off against each other before they retire.
Conversely, if these two giants fail to prove themselves against each other, there will always be questions about who was better. It would be better for both men if they put all the questions to rest with a definitive contest—a fight that would go down as one for the ages.
Some may argue that Pacquiao isn't in Mayweather's class. After all, "Money May" hasn't lost a fight, while "Pac-Man" has lost five fights, including his last two.
That said, Pacquiao is ranked as the No. 2 welterweight fighter in the world (h/t IBOBoxing.com), and his two recent losses didn't come against a couple of chumps off the street.
Even if you don't buy into Pac-Man as Money May's equal in the ring (he might be), there's no doubt that his fanbase is just as impressive as that of Mayweather's. If these two fighters were to agree to fight, the pay-per-view numbers would be staggering.
According to Forbes.com's Patrick Rishe, Pacquiao's fights are a gold mine:
In 2011 alone, Manny Pacquiao participated in 2 fights (Sugar Shane Mosley, Marquez) which drew 1.34 million and 1.45 million PPV buys, respectively…good enough for 9th and 6th highest PPVs of all-time.
Rishe also touched on Pacquiao's fight against Tim Bradley that only drew 700,000 PPV customers, but he made the point that Mayweather has fared comparably in fights against opponents with "similar foes."
Should these two legends agree to fight, there's no doubt the contest would result in the biggest PPV draw in the history of the sport. That should be reason enough to make it happen, but to this point, the potential fight is dead in the water.
Perhaps Mayweather doesn't feel the need to fight Pacquiao to secure his legacy, but he would be wrong. Fans always want to see the best fighters square off against each other, and if Mayweather dodges Pacquiao, there will always be a mark against him in the court of public opinion.
Perhaps Mayweather isn't convinced he could defeat Pacquiao, which is why this fight hasn't yet happened.
Whether it's fear or pride blocking a deal, it matters not.
This is a fight that must happen in order for both fighters' legacies to survive the test of time. Fifty years from now, if they fail to challenge one another, fans will look back and see an asterisk.
That's something neither Mayweather nor Pacquiao wants attached to his name.
Mayweather vs. Pacquiao must happen, but time is running out for both of these legendary fighters.
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