It’s the only mass appeal mainstream fight out there in boxing, yet Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather may never get in the ring with one another. As time passes, as their careers wind down, and the skill level of the two future Hall of Fame fighters gradually erodes, it’s becoming more and more apparent that Pacquiao and Mayweather may never meet in the ring.
Here are five reasons why fight fans and sports fans alike may never see Pac-Man and Money May meet.
5. Mayweather’s fear of jeopardizing his undefeated record
Money nuthugs that ‘0’ on his record so dearly you would think he sleeps with it. At one time in his career, Mayweather was willing to take on anyone. In 2001, Mayweather destroyed the late Diego Corrales, pounded Carlos Hernandez and ran over Jesus Chavez. The trio had a combined record of 101-3-1, and were very live opponents, especially Corrales.
In 1998, Mayweather, just 17 fights into his pro career, beat the late, great Genaro Hernandez and followed that up by defeating Angel Manfredy. Again, two exceptional fighters at the time who were capable of beating Mayweather. He now seems to be carrying the Roy Jones career playbook, which states: Tease the public with name fighters at or near the end of their careers and cash in.
Though still quite able to beat anyone in the world, Mayweather hasn't fought anyone remotely close to their prime—and capable of beating him—since 2002 when he took on WBC lightweight world champion Jose Luis Castillo. During the last few years, his lineup card has been filled with fighters like De La Hoya, who was 3-4 in his last seven fights, and the shot Shane Mosley, who is 2-3-1 in his last six fights. Ricky Hatton was terribly exposed by Mayweather, Juan Manuel Marquez was severely outsized, and Victor Ortiz not mature enough to endure Mayweather’s heat.
Mayweather’s lost his thirst for the kill. He’s stopped just two of last seven opponents—one with his hands down trying to buddy up to him.
Mayweather has looked for every excuse conceivable in jeopardizing any real challenge like Pacquiao, though Money would probably easily beat Pac-Man. It’s too bad Money doesn’t believe it.
4. Pacquiao’s imminent retirement into politics
Freddy Roach, Pacquiao’s esteemed Hall of Fame trainer, once said, “Manny wants to be President of the Philippines. To him, that would be bigger, and better than anything he’s done in the ring. And he still has a lot to do.”
That was in 2008, after Pacquiao defeated Juan Manuel Marquez the second time.
The seed of Pacquiao’s political aspirations have certainly taken root. He’s a member of the Philippines House of Congress, and you could argue that his political commitments hurt his training for the last Marquez fight, where Pac-Man’s timing and endurance seemed off.
One thing is certain. Pacquiao will retire into a life of Filipino politics. The question is how quickly will that happen? How much longer is he willing to wait for Mayweather? The clock has been ticking for years.
3. Mayweather’s delusional purse split/attitude
This is an area that can fall under a variety of topics. For one, Mayweather’s behavior outside the ring has earned him a three-month stay in county prison, where he is scheduled to report on June 1. Secondly, he’s not willing to give Pacquiao, an international star who’s just as large a pay-per-view cash cow as Mayweather, a 50-50 purse split.
There’s no way the fight happens without an equal purse-share.
Mayweather believes, in his small, insular world, that he’ll be the driving force behind the megafight. Both will be. If Mayweather continues to push for the uneven split, this serves as just another wedge between the fight “everyone wants to see” happening, and the fight actually happening.
It’s an excuse that goes on the shelf with Mayweather’s Olympic-style drug testing demand, and the time when Pacquiao’s people and HBO were saying the two sides were negotiating to make the fight, and Mayweather’s people insisted there were no talks (yes, it gets that childish).
2. Top Rank President Bob Arum doesn’t want to drop his golden goose.
If Bob Arum can keep filling Cowboys Stadium and feeding Manny Pacquiao Top Rank fighters like Juan Manual Marquez, Shane Mosley, Antonio Margarito, Joshua Clottey, Miguel Cotto and hauling in nice paydays and keep his golden goose Pacquiao afloat, why risk fighting Mayweather?
It was Arum, after all, that launched Mayweather, and it was Money that broke away from Arum in a very public, acrimonious split early in Money’s career. Sure, a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight could potentially bring in the greatest sum of money in boxing history, but what happens when Pacquiao loses? Where does Top Rank go from there? Who’s their next money man (actually Nonito Donaire is a Top Rank fighter and probably the next boxing superstar, but lacks brand recognition in the United States—through no fault of his own)?
Arum is too smart to let that happen. Not with Pacquiao holding maybe two more good fights in him. Arum knows the wear and tear on his most-prized fighter. Arum also knows Mayweather is a much more fresh fighter, who has not be in nearly as many wars as Pac-Man, based partly on Pacquiao’s style, but additionally based on how well Mayweather has preserved himself with his low-risk defensive style. Fighting just three times since 2008 doesn’t hurt, either.
This is hardly a secret, too: Arum still can’t stand Mayweather. Or at least the people that surround Mayweather today, namely Golden Boy Promotions and Mayweather’s myriad hangers-on. It was Mayweather that fueled that dislike recently by taking a jab at Arum when Money relayed a conversation to Pacquiao claiming he was “in control” on his side, but Pac-Man had to get on the same page as “his promoter.” Meaning Arum.
Arum no doubt laughed. He moved on—as he has been, and as he will continue to without Mayweather, still cashing in big. Pacquiao is scheduled to fight Tim Bradley on June 9th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. By then, Mayweather may be hearing about the results in his Clark County Detention Center cell.
1. The fight is already past the sell-buy date
It was a topic broached last month when Ken Hershman, the new head of HBO Sports who left the same job at Showtime right down the street, addressed a gathering of boxing media. Hershman put a date of roughly early 2013 for the sports buying public to lose further interest in a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight.
There have been so many close calls before, only to have something tear the fight apart. It covers the gamut, from Mayweather demanding Olympic-style drug testing take place, considering Pacquiao is deathly afraid of needles and the only performance-enhancing drug Pac-Man has ever taken is listening to trainer Freddie Roach and cutting down his partying, to the numerous messy communication breakdowns that have ensued between the two main parties, Top Rank, which promotes Pacquiao and Mayweather’s promotion team.
The fight is still big money—if it ever happens.
Though it was a much more marketable fight in 2009, pushed by Pacquiao’s annihilation of Oscar De La Hoya. Pac-Man’s victory over Golden Boy in December 2008 catapulted the Filipino dynamo into a new ultra-stratum internationally. By then, Mayweather had already defeated a game, more competitive De La Hoya in May 2007, which gave Money cross-over star appeal and made a Mayweather-Pacquiao 2009 showdown a fight for the ages.
It never evolved.
Regrettably, both now have diminished skills. Pacquiao just got by Juan Manuel Marquez a third time last November, and Mayweather is looking at a possible six months in jail for domestic abuse charges, after his May 5 fight with the shopworn Miguel Cotto.
Are these two fighters anywhere close to where they were in 2009? Without a doubt, no.
As time continues, a large public sigh seems to grow more audible—who cares!
Think about it: If Pacquiao and Mayweather never fight, will either of their legacies be impacted? No. They’re both Hall of Famers who will go down as the greatest fighters of their generation. Their legacies are well cemented.