Manny Pacquiao has lost his last two fights while Floyd Mayweather Jr. continues to roll through the competition.
In that sense, Pacquiao doesn't have the leverage to pressure Mayweather into a fight. The Filipino great must prove he still has it before expecting to land a bout with Money May.
How times have changed. There was a time (circa 2011) when both sides were being pressured by the public to finally fight. But while Mayweather has continued to soar, Pacquiao has hit a speed bump, or a brick wall, depending on how you look at it.
If you want to throw away Pacquiao's controversial loss to Timothy Bradley Jr. in June 2012, that's fine. But it was his shocking loss via knockout to Juan Manuel Marquez in December that really brought the hammer down on the 34-year-old. That was a brutal loss for Pacquiao, and one that surely resonates throughout his camp.
Some say Pacquiao has started his decline, a decline that eventually happens to every boxer in his 30s. I would agree that Pacquiao has declined, but the extent of his decline will most likely be determined the next time he fights a high-caliber opponent. Was his loss to Marquez simply a bad moment in a sterling career or was it a sign of things to come? I think that still has yet to be decided. While Pacquiao was knocked out by Marquez, he was actually leading on all three judges' scorecards, 47-46, before that moment, according to BoxingNews24.com.
In any case, the legend lying face down on the canvas after the knockout is an image the boxing world may never forget. And don't think Mayweather didn't take notice. It's only more fodder for the media magnet to use in stating his case that he doesn't have to fight Pacquiao to prove he's the greatest boxer on the planet right now.
Mayweather has defeated such high-profile boxers as Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosley, Victor Ortiz and Miguel Cotto. You can say he's been ducking Pacquiao, as some have suggested (including 50 Cent), but he certainly didn't duck those fighters.
Also, while Robert Guerrero may not not have been a very worthy opponent for Mayweather, Mayweather's utter dominance on Saturday was on full display. He landed 41 percent of his punches (including a ridiculous 60 percent of his power punches) en route to victory via unanimous decision against Guerrero, while Guerrero connected on just 19 percent of his punches (via CompuBox).
Does Pacquiao need to earn the right to fight Mayweather now?
While Pacquiao and Mayweather stood toe-to-toe on top of the world before, that is no longer the case. Heck, Dan Rafael of ESPN ranks Pacquiao the No. 4 welterweight in the world right now.
In 2011, it was hard to fathom that Pacquiao would have to earn a fight with Mayweather, but that is what it has come to now. If Pac-Man really wants a fight with the defensive mastermind, he's going to have to work as hard as ever in the twilight of his career.
The Filipino great can start by defeating Brandon Rios on Nov. 24 in China.