According to a report via ESPN, Manny Pacquiao publicly stated that he remains interested in fighting Floyd Mayweather. With the longstanding rivalry between the two men established, it's hard to imagine Mayweather escaping a single interview from here on out without the potential fight becoming a topic of conversation.
If Mayweather hopes to extend his undefeated streak and beat Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, he must look past Pacquiao.
Pacquiao has been rather brash in recent weeks, doing everything from calling out Mayweather to labeling his knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez as "lucky," per Miguel Rivera of BoxingScene.com. With that being said, Mayweather cannot bite this bait if he wants to win what should be a grueling fight against Alvarez—an opponent who Pacquiao believes can knock Mayweather out.
This could be mere trash talk, but Pacquiao isn't wrong.
Canelo is one of the fastest rising stars in all of boxing and, with one wrong move, Mayweather would put himself in danger of being knocked out. With that being said, we know Mayweather to be the most calculating and intelligent fighter of our time.
That latter trait will only be proven if he blocks Pacquiao out until his fight against Alvarez is finished.
Alvarez: On the Rise
For those unfamiliar, Alvarez is a 23-year-old phenom from Mexico, who is currently being promoted by Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions. He currently holds the WBC, RBA and Ring Magazine Light Middleweight titles and is undefeated at 42-0-1.
30 of those victories have come via knockout.
If there's one thing that we know about Mayweather, it's that he understands how to use his speed to counter an opponent's power. It's also an established fact that, if he's actually touched, Mayweather can take a punch.
Then again, we said that same thing about Pacquiao before Marquez knocked him out.
There's no question that Mayweather is the superior boxer and few have ever questioned how well-prepared he is for fights. From Miguel Cotto to Ricky Hatton, he's fought the boxers known for their knockout ability and done more than survived.
That simply won't be the case if he overlooks his younger opponent.
Alvarez was the best possible option for Mayweather when he chose his opponent, even if fans will inevitably write him off as too young should Money defeat him. He's a champion, he's running through the opposition and, quite frankly, he's a legitimate threat to Mayweather's undefeated streak.
As for Pacquiao, it's hard to explain why we're still talking about him and Mayweather fighting.
Who's Talking About Pacquiao?
Over the course of his past three fights, Pacquiao has had two losses, including one via knockout, and a highly controversial win over Marquez. Worst of all, his rematch against Marquez was the fight in which he was knocked out cold.
So why are we even talking about Pacquiao in a fight against the best in the world?
We can debate whether or not Mayweather ducked Pacquiao in the past, but this isn't the same situation. Pacquiao has lost two consecutive fights and has no business requesting a fight against the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
Not until he snaps that losing streak.
Pacquiao is at his lowest point in boxing, while Mayweather is looking to close out his career in the most rewarding manner possible. In order to do so, Money must now face the most successful and financially attractive fighters in the world.
Pacquiao may have the ability to earn that distinction, but skill is only as important as the way a boxer performs.
With Pacquiao's star power taking a hit, it's becoming more and more evident that he's using his mouth to stay in the limelight. For Mayweather, that must not be a distraction, as Canelo is too talented a fighter to overlook.
If Pacquiao can defeat Brandon Rios, we may have another conversation. Until then, this one is played out and unnecessary.