After Manny Pacquiao was awarded a controversial decision victory over Juan Manuel Marquez on Saturday night, the first question that he was asked is if he wants to fight Floyd Mayweather.
It was an obvious question, but a better one is how can Mayweather not be licking his chops right now?
Pacquiao's response to the question was, "Let's get it on. Let's make the fight happen and give the people a good fight." (per ESPN.com's Dan Rafael).
It was a typical Pacquiao response because he is the quintessential babyface in a sport that is filled with easy-to-hate characters.
But Mayweather had to be watching this fight and thinking that all the hype that Pacquiao has gotten is ridiculous. He probably thinks that anyway, but he had a valid reason to think that last night.
Rafael said it best in his post-fight column on ESPN.com when he wrote that Mayweather's tongue was probably hanging out of his mouth watching Marquez pound on Pacquiao.
The win, however, probably keeps alive the prospect of a showdown between Pacquiao and fellow welterweight titlist Floyd Mayweather Jr., who ought to be licking his chops if he took time out to watch his rival struggle more than he has at any time since he edged Marquez in a 2008 junior lightweight championship fight -- which came four years after Pacquiao and Marquez fought to a draw in a featherweight title fight at the MGM Grand.
Marquez implemented a Mayweather-esque counterpunch style that gave Pacquiao all sorts of problems, and nearly resulted in one of the biggest upset victories in boxing history.
Mayweather destroyed Marquez and his counterpunching when they fought two years ago, and seeing Pacquiao struggle against it had to make Mayweather feel like his perfect record is no danger at all.
Pacquiao's reputation has taken a hit in light of the controversial ending to this fight, and he will do anything that he can to get that back.
Is Manny Pacquiao More or Less Likely To Fight Floyd Mayweather After This Fight?
There is a long way to go before a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight takes place and a lot of issues that have to be settled between the two, but it is obvious that now is the time for the superfight to happen.
It appeared the only thing preventing such a dream match-up is Mayweather's fear of Pacquiao's speed and precise striking, but as Marquez exposed last night, he can be had against defensively aggressive fighters.
There is no fighter in the world that uses defense to his advantage more than Mayweather does, and he is better than Marquez at this stage of the game. The only question left is if he can resist the temptation of a $50 million purse, which is likely what he would get if the dream fight ever happens.