Floyd Mayweather Jr. is facing a lot of doubt from the boxing world.
People across the sport's landscape think that Mayweather is scared to fight Manny Pacquiao,
I can't say I blame him after what Pacquiao did to Antonio Margarito last Saturday.
But believe it or not, there are widespread rumors that Mayweather's recent run-ins with the law are a means of him avoiding a potential fight with Pacquiao.
Really? Yeah, that's what some are saying.
The thought is that getting arrested keeps up Mayweather's street cred while also giving him a legitimate excuse to dodge the fight that everyone wants to see.
So is it true? Is Pacquiao really putting his freedom in jeopardy just so he won't have to fight Pacquiao?
The hype for a potential showdown between these two boxers hit an all-time high when Mayweather appeared on USTREAM in a racist rant directed toward Pacquiao.
Mayweather babbled on for several minutes in an incoherent speech that was offensive to the entire Filipino nation and showed just how much Mayweather likes to run his mouth.
Well, there's an old saying: You can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?
It's easy to sit behind a computer screen and say whatever comes to your mind. Any third-grader can do that.
But it's a completely different ballgame when it comes to backing that talk up inside the ring.
In most boxing circles, it seems like a foregone conclusion that Pacquiao would win this fight.
After all, we just saw him take down Antonio Margarito, and his victory is still fresh in our minds.
But there are no absolute certainties in boxing, and Mayweather can win this fight.
Everyone talks about how Mayweather is opposed to making this fight happen because he will lose.
I'm pretty sure that, unless you're a psychic, you have no idea who would actually win, and I don't see Ms. Cleo anywhere around here.
There have been recent rumblings that Pacquiao is on the verge of retiring to concentrate more on his duties as a member of the Filipino Congress.
What does that mean? Does he have two, three, four years left?
We just don't know at this point.
But the more that Mayweather postpones this fight, the less likely it is to happen.
Eventually, it has to get to the point where Mayweather ducks the fight so long that it will lose most of its significance.
And that could be exactly what "Money" is trying to do.
I'm certainly not Mayweather's personal financial adviser, but even if the guy's pissed most of his money away like a drunk at a strip club, there's no way he's almost broke.
He calls himself "Money" for a reason.
And at this point, he's already dedicated much of his life to the sport of boxing and made a good living in the process.
Simply put, it might not be worth the hours upon hours of training for Mayweather to make an extra $20 million (or whatever he'll make) and put everything he's ever worked for on the line in one single fight.
His ego's worth more than that money.
When Mayweather retired, it was because he had already accomplished seemingly everything that he could have done inside the ring.
Then along came Pacquiao, who had obviously been around but hadn't risen to the level that he's at now.
Well, the second that Mayweather realized he was on the verge of being forgotten, he returned to boxing.
Yet, he's somehow still managed to avoid a Mayweather-Pacquiao showdown.
It's the fight he clearly needs to prove his doubters wrong, but it's also the fight he doesn't want.
It's easy for me to sit here and call Mayweather a coward for trying to avert potential disaster in a bout with Pacquiao.
But the fact remains that Mayweather has put together a stellar boxing career (even if it can be considered incomplete).
He doesn't have to step into the ring with anyone at this point.
Mayweather has 41 wins and zero losses. It's his call whether he wants to risk that.
This wouldn't be the first time Mayweather tried to come up with a reason to escape a potential fight with Pacquiao.
Of course we all remember the entire stricter blood-testing fiasco, which Mayweather wanted but Pacquiao didn't.
Some say this looked bad for Pacquiao, but Mayweather could have easily compromised if he really wanted to make this mega-fight happen.
But he didn't, and that was excuse No. 1.
All right, Mayweather may not want to have any part of Pacquiao inside the ring.
But getting in trouble with the law and potentially going to prison to dodge the fight? Who does that?
It's one thing to tuck your tail in between your legs because you're afraid of losing, but it's a completely different thing to do something as idiotic as getting charged with a felony to protect your pride.
No matter how much Mayweather doesn't want to fight Pacquiao, I find it extremely hard to believe that he'd do something that ridiculous for a ticket out of the bout.
Though there is widespread belief that Pacquiao is the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world, Mayweather can claim one thing that Pacquiao can't: He's undefeated.
Mayweather's never been beaten, so he can stake a legitimate claim to being the world's best fighter.
But if he agrees to a fight with Pacquiao and doesn't win (or even worse, gets dominated), he instantly loses what he's worked for his entire career.
Mayweather probably comes across as a coward to most, but it might just be good sense.
Based on everything Mayweather has done recently, most of us assume that he is afraid of Pacquiao the boxer.
Yet hardly anyone every mentions that he might simply be afraid to step in the ring, period.
Fear is human nature. I feel it. You feel it. Mayweather feels it. Even Pacquiao feels it.
Is Mayweather scared right now? Probably so.
But it may be because of all he has riding on his next fight: his legacy, his perfect record, his pride...rather than his opponent.
From his own perspective, Mayweather doesn't need this fight.
He's compiled an undefeated record, and risking that now would erase a lot of what he's worked for throughout his career.
But with all the smack talking on his part and his demands for rigorous blood testing, Mayweather has earned the reputation of a coward, someone who loves to talk up his game but then fails to deliver.
The only way that Mayweather can silence his doubters and stop all of the criticism is to actually step foot in the ring and go toe-to-toe with Pacquiao.
Even if he loses, he'll gain the respect of plenty of boxing fans who thought he was too scared.
However, this is Mayweather we're talking about, and I'm not sure he cares very much what other people think.
He'll avoid this fight because a loss damages his flawless career between the ropes.
And that, my friends, shows that Mayweather is indeed dodging this fight.
The Verdict: Yes, Mayweather is putting on a front to avoid Pacquiao.