Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao has remained a pipe dream for manifold reasons. The issues of unlucky timing, substance abuse and utter obstinacy—from both parties—have all done their part to derail the hypothetical bout.
But more so than anything else, by a significant margin, Floyd Mayweather has never fought Pacquiao for one salient reason: He's never had to.
When Floyd Mayweather gets home—perhaps from a long night of wagering—he doesn't hang his hat on an umbrella stand like Don Draper. He takes off his flat-brim lid and carefully hangs it on the strength of his reputation. More specifically, he hangs it on the fact that he's never lost a fight.
Sure, he also champions himself for being the richest athlete in sports. But he can only bluster like that because of his resume. Mayweather boasts (and does he ever boast) a 43-0 record with 26 KOs, a squeaky-clean sheet that gives him leverage in fight negotiations. He can pick and choose his fights as he pleases; worst-case scenario, he never fights again and retires undefeated. He could coast off that for the rest of his days.
Floyd Mayweather is a creature of pride, pooling over into conceit, a man whose image is just as important to him as his record. That's never been tested, of course, since his record is clean (well, at least one of them is), but with a crooked number in the loss column, it would be interesting to see how he reacts. His insecurities could come pouring out like pools of blood after a knockout.
And the best way to prove that one loss does not a downfall make? How about beating the guy we've been clamoring to see him fight for years?
A loss would shift the leverage binary directly into Camp Pacquiao, who would no longer be the only ones standing to gain from a fight. Sure, some people say Mayweather's refusal to battle Manny taints his undefeated record. But those people don't know what they're talking about. So long as Floyd is undefeated, he's the one with little to gain against Pac-Man. Manny has lost before; he would be able to fight from the corner of "nothing to lose."
But with a loss to Guerrero, for the first time in quite some time, Mayweather and Pacquiao would find themselves on equal footing. They would both be coming off high-profile losses (Pacquiao was knocked out by Juan Marquez earlier this year), and they would both be seeking validation for their futures. Neither one wants to believe that he's done, and a win over the other would surely quell those rumors.
If you're a fan of Floyd Mayweather, obviously, you should find yourself rooting for him this evening. That goes without saying. But if you're an unbiased fan of the sport, you have to put your fandom on Guerrero.
Option A would further inflate Mayweather's ego, ensuring a continued practice of the current status quo. But if Money goes down, for the first time in his career, change could soon be on the horizon.
And looming just beyond that change, peering gently over the skyline, would be the biggest boxing match in decades.
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