COMMENTARY | Some have marveled aloud at the distinct lack of Manny Pacquiao talk involved in the pre-fight hype for the Mayweather-Alvarez pay-per-view event. This is, really, the first time since Mayweather's 2007 Ricky Hatton bout that Pacquiao hasn't received just as much attention in the press tour as Mayweather's opponent.
But below the surface, nothing has changed. There may be a flashier opponent for Mayweather this time--- a legitimate 22-year-old hulk of a challenge in Saul "Canelo" Alvarez--- creating less of a temptation to dwell in the past. And, of course, Pacquiao's sixth round flattening at the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez in his last fight has killed a lot of the intrigue behind Mayweather-Pacquiao talk. But don't let a momentary lull in buzz fool you. Until they actually meet in the ring, everything Mayweather does is judged on the Pacquiao scale and, of course, vice versa--- Pacquiao's greatness will be forever measured against Mayweather's accomplishments.
It's rare that two greats, competing in the same weight class at the same time, would be kept so far apart, especially when there is a literal fortune to be made by putting them in the ring. But such is the animosity between Bob Arum's Top Rank Promotions and his former client, Floyd Mayweather. Neither side has ever really approached negotiations for a bout in good faith and both have bent the truth considerably about the other side's willingness to come to the table.
The first obstacle to Mayweather-Pacquiao was Mayweather's insistence on random blood testing for performance enhancing drugs. At first, Team Pacquiao not only refused, but refused violently. They eventually countered with an offer of random testing, but not within 21 days of the bout. The inability to compromise on the blood testing eventually killed the bout and, contrary to what may have been written by some, serious talks never came close to taking place again.
It should be noted that shortly after the bout had been officially killed and both fighters had moved on to new opponents, Pacquiao reportedly came aboard on the issue of true random testing. It should also be noted that Pacquiao's pro-testing stance only became public during press tours for his fights against other opponents, but never when both sides had a realistic chance at meeting to make a deal.
The list of false starts and fake narratives in the Mayweather-Pacquiao saga is huge. There was Mayweather's ridiculous direct offer to Pacquiao via cell phone of a flat $40 million payday. Before that, there was Bob Arum's publicly-issued deadline, with countdown clock and all, for Mayweather to sign a contract to face Pacquiao. Arum would later admit that he had never even spoken to anyone from Team Mayweather prior to issuing his heavily-hyped deadline.
The list of silliness could go on and on, but the one kernel of truth in all of this is that there are forces at work, likely from both sides of the issue, that just never really wanted the bout.
At this point, though, a bout may be unnecessary. Mayweather looks well on his way to winning the virtual battle of the greats and Pacquiao, who will be taking his game to Asia for the foreseeable future, has apparently conceded the loss.
It should come as no surprise, then, that Mayweather would feel entitled to at least a few subtle digs and "I told you sos."
"You guys [the media] built Pacquiao up to this level, and said he was better than Floyd Mayweather....you guys did," Mayweather told Boxingscene. "I'm not pointing a finger at no particular figure. I'm going to stay in my lane and I'm pretty sure that Pacquiao will stay in his lane."
And to be more precise, Mayweather likely means that Pacquiao's lane is the one significantly below his own.
This is a hard point to argue right now as Pacquiao is looking to rebuild and relocate while Mayweather is upping his ante under his new mega-bucks deal with Showtime. Maybe one day this will all be settled in the ring. Maybe.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and as Editor-in-Chief of The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing. For breaking news, additional analysis, and assorted crazy commentary, follow him on Facebook, @TheBoxingTribune or on Twitter, @BoxingBTBC.
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