Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao: Are They Real Champs or Paper Champs?

Troy SparksColumnistJanuary 9, 2011

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 13:  Manny Pacquiao (white trunks) of the Philippines is interviewed after he won against Antonio Margarito (black trunks) of Mexico during their WBC World Super Welterweight Title bout at Cowboys Stadium on November 13, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

You can define a real champion in boxing as one who consistently wins and defend his titles.  There are champs you can name, but the two most recognizable champs won't fight each other.

Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather call themselves champs because of their accomplishments over the past five years.  How many times did their wins call for a mandatory defense?

I don't care about Mayweather and Shane Mosley fighting a one-sided fight.  It wasn't interesting after the third round.

Mayweather and Mosley fought for Mosley's WBA championship belt last May.  Mayweather had no belts to put on the line.  If anything, Mayweather's win made him a paper champ in my book.

Pacquiao, who took Antonio Margarito's WBO welterweight belt last November, will put that belt on the line this May against Mosley, and it's the old guy's belt to take.  It's predicted that Pacquiao will beat Mosley and take his $15 million and the belt back.

However, Pacquiao said his challenge with Mosley will be difficult.  Really, Manny?  So if Mosley shocks the world and beats you, then he's the real champ.

Mayweather, I might add, is also a paper champ in U.S. currency because he brings in the money for HBO and the fans who pay outrageous prices to see him fight.  It's obvious that he loves flashing his cash.  I won't call him a real champ until he challenges Pacquiao and beats him.

Buster Douglas and Evander Holyfield were paper champs, and you might disagree with me.  Mike Tyson was a real champ and not much after that after his losses to Douglas and Holyfield.

Bernard Hopkins was a real champ because he defended his belts many times in the same weight class.  Pacquiao defended his belts several times, but they were in different weight classes.

Muhammad Ali was a real champ and so was Larry Holmes.  You can include Sugar Ray Leonard and Marvin Hagler in this group.  There are too many real champs in different weight classes to list in this article.

My definition of a real champ in boxing is one who wins a title belt and has to fight the next man in line and beats him to keep the belt.

Pacquiao should fight the No. 1 contender at the welterweight class to keep the WBO belt, if Mosley is the No. 1 man.  When we see these fighters picking and choosing who they want to fight, they're playing it safe. 

If Mosley took the belt from Pacquiao, would he fight the next man up, or would he go out into the sunset by retiring?

The casual and diehard boxing fans already know that the fight game has changed.  Forget about how much money the fighters make.  I want to know if the current champ can step up to the plate and defend his title.

Case in point: Timothy Bradley should've battled Amir Khan, who's ranked No. 2, instead of Devon Alexander, who's ranked below him.  If the unification belts are on the line between the two junior welterweights, the winner should have a mandatory defense.

Mayweather and Pacquiao aren't real champs at this point until they fight each other.  But, if that doesn't happen, we can only dream of what could've been. 

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