posted on Dec, 2 2014 @ 02:08 AM
In September 2009, Floyd Mayweather re-emerged from a self imposed exile to dominate Juan Manual Marquez. Marquez had fought in two legendary battles
with Pacquiao, and was perceived by the public as the yardstick as to who would win between Floyd and the Pacman. The bookies had Floyd as an 8/5
favourite. The wisdom being that Pacquiao had went life and death with Marquez, whereas Floyd ruthlessly put him to the sword. And yet the doubt
One of the old adages in boxing is that “styles make fights” and Marquez being a counter-puncher was more suited to oppose Pacquiao’s whirlwind
style rather than Floyd’s defensive technician style. In fact Ricky Hatton, a stalking body puncher had caused Floyd some trouble whereas Pacman
decimated him in two rounds. Backers of both fighters could have been accused of hypocrisy, all-be-it in judging a hypothetical match-up.
In the following six to twelve months, both fighter’s camps traded barbs through the media but followed different paths. Floyd took on a shopworn
Shane Mosely and soundly beat him in May 2010. Pacquiao beat the living daylights out of a reluctant Joshua Clottey, the Ghanaian powerhouse, who was
absolutely huge at the welterweight limit. Pacquiao proceeded to take on Tony Margarito in November, breaking the Mexican’s orbital bone in his
skull and almost beating him into retirement. The fight was fought at a catch weight of 150lbs and it was rumoured that on fight night Margarito
outweighed Manny Pacquiao by 25lbs!
The excitement levels grew. Floyd was dominating everybody who took him on and Pacquiao was walking through champions and ex champions like they were
made of paper, despite giving up buckets of weight. It was believed that negotiations did occur at this point. Bob Arum of Top Rank and Richard
Schaefer, the Swiss business man who controlled Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy promotions, began angling for a bigger piece of the pie. HBO were
believed to be on board, the management of both fighters seemed to be on board, but it looked from the outside that the fighters were not.
Floyd and his immediate family began to raise serious questions about Pacquiao’s meteoric rise through the weight divisions, and the ominous cloud
of performance enhancing drugs hung over any deals. How was it that Pacquiao, who had suffered knock out defeats in the lower divisions, and had been
soundly outboxed by Erik Morales 130lbs, was suddenly be able to rise to Welterweight and walk through much bigger men? How was it possible for
Pacquiao to knockout guys that outweighed him by over twenty pounds on fight night, yet only three years previously, failed to do so against much
smaller men further down the divisions? This accusation caused major consternation in the Pacquiao camp and they filed a lawsuit against Mayweather
and his father. Mayweather accused Pacquiao of constantly mentioning Mayweather’s name to promote his current fights, as if to reel fans into buying
exorbitant pay-per-views against sub-par opposition on the hope that Mayweather was next.
Floyd stood down for another 16 months. The demand for the fight dissipated somewhat. Some people said that Mayweather had been chased out of the
sport by Pacquiao and that Mayweather was shamelessly ducking him to preserve his undefeated status. It didn’t deter Pacquiao. His relentless
dominance continued in the Welterweight division during Mayweather’s sabbatical, but he did seem to lose some of his sparkle. In May of 2011,
Pacquiao soundly outboxed a much faded Sugar Shane Mosley, but not in exciting fashion it must be noted. After the first round, Mosley got on his
bycicle and went into survival mode for the full 12 rounds. In November 2011, Marquez took him on for the third time and Pacquiao edged out an
unpopular decision. Some people believed that the master-boxer Mexican had done enough to take it.
