I believe a valid argument can be made that Floyd Mayweather Jr. has already defeated Manny Pacquiao - even though the fight has yet to be signed (or will ever be IMO). In the era of performance-enhancing drugs and with big name athletes like Lance Armstrong, Marion Jones, Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez testing positive for steroids, any suggestion (unfounded or warranted - *cough* Barry Bonds) will cast a cloud over the legacy of an athlete.
Tiger Woods, besides dealing with the whole sex scandal thing, has had to shake off rumblings that he is on PEDs. The Mayweathers have done the same to Manny Pacquiao by suggesting his rapid rise in weight classes the last couple of years is unprecedented and must be the result of PEDs. The ever knowledgeable Dr. Floyd Mayweather Sr, M.D. was the first to publicly accuse Pacquiao from using PEDs during the build-up to the Pacquiao/Hatton fight in 2009. Pacquiao would go on to knock the Mayweather-trained Hatton back to England via a devastating left hook at the end of the second round.
The Mayweathers' argument, as well as noted Mayweather nuthugger, Paulie Malignaggi, is that Pacquiao couldn't possibly be knocking out fighters like Oscar de La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, and Miguel Cotto without any help. But save for Hatton, Pacquiao did not knockout either de La Hoya or Cotto with one devastating punch - an accumulation of punches did them in. Pacquiao's hand speed simply overwhelmed them. Manny Pacquiao had been campaigning at super featherweight (126lbs) since 2005 and struggled to make that weight for years before moving to lightweight in 2008 and cherry picking David Diaz's WBC belt. Pacquiao walks around at a natural weight of 150lbs so has there really been a rapid rise in weight?
Where Floyd wins is by merely suggesting that Pacquiao is on something despite how reckless and unwarranted it is. It tarnishes Pacquiao's legacy - not in the eyes of the affectionately titled Flomos, who already despise Pacquiao and the Pactards, Pacquiao's RABID fan base, but in the eyes of the casual fan. The fans that would make this fight mainstream and likely the biggest PPV fight of all time. By Manny originally refusing to Floyd's demand for random drug-testing up until the day of the fight for the original date of March 13th, it took the unwarranted allegation and gave it legs.
- "If Pacquiao isn't on anything, why wouldn't he just take the test??"
- "He MUST have something to hide because for $40 million I'd take the test!"
As any victim of a rumor can attest, once a rumor is started it spreads like wildfire. The general consensus amongst the casual fan is they do not believe Manny is on any sort of PEDs, but by refusing to take the random-testing makes it suspicious. That blame falls squarely on Pacquiao's management, who have actually done more to fuel the allegations than put them out.
Is Floyd's move a b*t*h move? - ABSOLUTELY. Genius? - WITHOUT A DOUBT. If the fight never comes to fruition (which I believe is the case given the egos of both men), who will the casual fan come to blame more? Most likely the man that turned down a $40 million plus pay day to essentially clear his name by taking a drug test. With Floyd's fight with Shane Mosley nearly doing twice the PPV numbers than Pacquiao's clash with Joshua Clottey, it put another road block for this fight to ever come off. New reports of Mayweather demanding a 60-40 split just spells doom for this fight ever happening.
It's a shame too because I for one am sick of the rabid Floyd and Manny fans littering the boxing message boards and websites with racial slurs and talk of who deserves a bigger share of the Pay-Per-View numbers like they are getting a cut of the profits. Their undying support for their fighters is actually making this fight less likely from happening because it only adds to Pretty Boy and Pac-Man's egos which are already at Kanye-esque levels.
If this fight never happens shame on Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, Richard Schaeffer, Leonard Ellerbe, Bob Arum, Al Hayman and Michael Koncz from depriving the BOXING fans - not Mayweather or Pacquiao fans - from watching the two greatest fighters of their generation from fighting in the ring and from shutting up at least one group of rabid fans up permanently.