WRITER'S NOTE: This article was first published in December 2008. Since then, it has received over 40,000 reads to date, a number I am amazed with. Since then, Manny Pacquiao has won belts in two weight classes and destroyed two of the best fighters and belt holders in those respective divisions, in Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto. In this writer's eyes, Pacquiao has gone beyond the realm of what was previously accepted as the general rule in boxing - weight matters - and by emphatically proving that he can fight anyone within a 20 pound range, deserves the chance to face Mayweather. It is indeed, the only fight left for the Filipino sensation at this point in his career. ~B.Baller
Original article as follows:
Fresh off the heels of Manny Pacquiao's destruction of Oscar De La Hoya, the number of calls for a Mayweather-Pacman duel has been escalating.
Since Mayweather was the previous "best pound for pound" fighter to knock off the Golden Boy, who better than the Money Man to come out of his early retirement for surely one of the bigger guaranteed paydays ever seen and challenge the Filipino tornado at the 147-pound class?
I don't like the sound of it one bit.
Full disclosure: I am not a Mayweather fan. While I am in awe of Mayweather's talents as a ring master, I have never been that impressed with his wins. Certainly, his record alone gets him a Hall of Fame vote, but I come from the old school of fight fans, and I like it when a fighter, especially a well paid one, actually "fights" in the ring.
Mayweather is deceptive, sly, quick, and a master of using the ring and his hands to tie up other boxers. But other than a few rounds throughout his career, I have never seen him use his hands or actually engage his opponent in a fight.
Modern guys like Hatton, Pacquiao, and Calzaghe bring the crowd to their feet with punching exhibitions that make grown men cry. We, as fight fans, want to see that our guy can not only dole out punishment, but actually take a punch or two in the name of pugilistic glory.
That's not Mayweather. Floyd Jr. prefers to dance and outpoint his opponents, and while there is nothing wrong with this, it makes for boring fights.
Now, all those who think Mayweather should come out of retirement to face Pacquiao are in for a big letdown. First, Mayweather will not fight Pacquiao. Not in the Mickey Ward-Arturo Gatti sense of the word. After watching Pac's clinical beatdowns of Diaz and now De La Hoya, the last thing Floyd Jr. wants is face is that kind of barrage.
In order for Mayweather to avoid being an "Oscar-like" punching bag, he will stay on his bicycle and pedal his way around the ring. On those few occasions that he'll be forced to engage, he'll use his full arsenal of clinching, arm-locking, and rope hugging to keep Pacquiao from unleashing any kind of combination.
We saw him do this to Hatton, and ultimately led to Hatton making a mistake in frustration. Floyd Jr. is certainly quick enough and, to the dismay of true fight fans, talented enough to avoid Pacman for 12 solid rounds.
Second, should Mayweather take this fight, he risks his perfect record, a rarity for someone with so many fights. Instead of going into the history books with an unblemished record, he'll have that one loss as a constant reminder that maybe he should have stayed retired.
Many of us hoop junkies cringed when Michael Jordan chose to water down his legacy rather than ride off into the proverbial sunset with that image of hitting the game winner against Utah.
Yes, Mayweather can stay retired, invest the millions he's already made, and look back on a perfect career punctuated with a win against Britain's best on the biggest stage. OR, he can risk notching his first loss against a fighter in his prime, a country's hero, and the sport's fastest rising star.
If money was the only issue, than sure, this fight makes all kinds of dollars and sense. Money Mayweather and the Filipino Cash Machine would rake it in, eight figure paydays and specials on HBO. Mayweather's name would be in the spotlight again, and once again, people will tune in to hear what the Money Man has to say.
As Mayweather's accountant, I would tell him to take the fight. As a fan of the game, I can only hope he'd rather dance with the stars than play Pacman. Stay retired, enjoy your riches and your fame, and let a couple of real fighters entertain the masses.
Pacquiao versus Hatton, 2009. Now that's got a ring to it.