Floyd came back to the fold in September of that year. He took on a young upstart, backed by Goldenboy Promotions, in Victor Ortiz. Mayweather
frustrated and outjabbed Ortiz. In the fourth round the enraged fighter of Mexican descent, head butted Mayweather, had a point deducted and was
knocked out while still in the process of apologising to Mayweather. It wasn’t popular, but Floyd was back. Slowly but surely, talk of the big fight
re-ignited. It was believed that Floyds camp offered Pacman, a straight fee of 40 million dollars to fight Floyd. Pacquiao’s camp refused demanding
a more even 55-45 split in favour of Mayweather but with a cut of the paperview. Floyd demanded drug testing but Pacman’s camp refused saying that
Manny was afraid of needles. This was plain ridiculous as the man is adorned in tattoos all over his torso, but the drug testing was seen as a way of
Floyd trying to get into Pacman’s head, basically hinting that Pacquiao was never that good and could only have beaten some of his more recent
opponents with some chemical help.
Floyd also believed that as the inheritor of Oscar De La Hoya’s title as the king of the sport, he was the guy who should get to call the shots.
Meanwhile, things took a turn for the worse for Pacquiao. He took on an unbeaten American fighter in Tim “Desert Storm” Bradley, the linear
champion at junior welterweight, at the full welterweight limit. Pacman boxed well but came up short on the scorecards in a somewhat controversial
decision. The boxing public howled in derision but I personally saw it as a draw and am comfortable with a seven five in rounds score for Bradley.
This was even worse for Pacman as Floyd had just beaten Miguel Cotto at a full 154lbs, whereas Pacman’s victory over the same opponent was somewhat
tarnished by the fact that the Pacman camp had forced Cotto down to a weight of 145lbs that surely had compromised his strength and stamina. Floyd was
now not only the recognized man at welterweight but also at 154lbs. Pacman’s stock had fallen precipitously, and his leverage had been reduced in
any negotiations that may have taken place.
In December of 2012, disaster struck again. Marquez the old enemy, was summoned for a fourth bout. The reason was that relations between Top Rank and
Golden Boy Promotions was at an all time low. Golden Boy had most of the welterweight contenders in their stable and they were managed by Al Haymon.
ThIs forced Bob Arum to recycle old opponents for Pacquiao. Not only did Pacman get knocked out by Marquez but the numbers for the Pay-Per-View
bombed. A double whammy for the Pacman camp. If Floyd had ever really wanted to fight Pacquiao, he now had the right to demand most of the money and
to rightly claim that there were more deserving opponents out there.
The final nail in the coffin arrived when out of the blue, Floyd announced that he was abandoning HBO for Showtime, and he signed a six fight deal
worth a minimum of 250 million dollars. That was it. The end of hope, the termination of dreams and desires to see two of the greatest fighter of the
last twenty years get it on.
Pacquiao took his first extended break ever on the advice of Freddy Roach and the rest of his team. The knockout loss convinced them that Pacman
needed some freshening. Meanwhile Floyd began his showtime contract with a fight against Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero. People were a little
surprised with this choice of opponent as there were four or five guys deemed more viable. Mayweather has never made any secret of his preference of
fighting fighters of Mexican descent over the Cinco De Mayo weekend, and Guerrero fit the bill nicely. Guerrero was a decent southpaw and multiple
world champion, who had soundly defeated Andre Berto prior to this fight. It turned into a mismatch though as Floyd played the matador to Guerrero’s
bull and seemed light years ahead. He outboxed him thoroughly to a landslide decision. The fight did reasonably well, but Showtime, who were at this
stage effectively Floyd’s new bosses, demanded a more challenging opponent next. In September he took on the powerful up and comer, Saul
“Canelo” Alverez. This was seen as Floyds most dangerous fight in years. A catch-weight was put in place to nullify some of the size and weight
advantages Canelo was meant to have but Canelo made the weight comfortably and entered the ring a rumoured eighteen pounds heavier than Floyd. The
result was emphatic though. Floyd turned back the clock and put on arguably his best performance since annihilating Chico Corrales a decade before. He
dominated Canelo. The bout grossed the highest earnings for any pay-per-view in the history of the sport. The Floyd-Pacquiao fight could not be
Pacquiao quietly returned to action in Macao, China that November. The emergence of Zhou Shiming had opened the gates to professional fighting in
China. Bob Arum decided to bring Pacman over to headline their event, but it was obvious to everybody that Pacman would now be only put in with guys
who suited him. Bam-Bam Rios, a fiery come forward stalker, in the mold of Tony Margarito was selected. An ideal opponent for Pacquio, and the Pacman
duly obliged by beating the brakes off of him. It was a beautiful performance by Pacquiao and a timely reminder to the world that he was still a force
to be reckoned with.
