Will they or won’t they? The question was posed in every possible form as Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao ascended through the ranks of professional boxing.
For all the talk of the two welterweights going toe-to-toe at some point before they retire, nothing has ever come of it.
UPDATE: Monday, May 6, at 6:30 p.m. ET by Justin Onslow
It seems the Pacquiao-Mayweather talk will have to subside for now. According to ESPN's Dan Rafael, Pacquiao has agreed to square off with Brandon Rios in his next fight:
Dan Rafael @danrafaelespn
Arum confirms Pacquiao-Rios is agreed to. Fight will be on @HBOboxing PPV. Will be normal US primetime but morning in Macau. #boxing2013-5-6 22:18:30
---End of update---
Mayweather moved on to fights with Miguel Cotto and Robert Guerrero within the last year. Mayweather chose both fights for various reasons, but no matter his motives, there is a good chance neither lines up with a showdown against Pac-Man.
It’s no secret that Mayweather hand-picks his opponents and has avoided a bout with Pacquiao for years. With just five fights remaining on his contract—and his imminent retirement following those fights—Pacquiao should give up on pursuing Mayweather, just as fans have already given up on the idea of seeing them clash.
According to an ESPN report, Pacquiao’s advisor Michael Koncz is trying to keep the pipe dream alive:
We're open to that fight, we've always wanted that fight. Now it's in Floyd's court because Manny himself said on our last press tour when we fought Bradley that he's willing to accept less. We're willing to do the blood tests whenever and any kind of testing as long as Floyd does the same and we're willing to give him 60 percent and we'll take 40 percent. Now it's all up to Floyd. I don't hold out my breath over whether that fight is going to happen. I don't blame Floyd, what his mentality thinking is I'm not sure.
Koncz may simply be trying to keep the chatter alive, but regardless of the situation, it needs to stop. Mayweather has avoided fighting Pacquiao for years, and now is not the time to put his perfect record on the line with retirement in his sights.
Even if "Money" Mayweather were willing to finally schedule a bout with the 34-year-old, should Pacquiao even accept the fight?
Love him or hate him, Mayweather is the best fighter on the planet.
His dismantling of Guerrero last weekend proved he is far from finished, even at age 36. That particular fight showed how dangerous Money still is, coming off a one-year layoff from boxing and a two-month stint behind bars.
While the results may not be the same if Pacquiao fights Juan Manuel Marquez again, their last match highlighted some weaknesses in Pac-Man that makes the prospect of fighting the pound-for-pound champion less than ideal. There’s simply little reason for him to pursue a fight with Mayweather.
In Pac-Man’s defense, there is something to be said for wanting to challenge the five-division champion and currently undefeated welterweight before he enters retirement. But at this point in his career, can Pacquiao feel confident about his chances?
The answer to that question is an emphatic yes, but that does not necessarily mean he would be right in believing so. Considering his current two-loss skid and the way in which Mayweather proved his dominance against Guerrero, Pacquiao should think very carefully about how he plans to finish his career. Those plans should not include a fight with Mayweather.