Christmas came early this year for boxing fans. It was announced today (Dec. 2) that Floyd Mayweather has signed a contract to face Manny Pacquiao.
The contract signing sent Bob Arum to the Philippines to work out the rest of the contract with Pacquiao handlers and to finalize the fight. As it stands now, the fight could take place on Mar. 13 or May 1, 2010.
The fight would feature the two best fighters in the sport today. At this moment, there are no other fighters who excite fight fans more than these two.
This has all the makings of a classic fight because both fighters have taken on all of their top peers in boxing today.
Both fighters have the ability to move up and down in weight class to fight the best fighters available. Both have been champions in multiple weight classes as well.
For once, fight fans will get a fight that will hype itself and not need much help from promoters to try to get fans thinking the fight could be a great one. Both fighters have the punching power to knockout opponents.
They are both skilled in-ring tacticians who can adapt their style to defeat the opponents they are facing. This could also be, depending on the weight requirements, one of the most evenly matched fights in years.
However, Mayweather might have trouble with the fact that Pacquiao is a lefty.
Since Mayweather is an orthodox fighter and Pacquiao is a southpaw, most boxing experts believe this is the one style that could trouble Mayweather.
Mayweather should be well rested after only one fight since his short retirement. He also had little trouble in that fight against Juan Manuel Marquez.
On the other hand, Pacquiao might not have enough rest between his last fight against Miguel Cotto and this one. He also has fought 15 more fights as a pro than Mayweather.
This fight has all the makings of a classic old-fashioned fight. The first thought that comes to mind is "Sugar" Ray Leonard against Marvin Hagler.
Two evenly matched fighters who can either go for a knockout or fight a sound tactical fight. Unless there is a lucky punch or some sort of controversy, this fight should go the distance.
In a tough fight, one does have to wonder how Mayweather will react to a close fight. Mayweather has never been defeated and a close fight with Pacquiao who will not quit might give him trouble.
Mayweather also likes to showboat and there is no telling how Pacquiao will react to his in-ring antics.
But Pacquiao has been defeated before and surely does not want to taste defeat again.
One thing is for sure: if past performances are to be believed, both fighters should come into this fight ready to go. There is no way either fighter can say they were looking ahead to their next fight.
This is the only huge fight boxing can make at this point in time, leading to a few questions in the minds of boxing fans.
No matter who wins this fight, will there be a rematch and if so, when? This fight could keep fight fans spending their money in a recession if there are one or two rematches.
What will happen to the sport of boxing if Pacquiao decides to leave boxing for a political career in his home country? Boxing is struggling to find stars and to compete for viewers, and Pacquiao is a hero in his home country of the Philippines.
No matter the outcome, this could be the final big payday Pacquiao is looking for to walk away from the sport. Even Mayweather could walk away again from boxing if he wins this fight, feeling he has nothing left to prove.
No offense to "Sugar" Shane Mosley or his fans, but he is not nearly the draw or the fighter that Pacquiao is. The winner of this fight either way could walk away from boxing.
Does it take away from boxing if fans truly know who the mythical “Best Pound-for-Pound Fighter” really is? The great thing about boxing is the ability to discuss who could be the best fighter pound for pound.
The winner of this fight will truly be the holder of that mythical title. It could take some shine off of the sport already fading into the sunset. Without a realistic discussion of who is the best pound-for-pound fighter the sport could lose some of its appeal.
Who is next in line for either fighter after this fight?
Again, Shane Mosley is not a top draw or as good as either fighter. Oscar De La Hoya is done fighting. The best fighters have been beaten by one or both of these fighters.
Mayweather could fight Cotto, but Pacquiao has already beaten him. Either fighter could fight Mosley, but could they make the money needed with Pay-Per-View buys.
Which leads to the last question fans should be asking. Is this fight just putting a Band-Aid on a corpse?
Boxing used to be one of the biggest sports in the country—that is until the rise of MMA. The sport has suffered from lack of stars, bad fights, and no interest by 20-somethings.
This fight could be the last hurrah for the sport. Are there any young stars or a fight after this one that could keep up interest in the sport?
Will boxing be what MMA was in the late 80s and 90s, a fringe sport? Boxing will be watched, but more like soccer or hockey.
The sport will have diehard fans but no real casual following or drawing interest from MMA fans. This fight could jump-start the sport once more or it could show us the extremely sad state of boxing.
Boxing might see itself die because of figures like Don King, Mike Tyson, and a circus of pro-wrestling atmosphere. The sport has no great heavyweight, and the other established stars are heading into the twilight of their careers.
This will be something all fight fans can enjoy. It has all the potential to be one of the greatest fights ever.
Both fighters have faced the best fighters from their generation. They have also beaten all of them as well.
These two fighters are nearly at the summit of the mountain and the only way to reach the top is to beat the other fighter. This could be the best fight we have seen since Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in “The Rumble in the Jungle.”
Still, the lingering questions about the sport will be there after this fight is over. Boxing is in a very delicate place and needs this fight to be everything it can be.
Boxing needs both Pacquiao and Mayweather to fight the fight of their lives. History shows us that with these fighters, that should not be a problem.