Boxing needs Pacquiao-Mayweather showdown

Kevin Iole
Yahoo Sports

With each man likely to be paid as if he were a Wall Street CEO, money shouldn't be a factor in preventing a bout between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. sometime in the spring of 2010 in the ultimate boxing showdown.

The fight will undoubtedly be the largest-grossing bout in history and might be the most anticipated since Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier met for the first time at New York's Madison Square Garden on March 8, 1971.

If a fight against each other is not the next bout for Mayweather and Pacquiao, each ought to retire. The public and media outrage will be enormous and the very credibility of the sport will be threatened.

Rarely does the public have an appetite for a bout like it does this one. You have two men in the same division, each with a stake to the mythical status as boxing's best fighter while each is in his prime.

They're both also at the height of their earning powers and will make so much money they'll make Alex Rodriguez envious.

The repercussions will be enormous if the bout is not made. Boxing will look like a second-rate sport – and deservedly so – if the biggest fight and the one the fans most want to see is not made. "Consolation" bouts like ones pitting Mayweather against Shane Mosley or Pacquiao against Juan Manuel Marquez, simply won't cut it.

Mayweather, in particular, will be crucified if a deal isn't reached. Fairly or unfairly (depending upon whom you speak to), Mayweather has been ridiculed for avoiding tough competition since 2003. Mayweather moved up to lightweight in 2002 and instantly took on Jose Luis Castillo, who at the time was regarded as the world's best 135-pounder.

Mayweather defeated Castillo in controversial fashion in their first bout that year, then beat him clearly in their second. Since then, however, Mayweather has been questioned about his choice of opponents.

He's fought 11 times since 2003 and Marquez, whom he routed in September, is the only one of those who was widely regarded as one of the world's 10 best pound-for-pound fighters.

There was, though, a problem with that. Even though Marquez was ranked No. 2 by many polls, including Yahoo! Sports, going into the Mayweather fight, he was moving up from lightweight to face Mayweather at welterweight. Thus the win didn't carry the same significance for many that it would have had he beaten a legitimate, world-class welterweight like Pacquiao did with Cotto.

If promoters Bob Arum of Top Rank and Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy are unable to come to terms for a Pacquiao-Mayweather bout, the brunt of the blame, whether it's deserved or not, will fall on Mayweather's shoulders. He'll look like he's running again.

But Pacquiao needs to fight Mayweather, too. He's had to deal with questions about each of his past four opponents, as he's made his march up from the super featherweight division.

He needs to defeat an in-his-prime star like Mayweather to end all doubts.

Bottom line, each needs the other and boxing needs the fight.

Pacquiao's dynamic 12th-round stoppage of Miguel Cotto on Nov. 14 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena resonated with the 31 voters in the Yahoo! Sports poll. Pacquiao was slightly ahead of Mayweather in October's poll, though Mayweather actually received two more first-place votes.

After Pacquiao's destruction of Cotto, though, it became a landslide for the Filipino superstar. Pacquiao received 27 first-place votes among the 31 cast. The other four went to Mayweather.

It's Pacquiao-Mayweather ahead of the November Yahoo! Sports poll, and it's likely to stay that way until they meet – hopefully – next year.



1. Manny Pacquiao
Points: 306 (27 of 31 first-place votes)
Record: 50-3-2 (38 KOs)
Title: WBO welterweight champion
Last outing: TKO12 over No. 10 Miguel Cotto on Nov. 14
Previous ranking: 1
Up next: Negotiations for 2010 fight with No. 2 Floyd Mayweather
Analysis: A Pacquiao-Mayweather fight would be richest bout ever



2. Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Points: 254 (4 of 31 first-place votes)
Record: 40-0 (25 KOs)
Title: None
Last outing: W12 over No. 5 Juan Manuel Marquez on Sept. 19
Previous ranking: 2
Up next: Hopefully against Pacquiao in 2010
Analysis: Will have much to prove if he gets in the ring with Pacquiao



3. Paul Williams
Points: 213
Record: 37-1 (27 KOs)
Title: WBO junior middleweight champion
Last outing: W12 over Winky Wright on April 11
Previous ranking: 3
Up next: Vs. Sergio Martinez on Dec. 5 in Atlantic City, N.J.
Analysis: Still wants a big name at welterweight



