There are some things Money just can't buy. These days, it's the title of pound-for-pound best boxer.
He can roll with $100,000 walk-around cash, but that only gets you so far and only nets you so many things. Floyd Mayweather, Jr. can still look in the mirror at his pretty and boyish face, but at some point he'll need to come to grips with the fear he sees in his own eyes.
Can he really believe he's the best when he won't face the best? Can he live with decision after decision, knowing he doesn't have true knockout power?
For now, it seems Floyd will live on his knees, rather live as a soft and malleable piece of clay, than risk being a broken piece of jade.
What does he have to be afraid of anyway? Every boxing fan in the world knows: Manny Pacquiao.
It's not an unwarranted fear. The Pac-Man represents a crossroads for Pretty Boy Floyd. It could mean he has to shut his mouth for once and for all, or it could mean he's allowed to talk forever.
In their most recent fights against common opponents, Pacquiao has the edge. Mayweather took Oscar De La Hoya to a split decision; Pacquiao stopped him after eight rounds. Ricky Hatton's corner flew the white flag after Hatton fell into a turnbuckle in the tenth round against Floyd; Pacquiao knocked him out in two.
If Floyd wasn't afraid, how would the fighters' attributes break down for such a match anyway? Compare:
Height—Mayweather. At 5'8" Floyd has a little more altitude the Manny, but this is rarely a factor. He's no Paul Williams.
Reach—Mayweather. Floyd's best advantage probably lies in his arm length. His defense is built around the principle of not letting opponents hit him unless he can hit them harder. Boxers looking to get inside often find themselves getting up close and personal with Pretty Boy's straight right.
Weight—Mayweather. Mayweather's naturally bigger frame holds more weight. He can cut as low as 147 to weigh in and still fight around 155. If Pacquiao get's up to 145, he's fighting at 145.
Strength—Pacquiao. Money has all but accused Manny of steroid use. Why? Floyd doesn't have the necessary work ethic to comprehend Pacquiao's career muscle and weight gains and losses. It is for this reason (unless the champ is actually sleep-juicing) that Mayweather's camp backed out of the fight that was supposed to happen this year.
The big crutch as they limped backward out the door: insisting on IOC-style random drug testing. This method consists of testing at all hours, including the middle of the night. This style of testing would be unprecedented in professional boxing. Floyd didn't insist Mosley be subjected to this, but it was a deal breaker for Pacquiao.
Speed—Pacquiao. Floyd is fast, but Manny is simply faster. Weather you're talking about his feet or hands, Manny moves them quicker.
Power—Pacquiao. 38 KO's from Manny to Floyd's 25.
Heart—Pacquiao. Manny knows what it's like to lose. Manny knows a draw as well, but he's all to familiar with the feeling of a true warrior's victory. Floyd has coasted on mediocre victories over mediocre opponents. Manny has found himself in the middle of brawls and come out on top. He's taken the blood bath, and came out clean. If he needs to dig deep (and he has had to dig) he can.
Trainer—Pacquiao (Freddie Roach). I'm not trying to knock Roger Mayweather here, I just think Roach knows and respects the sport more. Both trainers know they have been blessed with gifted fighters, but Roach sews humility and integrity into his fighter, where Roger primarily fans the flame of ego with Floyd.
Floyd Sr. has reconnected with his son now, and runs with the Mayweather camp. Maybe it was Floyd Sr. who knew his son wouldn't be ready if he stepped into the ring with Pac-Man, after the way Hatton (trained with a state of the art defense by Floyd Sr.) was crushed by Pacquiao in a round and a half.
Age—Pacquiao. There's a two-year difference between the two, and it favors Manny. If Floyd doesn't take the fight sooner than later, he could retire. If this happens, he can flame out knowing that he was undefeated, but never truly victorious.
Style—Pacquiao. Floyd is an orthodox counter puncher with great speed. Pacquiao is a south-paw volume hitter with truly amazing speed. You can find a broken down Mayweather clone to spar against, but you won't find another Pacquiao. Any south-paw will be too slow, and any speedster will lack his endurance. The're no way to prepare for a fighter like him, because there are no fighters like him.
Manny has seen counter punchers like Floyd before. When he squared up against Oscar De La Hoya, his reach and height were sure to be a handicap; they weren't. Pacquiao stopped the legendary Golden Boy in his tracks. People thought Manny would get tired from moving in and out and punching so much; he didn't.
The problem with trying to counter punch against Manny is he's going to be throwing more anyways, so he "counter to your counter" is already coming regardless—and that's if you hit him.
Basically. if Floyd fight's against Manny like he fought Mosley in his last fight, then Floyd's in trouble. If Manny fight's Floyd like he fought Clottey in his last fight, then Floyd's in trouble.
So it's all right. Floyd "Pretty Boy" should be scared—it's a sign of intelligence. But he should think about what he's doing in the ring, and what he's running his mouth about, if he can't bring himself to face the best there is. And if he wants to be able to look at his "Pretty Boy" complexion in the mirror, he should probably get into the ring with the right opponent.
Even if he takes on the best and loses, there's no shame there. But if he can't look himself in the mirror and say " I took on the best, and I was better" then he can know for sure that he never really gave it his all.
Otherwise, he can talk forever, and we'll all have to listen—forever.
But "Money" can't buy you that. It's got to be earned.