There is no denying that the biggest story in the boxing community today is the ongoing saga surrounding the possible bout between Floyd 'Money' Mayweather, Jr. and Manny 'Pacman' Pacquiao. Seemingly a match made in heaven, the back-and-forth demands and verbal jabs between the two sides have been making it more and more difficult for both sides to reach compromise. But a few days ago, Mayweather streamed a video on Ustream that could potentially throw another wrench into negotiations.
The Story So Far
After Mayweather pummeled Juan Manuel Marquez for 12 rounds and Pacquiao bludgeoned Cotto into a forced TKO in the 12th round last year, the next logical step was a meeting between arguably the top two pound for pound boxers in the world. 2010 was supposed to be the year of this so-called superfight.
But the fight itself proved elusive.
During their initial negotiations for a bout that was supposed to be set in March, 2010, negotiations between the two sides broke down over the issue of a cutoff date for random drug testing, which is not mandated by the Nevada Athletic Commission. So they went their separate ways, with Pacquiao beating Joshua Clottey in a painfully boring war of attrition and Mayweather demolishing Mosley in a superb demonstration of defense and counterattacking.
After their respective fights, hope again sprang anew, with negotiations between the two parties seemingly going smoothly. But what seemed like good faith talks and nearly a done deal in June deteriorated as Bob Arum's self-imposed mid-July deadline came and went without a peep and news surfaced with Mayweather's team claiming that no negotiations occurred.
'Money' Mayweather Runs his Mouth
With a date already set in stone and no Mayweather fight in sight, Pacquiao decided to pick a different opponent and square off against shamed former WBO, IBF, and WBA Welterweight champion Antonio Margarito in Arlington, Texas on Nov. 13 in Jerry Jones' beautiful new Cowboys Stadium. Meanwhile, Mayweather has either created more problems for the fight or poured fuel to the fire when he unwisely ran his mouth during an expletive-filled and sometimes racist diatribe streamed live on Ustream.
In the aftermath of that expletive-laden tirade and subsequent apology, the boxing world is abuzz because of Mayweather's actions. Some experts think that it's all bravado and just Floyd being Floyd while others think he took it maybe a step too far, and that some of the racist comments could alienate fans.
But the buzz created by this seemingly ill-timed rant is definitely stoking the fire underneath the Filipino fighter's rabid fan base, if not Pacquiao himself, and could prove to be an excellent tactic for promoting a future fight. After all, this was a tactic employed many times by the great Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay).
Having said that, the video could be one of, if not the biggest stumbling block to making the fight. For all anyone knows, it could be the final straw that breaks the camel's back.
Pacquiao dismissed the tirade as an "uneducated message", having watched the video twice himself. After hearing Floyd Mayweather, Sr.'s accusations that he (Pacquiao) uses performance enhancing drugs (PED), and Roger Mayweather's confident assertions that no one can keep up with his nephew, this can understandably be seen as just another provocation from the Mayweather camp.
Assuming Pacquiao beats Margarito — and that is no foregone conclusion by any means — the more important question will be whether this last tirade will prove to be that final straw that destroys the highly-anticipated once-in-a-lifetime Mayweather-Pacquiao matchup.
Mayweather Vs. Pacquiao
It may not quite be hyperbole to say that the present and future of boxing lies solely in the hands of these two pugilists.
On one hand, you have an undefeated champion who has won belts in five different weight classes. He is a master defense with an unquestionably uncanny hand and foot speed. What he lacks in knockout wins, he makes up for in pure technical boxing and beautiful dodges and slips. He has proven his worth time and again, demolishing anything and anyone in his path. At his best, he could probably put up a good fight against the greats like 'Marvelous' Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns, and 'Sugar' Ray Robinson.
On the other hand, you have a seven-weight-class champion who started off fighting at flyweight (106 lbs) and is now fighting light middleweight (154 lbs.), with an astonishing leap of weight over the years. In fact, it is because he has managed to maintain his speed while improving his strength and gaining weight so astonishingly quickly that prompted the Mayweathers to question his use of PEDs.
The outcome is far from inevitable. Both fighters are at the pinnacle of their respective disciplines within boxing, one a master of offense and the other a defensive stalwart. Their speeds match up very well even if their style is different. It would be a perfect demonstration of boxing and a great spectacle to behold.
The whole boxing community wants this epic matchup to happen, and with a little luck and some concessions from each side, it should happen. With so much hope, sweat, and tears invested into this, let's just hope Mayweather's keeps it classy and doesn't prevent it from happening with his sometimes-unpredictable actions.