Pacquiao picked up even more momentum with a rematch with Timothy Bradley in April of this year. He thoroughly beat him and hurt Bradley numerous
times, claiming an easy victory on the cards. There was to be no controversy this time. Pacman had been earning around 20 million a fight for the last
number of years but the pay per views for his last couple had not yielded great financial numbers. Bob Arum was simply unable to secure quality
Floyd fought in May this year, in what believed was the easier choice between an Argentinian slugger called Marcus Maidana and the lightning fast
boxer puncher, Amir Kahn. He went with Maidana, supposedly due to Maidana’s victory over Adrien Broner, but really due to the style match. Maidana
proved surprisingly difficult to beat and Mayweather, in perhaps underestimating Maidana, won a steady decision rather than an emphatic one. The
numbers bombed though and Showtime weren’t happy. It was felt that due to the relative closeness of the first fight, that Maidana deserved a second
crack at Mayweather. He got it but Mayweather reverted to type and easily outboxed maidana. Yet again, the figures were marginal. Whispers started to
emerge that Mayweather was being put under serious pressure by Showtime’s parent CBS to take on more powerful opponents. They wanted a return on
their investment, and due to the Canelo fight, they knew that if Floyd got in with the right guy, money could be made.
Oscar De La Hoya had overcome personal issues and returned to oust Richard Schaefer at the helm of Goldenboy at this stage. The invigorated, former
opponent of both Floyd and Manny reached the olive branch out to Top Rank to quench the fued that existed. Bernard Hopkins, a minor shareholder in
Goldenboy and a legendary fighter in his own right, fought against Sergey Kovalev on HBO, a first sign that HBO were willing to have Goldenboy
fighters on their shows once more. Hopkins was crushed by Kovalev but in a broader sense it built the bridge needed for future events. Al Haymon the
shadowy puppeteer behind the scenes was put firmly in his place by this manoeuvre and had no choice but to allow his fighters to pursue fights on HBO
should they become available. Of course the top man on Haymons books is no other than Floyd Mayweather.
Rumours swirled around the internet and even an article appeared in the LA Times that CBS and HBO were willing to do a split show, similar to the one
done for Lennox Lewis and Michael Tyson a decade before. For once, Floyds camp didn’t shout it down and the silence was deafening. Pacman faced
Chris Algieri, a minor strap holder from a division below. The negotiators I am sure had their collective hearts in their mouths as Pacman squared off
against this stylish athletic technician from New York, who had toughed out an incredible victory against Pacquiao’s stablemate, Ruslan Provodnikov.
They need not have worried as Pacman never took his eye off the ball despite all of the rumours circulating about Floyd. He hammered Algieri on an
embarrassing scoreline, winning a comprehensive shutout and dropping the young American six times en route.
Pacman immediately called out Floyd. Floyd did not say no.
This is where we stand currently. The negotiations are ongoing but by all accounts, they are still positive. The split is a rumoured 100 million
guaranteed for Floyd and 60 million guaranteed for Pacquiao. The Pacman camp are purportedly willing to concede on all matters, such as drug testing,
the weight the fight will be fought at, the ring size, the glove type, the referees and even the judges. The MGM has played host to Floyd for most of
the last fifteen years, but it is believed that the Dallas Cowboys stadium will be the venue for this one.
Floyd is arguably one of the greatest defensive technicians of all time. Pacquiao is probably one of the most devastating attacking fighters of all
time. Both are near the end of their careers. Both have a legacy that will go down in the history books.
This could be the greatest fight of all time.
If they can agree terms.