If you try going up to an average sports fan and asking them about boxing and what fight they would like to see in the near future, rarely will you hear anything but Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr.
The media has hyped up this fight to a point where even those who have no general understanding of or interest in boxing know those two names and what they are all about. Talking to people and discussing this fight produces various results.
I am constantly asked when this fight will happen and why it has not happened yet.
Recently, I was asked a very interesting question by a few unrelated folks to which I could not reply with solidity or any in-depth explanation. This question, in my opinion, is not only valid, but more importantly provides an unseen parallel between Manny and Floyd.
It is important to keep in mind that this question will not generate an unbiased answer from either Pacquiao or Mayweather Jr. fanatics. Only those with clear understanding of boxing and with no personal agenda with the two fighters would be able to give a meaningful, hard-thought response.
The question that I have had to deal with in the recent past is: Will history remember both fighters as cowards?
Please don’t jump off your seats with frustration as to why the answer is not clear to me. Yes, I know of Pacquiao’s exceptional achievements in his early career and also of his less-than-impressive victories in the second half. And yes, I am well aware of Mayweather Jr.’s mind-boggling technical boxing ability with which he dominates his opposition, keeping in mind that he has been avoiding facing Pacquiao.
All this is very clear in my mind, and more than likely in yours as well.
But is it possible that they could potentially cause each others' legacy blemish just because neither made the extra effort to make the fight happen?
Fist of all, before going any further, let’s define what the term coward means. The most common definition is a person who lacks the courage to do or endure dangerous things.
If you ask me, boxers in general hardly fit into this category. Just the fact that these men go through rigorous training then lace up the gloves and walk into a closed-off ring to fight is incredibly courageous.
Having said that, I do understand what people are trying to ask me with this peculiar question. Mayweather Jr. is avoiding Pacquiao while Pacquiao is taking on uncompetitive fights. With this being figured out, how would these two be seen in the future if they retired without having faced each other?
Lately, many boxing fans have thought that Pacquiao picked up easy checks via very carefully picked fights. His opposition, starting with Miguel Cotto, has been hand-picked by Freddie Roach and the rest of the team (for maybe obvious and maybe completely puzzling reasons). While he has been fighting much bigger boxers, most of whom were legitimate champions at some point in time, his effortless and overwhelmingly dominating performances raise eyebrows and questions.
Many think and believe that he is simply that good; a once-in-a-lifetime anomaly. That could very well be true, and if so, I am humbled and happy to be witnessing this legend for myself.
Some, on the other hand, see his competition to be over the hill—stylistically at a disadvantage—and there to pick up larger checks just because they are facing a money fighter.
Why is it that there is almost no competition in his fights? Why did Clottey forget he had arms to throw? Why did Mosley play a one-sided tag game against Pacquiao?
Mayweather Jr. is no stranger to bending the rules in his favor. When facing Juan Manual Marquez, Floyd decided to play by his own rules, expecting it to be fine by everyone, which ended up being so.
Now, after numerous attempts by numerous parties, Floyd is still avoiding a fight with Pacquiao.
I cannot say why this is the case, but it seems to be clear that he is the bigger piece of the “no fight” pie. From making his own drug-testing rules to throwing blame at Pacquiao and suggesting steroid use, Floyd seems to be trying to postpone this fight as much as possible, maybe even hoping for Pacquiao to retire sometime soon, or better yet, lose.
So if this fiasco keeps dragging on until the two retire, how will these two be looked at in the far future?
Both are champions, both dominated their respective opposition and both needed each other for a career-closer. Having more fights doesn’t always make a champion better, as well as having an unblemished record doesn’t guarantee respect from the boxing community.
So where do these two stand if the fight is passed by?