Manny Pacquiao: What He Can Do To Make Us Forget About Mayweather
Manny Pacquiao is widely regarded as the top pound-for-pound fighter in boxing. All of his accomplishments and accolades ought to make him seem untouchable.
Yet he also can't ignore the giant elephant in the room: settling terms on a fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
The media fallout left both parties scarred. But Pacquiao arguably got the brunt of the backlash: especially after the first failed fight negotiations.
The war of words hurt his image somewhat. But he's well within his power to do something about it.
Here's a collection of avenues Manny can take in order to keep everyone's mind off of Floyd.
Granted, he's playing with the idea of retirement so most of these options won't bode well for a boxer on his way out.
But turning down the following opportunities may not be the best move in terms of solidifying his legacy.
With that said, the following steps could help keep fans interested in Manny if well executed.
Play The Media Game Better
Floyd and his camp had great media control over the failed negotiations' aftermath the first time around. They made Manny look like he ran and that made him look like a villain.
Meanwhile, Floyd looked like the aggressor and while the aftermath of the second run was ugly, he arguably came out of it without the same level of criticism Manny got the first time around. .
At the same time, most folks didn't get to see a picture of what went on behind the scenes from Manny's point of view.
He and his camp were constantly on the defensive and were misconstrued.
In retaliation, Manny ought to cement an image as a level-headed personality and properly defend himself when the time is right.
He may have done that during the proceedings, but that got lost in translation, which leads to the next step.
Explain What Happened
This is a double-edged sword. If Manny states what occurred from his point of view in a nationally-televised interview, he could look like he's dwelling in the past.
That would fan the flames and give the misinformed more ammo against him.
Then again he can vindicate himself from charges like the infamous "afraid of needles" fiasco and make Floyd and Golden Boy look like the weak link...if he nails it.
That could diminish Floyd's image if he pulls it off. Pacquiao's capable of sharing his side of the story all while making Floyd look like he's the one who ran: especially in the second set of negotiations.
The media and fans alike seem to forget or flat-out disregard some of the shadier stipulations behind the deal; like the point where Pacquiao agreed to the random screenings, whereas Floyd just had to sign off on the contract.
Obviously, the intricacies of that arrangement stem further than that. But giving the aforementioned specifics on national television would bring light to the situation and help sway public opinion to Manny's favor.
Knock Out Boxers Again, Starting With Margarito
It's been some time since Manny had a good 'ol fashioned knockout under his belt. It's especially alarming since he initially made his name by decimating fighters left and right.
Dropping Margarito would bring more excitement back to Manny's name and he's capable of laying him out on the canvas.
More importantly he'd win his eighth title in his eighth division in convincing fashion.
A TKO would suffice if that's what becomes of the fight. But we're long overdue for another Pacquiao/Hatton performance or at least a Pac-Man/Cotto-like showing.
The Clottey fight wasn't anything to scream about despite the win. It was especially disheartening since Pac outclassed him in every way.
With that said, Manny has to redeem himself with a dominating exhibition in his next bout.
Don't Do Pacquaio/Cotto II
Top Rank would be that bold to entertain a Cotto/Pac-man rematch. But it'd be a waste of time for fans since Cotto just can't hang with Manny.
Miguel may have heart, but he lacks the skills needed to be a sizable threat against Manny. But of course, this'll probably happen.
Both parties got nice checks, and there aren't many noteworthy names in the light middleweight/super welterweight division.
Manny has nothing to gain from this likely win. Cotto has nothing to gain except another beat down.
It's best for Manny to move on and fight more challenging boxers for higher stakes, more prize money and, in interest of this article, to occupy viewers attention with highly publicized bouts not featuring Pretty Boy Floyd.
Fight Paul Williams
Manny looked suspect to some when he turned down Paul Williams' initial proposal. It's understandable from a exposure and money making perspective since Williams isn't a household name.
But he's a worthy opponent that needs an eye catching challenge. And since such competition is in short supply at the light heavyweight division, Pac-man might as well humor Williams if he wants to uphold his rep as the best pound-for-pound fighter.
A fight with Paul Williams could be one of the most interesting fights in Manny's career.
Williams provides a unique challenge for Manny as a tall, long out-boxer. Manny hasn't seen a fighter of his physical stature yet so it'd be a matchup worth watching.
Or, if he's in need of a more difficult challenge he could face off with the following Argentinean boxer.
Fight Sergio Martinez
A fight with Sergio Martinez would be especially entertaining since they're both fast and powerful fighters.
This match could be quite challenging for Manny since Sergio's punches have power that Manny hasn't seen in his career.
Pac's stamina is seemingly second to none. But it'd be put to the test unless Manny drops him early.
This bout would be tougher to pull of since Martinez just jumped to Middleweight. Additionally he recently vacated his light middleweight title to keep his middleweight crown.
Sergio likely wouldn't drop his title again just fight Manny in a lower class and potentially end up without a belt to show for it.
Thus moving up to middleweight would be the temporary, yet dangerous, way to go for Pacquiao should he entertain this fight. It's also a tall order for Pacman since his weight seems set in the mid 140s. But he'd set another major milestone in his career if he won a title in yet another weight class.
Give Floyd an Offer He Can't Refuse...
I'm far from a negotiating specialist. But it's not hard to lure someone into a trap with the right setup.
For instance, It'd be hard for Mayweather to turn away if Top Rank baited him and Golden Boy into a deal where both fighters would get Olympic-level drug tests, have a guaranteed rematch clause and be paid handsomely.
I'm oversimplifying things but those are the basic principles Pacquiao and Floyd need to close on.
Think about it like this. If Floyd agrees to it, then we can finally see the fight of the decade under fair conditions for both fighters.
If Floyd leaves the offer on the table, he won't live it down, and the blame will be on him and his team.
Then Manny can look like the bigger man when the dust clears.
Meanwhile, people would disregard Floyd and his claims in due time if the details behind the fight were widely considered as equal.
...And Beat Him In Convincing Fashion
A split decision in Manny's favor won't do the trick. He has to go above and beyond in this match to show just how much better he is than Pretty Boy Floyd.
A knockout would be a tall order for Manny since Floyd has great defense.
Also, Manny arguably has more to lose in this matchup since he's widely considered as the world's best boxer.
So he can't let Mayweather win let alone dance on him like he's any old fighter.
The ball would be in Pac-man's court to make a statement about where he stands. A TKO would be enough, but a straight up knockout would catapult Pac to new heights.
Then he'd be the best with no strings attached and Floyd's image will diminish in the process.
That is, until the inevitable sequel...