The stage is set, and the gloves are off (does that expression even work in boxing?) for what's become a particularly ugly form of drawn-out hype.
Manny Pacquiao can't get past Floyd Mayweather's defense. Floyd can't handle a barrage of dynamic power like Pacquiao brings.
Floyd's a Jerk. Manny's a juicer. Floyd's scared. Manny's a cheat.
Passionate fans from both corners have weighed in on issues from steroid suspicions to scaredy-cats. They launch jabs about why the fight should, or shouldn't happen; why it will, or wont happen.
One of the latest "reasons" this fight probably won't happen is Mayweather's demand for a larger cut of the cash. Mayweather wants a 60 percent to Pacquiao's 40.
Manny won't do this. To bend to Mayweather's will in this way would be like admitting he's an underdog—a psychological mistake. Manny's camp seems to want it 50-50.
Floyd's fans will tell you he has the pay-per-view numbers to back up the demand, and Manny's will follow with a claim that his draw brings more high rollers.
The fairest solution in my eyes is this: Winner takes 60, loser walks with 40. This way, no fighter needs to admit he's an underdog, and the winner doesn't feel gypped by walking with the same cash as his beaten counterpart.
And the fans win.
Should this fight not happen, as some analysts believe, it'll be a real bummer.
Mayweather has even been rumored to be done with boxing again. The undefeated champ, now in what seems to be the twilight of his illustrious career, could proudly hang the gloves up and never look back if he wanted.
Floyd, however, would retire knowing he dodged a certain greatness—and a huge payday—if he did. The fight that never happened would be a loss, not in the record books, but in check books of both fighters.
Manny would only be able to continue his career shadow boxing—against Floyd Mayweather's ghost. A shot at the best eluding him, Pac-Man could only tangle with Floyd in his haunted dreams.
But the biggest losers would be the fans, and boxing fans are among the best in sports.
They're of the most opinionated fans. Certain of their knowledge, they will stand toe to toe in an argument, regardless of background when it comes to their fighters. These fans aren't the type to back down.
Boxing remains the master of pay-per view events, even in the modern age with a rapidly growing UFC. To deny fans of this highly anticipated, and possibly historical match-up is bad business beyond pay-per-view.
Great title fights bring competitive families and friends over for backyard barbecues, and they're great ways to show off your huge new HDTV. A spectacle like Pacquiao-Mayweather would be a true cause for a party indeed. Potential sponsors; like Cazadores, Budweiser, Corona, and Tecate; could receive a record audience for this event, should they advertise.
If the venue is to be Las Vegas, the magnitude and multitude of gamblers drawn in by the fight would be fantastic. It could almost be worth the trip just to watch the fight in suite at the Mandalay Bay, the Mirage, or even the Flamingo—and hit the town after.
All this is mere wishful thinking if the fight never happens, and some of the best fans in all of sports will stay thirsty for a real clash of greats in an era where domination as displayed by Pacquiao and Mayweather alike, is quite rare.
So, as the negotiations progress under a gag order—may the best fans win.