Mayweather vs. Pacquiao: Fabulous Floyd and Mysterious Manny
In my recent article "Pacquiao and Mayweather: Manny's Magic and Floyd's Fear" I let my bias hang out. And it was hitting the ground; yes, my bias was that big.
I essentially argued that Mayweather, an undefeated champion looking at the other side of the mountain, was putting off a fight by demanding unprecedented and strict Olympic-style performance-enhancing drug testing. I claimed he did this out of fear.
The premise for this fear, I said, was Pacquiao's furious barrage attacks, dynamic left-handed stance, ridiculous speed, and knockout power.
I also echoed a rumor that Floyd Mayweather Sr., former trainer to the demolished Ricky Hatton and father of the undefeated champion, had warned his son about Pacquiao.
Additionally, I compared their records against a couple common opponents.
It's time to tuck the bias back in. Zip it up. Show a little modesty.
Neither Floyd Mayweather nor Manny Pacquiao fears the other fighter. Their only fears are directly related to their selfish prides.
Floyd isn't afraid of a barrage of punches from odd angles; he's confident in his defense.
He doesn't worry about what Manny did to Oscar De La Hoya or Ricky Hatton; he's not those men.
Mayweather's straight right is like nothing in Hatton's or De La Hoya's repertoires. Manny knows this; and Floyd knows this.
Is this some video game from the '80s, where a little round character goes around devouring everything in his way, while being chased by ghosts? When this Pac-man takes a special pill, don't the ghosts turn blue and run?
That's the type of poor analogy I might have used before. Now, however, I admit it's not likely that Floyd Mayweather is afraid of, or really worried about, Manny Pacquiao.
In fact, I don't think Floyd worries about much of anything; he's pretty much got the life. Every time I watch a 24/7 with him in it, I get pretty stinking envious of his seemingly care-free lifestyle.
But he does worry about stepping into the ring with a boxer who has taken performance enhancing drugs. This is a fact.
He wants Pacquiao tested, and he had Mosley (and I'm assuming himself) tested in the same fashion that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) does before their last fight.
So, because of this recent experiment, Floyd's request for Pacquiao to test this way is no longer unprecedented.
And this, naturally, raises more questions than it answers.
Pacquiao thinks taking blood before a fight will weaken him. Is Manny afraid of needles or something?
No. I don't believe that for one second. Manny has tattoos.
What is it Floyd's camp thinks Manny has been taking?
Manny's moves up in weight would suggest a human growth hormone, or a testosterone boost of sorts. Although this is possible, such abuse would make doping the weight and maintaining strength and power rather difficult. A more likely scenario to me here is diet and exercise change.
Suspicious? Yes. Impossible? Not at all. Manny has been overweight in lighter classes a couple times in his career, so this needs to be taken into consideration as well.
The IOC connection, however, has me thinking of a more believable accusation in the minds of the Mayweather camp: blood doping.
Blood doping doesn't really build muscle mass, strength, or power. It's an endurance enhancing procedure, which is all too coinciding with Pacquiao's relentless style of offense.
Who is this mysterious Manny Pacquiao that we thought we knew?
For some time now, Manny has been the poster boy for the good guy. His squeaky clean image precedes him, even outside the boxing community. Slogans like "The People's Champion" and "Fighting Pride of the Philippines" all the way up to "Savior of the Sport of Boxing" are used to describe what he's about.
But a performance-enhancing drug scandal would ruin it all.
The courageous brawler with a meek and humble persona can't have this shadow on his legacy. Or can he?
The People's Champion has even proven his worth to his homeland via democracy. On May 13, 2010, Pacquiao was officially proclaimed congressman of the lone district of Sarangani. He scored a landslide victory over a wealthy and politically well-entrenched clan of the province. His triumph ended the reign of Chiongbian clan that has been in power for more than thirty years. Pacquiao got 120,052 votes while his political rival, Erwin Chiongbian, got 60,899 votes.
I mean, politicians can't be corru—uh oh.
This, however, is all circumstantial and no facts can be drawn from the evidence at hand. All we do know is that the matchup is at an impasse until the parties can agree to terms—if they can agree to terms.
So would Floyd really be scared of a $40-$50 million payday? No. Floyd loves money; Floyd is "Money."
Is his pride and undefeated record so precious to him that he just can't let go? Is he not willing to risk the small tarnish that a loss (or even a draw) would scar on his perfect 41-win record? I don't think so. He's a boxer, and like a boxer, he understands the risks and possible outcomes of a match.
These two really do want to fight each other; they just don't know how to bridge the gap.
Flashback to September 14, 2002. Fernando Vargas surrendered his WBA and IBA titles to Oscar De La Hoya in an historical Jr. Middleweight championship unification showdown that filled the Mandalay Bay Events Center to capacity and sold approximately one million pay-per-view buys.
In the early rounds Vargas used his natural strength (he fights at a naturally higher weight) to bully De La Hoya against the ropes and land right hands to the head and body; however, in the middle and late rounds Vargas fatigued and De La Hoya's hand speed took over.
After hurting Vargas at the end of Round Ten, De La Hoya dropped Vargas in the next round with a left hook to the head, and stopped him moments later with a flurry at the 1:48 mark of the round.
During the mandatory drug testing after the De La Hoya fight, Vargas tested positive for the banned steroid stanozolol . Vargas claimed the steroids were given to him without his knowledge, but he accepted full responsibility. The Nevada Athletic Commission announced on November 20 of 2002 that it would fine Vargas $100,000 because of his use of steroids. Fernando Vargas was suspended for nine months.
What's the point of this seemingly abject history lesson?
For starters, history repeats itself. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
Mayweather knows athletes will bend or break rules to get ahead in their sport, whatever it may be. Cycling, Baseball, even Golf; no competition is sacred these days. With the dark antiquity that boxing holds, paranoia may be the most rational mindset.
Both fighters have something to prove here. Manny Pacquiao needs to prove that he's not a cheat, that he is who we thought he was, and (of course) that he is a better boxer than Floyd. Mayweather still needs to show that the only thing he's afraid of is a small payday, that he is the pound-for-pound best there ever was, and that he truly is not dodging the Pac-Man.
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