Fans have been waiting for years for a fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather. Unfortunately, one of the boxers is holding the other back.
A few years ago, both these fighters were at their peak. Few would argue against ranking them No. 1 and No. 2 as the best pound-for-pound boxers in the world.
After Pacquiao defeated Juan Manuel Marquez in 2011, he boosted his record up to 54-3-2, and it had been six years since his last loss. Mayweather had just knocked out Victor Ortiz, and the two welterweights would have made a perfect matchup.
ESPN's Skip Bayless even thought that the Filipino fighter would have won the bout:
It is amazing how quickly things change. Pacquiao lost a controversial decision to Timothy Bradley to give up the WBO Welterweight Championship, and he was then knocked out by Marquez.
All of a sudden, the mystique and aura surrounding the talented fighter was gone. He quickly dropped from people's minds when discussing the top boxers in the world. This would be a fight that people would want to see, but it has certainly lost steam in the past year.
Of course, the Pacquiao camp still wants this to happen. ESPN reports that Michael Koncz, the boxer's advisor, recently discussed the status of the matchup:
We're open to that fight, we've always wanted that fight. Now it's in Floyd's court because Manny himself said on our last press tour when we fought [WBO welterweight champion Timothy] Bradley that he's willing to accept less. We're willing to do the blood tests whenever and any kind of testing, as long as Floyd does the same. We're willing to give him 60% and take 40%.
It is in Mayweather's court because he is the big draw that gets to decide who he wants to fight. In reality, Pacquiao is not the best option.
By defeating Robert Guerrero, Money showed that he is still the best around. Even a long layoff did not stop him from being absolutely dominant against the interim welterweight champ. Mayweather showed a great deal of quickness and excellent precision on his punches that barely made this a battle.
As a result, he needs to raise his level of competition in his next fight. One person who would be a great challenge, as well as a big draw, would be Saul "Canelo" Alvarez. The undefeated boxer would certainly be as tough of a matchup as Mayweather could face.
More importantly, Alvarez is still on his way up after destroying Austin Trout in his latest fight. The same cannot be said about Pacquiao.
In order for the Pac-man to get back to this level, he needs to show that his latest losses were more of a fluke than anything else.
He beat Marquez twice before suffering a knockout in the latest match. A fifth installment of the rivalry could prove that he is truly the best between the two. Additionally, he could set up a rematch against Bradley to get his belt back and show that he is truly better.
Pacquiao needs to get the fan support back on his side. That will not happen by beating inferior opponents—it will only happen when he avenges one of his two losses that he suffered in the past year.
Once he returns to the top of the sport, where people believe he could challenge Mayweather, that is when the fight would be a big draw.
Until that happens, no one should question Money for avoiding the former champ.