Perception is reality.
There aren’t many truer things that have been said. When it comes to boxing, perception from one fighter to the next, let alone from one fan to the next, varies wildly. So it is not such a stretch to say that if Manny Pacquiao should struggle to beat Shane Mosley in their fight on Saturday, that one of the biggest winners will be…Floyd Mayweather.
I know what I have coming with that statement, too. In the article that I wrote prior to this one, I voiced my opinion in that I wanted to see Mayweather fight, even if it were against a fighter like Paul Spadafora. Needless to say, I got more comments from that article than I did from any of my previous articles…combined. All of them were either slamming Mayweather or slamming me for my opinion.
Well, here we go.
One of the greatest things about boxing is that we can compare fighters throughout history and have legitimate debates about who would win. Of course this is possible with other sports, but it doesn’t translate as well.
Games change. Football has continually changed. Basketball has evolved.
This may be a fact and it may not, forgive me for my ignorance on this, but I think that baseballs are wound tighter so that upon impact they would travel farther. All of the changes in all of these mainstream sports were designed to make the respective games more exciting.
Usually boxing doesn’t need that. Sure, there have been some rule changes, but those were for safety. Boxing, when it comes down to it, the bottom line is "mano y mano." Two warriors enter the ring and fight for supremacy. In no sport other than a combat sport, can a truer measure of men be taken.
With all of that said, these two men, Pacquiao and Mayweather, aren’t getting into the ring against each other anytime soon, if ever. So all we have are comparisons of how each fared against common opponents.
Before I go any further, let me put it down: I know that this is why people are so angry about this situation. Because obviously, in Pacquiao and Mayweather, we’re talking about two active fighters (sporadically in Mayweather’s case) that are at the top of their game and in the same weight class. As it stands right now, it seems as though Mayweather is the one who is holding up the fight.
If Pacquiao should lose, or even if he doesn’t look spectacular in winning against Mosley, there will be people who will perceive that Mayweather is the winner. That Mayweather is superior without the dispute being resolved in the ring. One person I’m certain will perceive that is Mayweather himself. You know he will.
Perception is reality.
Mosley will be the fourth common opponent between Pacquiao and Mayweather. Both men knocked out Ricky Hatton. Mayweather did in the later rounds and Pacquiao in a brutally fast stoppage in the second. Edge: Pacquiao.
Oscar De la Hoya was beaten by both men. Mayweather won a split decision, but I honestly didn’t see anything split about it and Pacquiao forced De la Hoya to quit on his school. This isn’t nearly as cut and dry as one might think. There were rumblings that Mayweather “carried” the fight with De la Hoya so as to set up another big money rematch. But Oscar didn’t answer the bell. Slight edge: Pacquiao.
Juan Manuel Marquez was also beaten by both men. His two fights with Pacquiao were infamously close. Marquez still claims to have beaten him twice even though the official outcomes were a draw and a narrow Pacquiao victory. Mayweather simply dominated the smaller Marquez. He won every second of every round. Big edge: Mayweather.
With the outcome of Pacquiao and Mosley yet to be determined, we do know that Mayweather dominated Mosley. Outside of his big moment early in the fight, Mosley was taken to school. In this instance the edge goes to Mayweather on default.
There are a lot of ways this debate can go. There are arguments that can be made in the cases of Hatton and De la Hoya. Pacquiao obliterated them and Mayweather didn’t. Conversely, it can be said that Mayweather, by knocking out Hatton, softened him up for Pacquiao and De la Hoya was at least a year older when he fought Pacquiao.
In the case of Marquez, it can be said that Mayweather was just too big and this is why he cruised. And it can be said that Marquez is just a fighter that has Pacquiao’s number. Styles make fights and those two guys have styles and abilities that will always make for close fights.
Perception is reality.
The reality of the situation is that based on his performance against Mosley, Pacquiao will be judged against Mayweather’s performance. Right or wrong, it’s coming.
The reality also is that we shouldn’t be judging these guys against common opponents. The reality is that need to fight each other and be judged.