4. Shane Mosley
Points: 208
Record: 46-5 (39 KOs)
Title: WBA welterweight champion
Last outing: TKO9 over Antonio Margarito on Jan. 24
Previous ranking: 4
Up next: Vs. Andre Berto on Jan. 30 in Las Vegas
Analysis: Hopes to get into Pacquiao or Mayweather sweepstakes with a win



5. (tie) Bernard Hopkins
Points: 152
Record: 49-5-1 (32 KOs)
Title: None
Last outing: W12 over Kelly Pavlik on Oct. 18, 2008
Previous ranking: 7
Up next: Dec. 2 vs. Enrique Ornelas in Philadelphia
Analysis: Will rematch Roy Jones Jr. in 2010 with a win and a Jones win over Danny Green


J.M. Marquez

5. (tie) Juan Manuel Marquez
Points: 152
Record: 50-5-1 (37 KOs)
Title: WBA, WBO lightweight champion
Last outing: L12 to No. 2 Floyd Mayweather Jr. on Sept. 19
Previous ranking: 5
Up next: Nothing scheduled
Analysis: Will get Pacquiao if Pacquiao-Mayweather negotiations fall through



7. Chad Dawson
Points: 99
Record: 28-0 (17 KOs)
Title: Interim WBC light heavyweight champion
Last outing: W12 over Glen Johnson on Nov. 7
Previous ranking: 8
Up next: Nothing scheduled
Analysis: Starting to develop unwanted reputation as boring, safety-first fighter



8. Arthur Abraham
Points: 85
Record: 31-0 (25 KOs)
Title: None
Last outing: TKO12 Jermain Taylor on Oct. 17
Previous ranking: 9
Up next: Vs. Andre Dirrell, date TBA
Analysis: Co-favorite in Super Six tournament


W. Klitschko

9. Wladimir Klitschko
Points: 46
Record: 53-3 (47 KOs)
Title: IBF, WBO heavyweight champion
Last outing: TKO9 over Ruslan Chagaev on June 20
Previous ranking: 10
Up next: Nothing scheduled

Analysis: Recovering from arm surgery



10. Miguel Cotto
Points: 36
Record: 34-2 (27 KOs)
Title: None
Last outing: TKO12 to No. 1 Manny Pacquiao on Nov. 14
Previous ranking: 6
Up next: Nothing scheduled
Analysis: Took second brutal beating in 16-month span

Others receiving votes: Ivan Calderon, 28; Juan Manuel Lopez, 27; Vitali Klitschko, 22; Israel Vazquez, 15; Nonito Donaire, 10; Chris John, 10; Celestino Caballero, 8; Hozumi Hasegawa, 4; Rafael Marquez, 4; Andre Ward, 2; Tomasz Adamek, 1.

Voting panel: Raul Alzaga, Primera Hora; Carlos Arias, Orange County Register; Ron Borges, Boston Herald; Steve Cofield, Yahoo! Sports; Dave Cokin, ESPN Radio 1100, Las Vegas; Brian Doogan, London Sunday Times; Andrew Eisele,; Scott Fyfe, Sunday Post, Scotland; Thomas Gerbasi,; Lee Groves,; Thomas Hauser, Seconds; Keith Idec, Herald News, New Jersey; Kevin Iole, Yahoo! Sports; Michael Katz, Gaming Today; Scott Mallon, Asian Boxing; Rich Marotta, freelance television announcer; Franklin McNeil, Newark Star Ledger; Gunnar Meinhardt, Die Welt; Robert Morales, Los Angeles Daily News; Marty Mulcahey,; Kieran Mulvaney, Reuters; Brett Okamoto, Las Vegas Sun; Santos Perez, Miami Herald; Martin Rogers, Yahoo! Sports; Michael Rosenthal,; Lem Satterfield,; Tim Smith, New York Daily News; T.K. Stewart,; Paul Upham, Seconds; John Whisler, San Antonio Express News; George Willis, New York Post.

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