When Floyd Mayweather, Jr. announced his return to the ring last May after a 21-month retirement, it was widely expected that the undefeated Mayweather would shake off the rust with 1-2 fights before a highly anticipated showdown with pound-for-pound kingpin Manny Pacquiao.
However, after handily defeating Juan Manuel Marquez and Shane Mosley within the past year, Mayweather has still not agreed to step into the ring with ‘Pac-Man’; even in the face of a deadline recently imposed by Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum.
According to ESPN.com, Arum’s deadline of 3AM ET came and went Saturday morning with no response from Floyd Mayweather, Jr. or his representatives about whether he would accept the terms of a deal for a November 13 bout with Manny Pacquiao.
Therefore, Arum will begin negotiating for another fight for his top client, which would most likely be a rematch with Miguel Cotto for the WBA Super Welterweight Championship he won from Yuri Foreman on June 5 or a bout with Antonio Margarito, who remains unlicensed in the United States because of the scandal over his hand wraps before his knockout loss to Shane Mosley last year.
Although Arum did leave open the possibility for a deal to be made, it appears that the boxing public will have to wait at least another year before the ‘Fight of the Century II’ comes to fruition.
And for those looking for a reason why terms for a Mayweather-Pacquiao bout seem impossible to finalize, a likely candidate is the second round of Mayweather’s last fight with ‘Sugar’ Shane Mosley on May 1.
Despite scoring a relatively easy unanimous decision victory, Mayweather was rocked by two solid right hands from Mosley in that second stanza that caused him to hold on for dear life at one point in the round and buckled his knees at another.
Highly regarded for his uncanny ability to avoid being hit, this was the most trouble the 33-year-old Mayweather had been in since his fight with DeMarcus Corley in 2004. Inexplicably though, Mosley miserably failed to follow up on this seminal moment and virtually handed the fight to Mayweather on a silver platter by drastically lowering his punch output the rest of the way.
In Pacquiao though, Mayweather won’t have the luxury of being able to rest on his laurels because the ‘Fighting Pride of the Philippines’ will continue to launch bombs, from all different angles, that are all capable of sending him to the canvas and forever shattering Mayweather’s aura of indestructibility.
With the blood testing issue no longer an obstacle and the richest prizefight in the history of boxing on the table, what other reasons could there be for Mayweather and his camp to avoid Pacquiao like the plague?
In any case, this game of cat-and-mouse between Mayweather and Pacquiao has grown old and tired; and it’s becoming apparent that Mayweather is the mouse who is continuing to shrink before Pacquiao’s lion-like ferociousness.
There is absolutely no doubt that Floyd Mayweather, Jr. is a great fighter, but his greatness is being steadily diminished by his continuing refusal to step into the ring with the one fighter who can define his legacy.
And until he faces Pacquiao, Mayweather’s place among the pantheon of greats in the history of boxing will always be in question.
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