COMMENTARY | Nobody outside of Team Mayweather and Team Khan feels all the good that Floyd Mayweather's next opponent will likely be Amir Khan. Making the situation especially bad for fans is the fact that Mayweather's only two real welterweight challenges will be fighting each other three weeks earlier in the same city of Las Vegas and in the same MGM Grand venue.
Everybody who knows boxing knows that, for Mayweather, the only two challenges left at welterweight are Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley.
Whether he tries to fill his agenda with Khan or Marcos Maidana or any other assortment of Golden Boy fighters within spitting distance of 147, the fights he really needs are those that seem the least likely to happen.
Pacquiao and Mayweather have a lot more in common than many would assume, but despite sharing the same division and PPV venue just three weeks apart, the two stars are could not be more separated from one another. The great, and still growing, divide between the two has been wedged open by four years worth of angry words and wounded pride.
Chief among the reasons that Mayweather vs. Pacquiao (and Mayweather vs. Bradley for that matter) is so unlikely is the fact that, once upon a time, promoter Bob Arum's newest, greatest jewel chose to slide out from under his smothering embrace in favor of the sweet air of career freedom.
Since the day Arum and Mayweather parted ways, Arum has been jealously pursuing the ruination of Mayweather's image with public attacks through the media and little games of one-upmanship aimed at belittling his former star client.
Mayweather, meanwhile, has been assembling a boxing kingdom with him as lone and all-powerful ruler. Now, all alone at the top of the fistic food chain, Mayweather seems intent on striking back at Arum in the most devastating of all possible ways-by trying to lure boxing's other cash cow, Manny Pacquiao, away from him.
Pacquiao is set to become a free agent at the end of this year and Mayweather has not made it a secret that the key to him agreeing to face Pacquiao is for Arum to be out of the picture. Mayweather apparently feels in a secure position of power and now insists on calling the shots. His father, Floyd Sr. has also stepped forward to underline the demand.
"Pacquiao, I think he should take that fight with my son and delete Bob Arum out of the situation and go for what he can go for, do the best he can do because right now he ain't doing very good," Mayweather Sr. recently said on the On The Ropes boxing radio show.
And while this seems to be an absurdly over the line demand on the part of Mayweather, at least some people on Team Pacquiao are willing to entertain the idea.
"If that is Floyd's condition and if Manny agrees - and it looks like Manny will agree to fight Floyd - the only way is not to renew his contract with Bob Arum's Top Rank," Pacquiao's attorney Franklin Gacal told Edwin Espejo of Asian Correspondent last month. "Manny should be a freelancer for the fight to happen."
In terms of "how real is this demand," one could point out the case of former Arum client Miguel Cotto and the long-lasting accusation that Mayweather was ducking the deadly Puerto Rican battler. All of the ducking talk ended when Mayweather signed to face Cotto just weeks after Cotto left Arum's promotional company, Top Rank.
Whatever the case, the long-brewing Arum-Mayweather feud seems to now be the major obstacle in making the biggest bout in boxing. Pacquiao will have the chance to call Mayweather's bluff early next year. Will he take that opportunity or will he hold firm on his own professional pride? The answer will likely determine whether we'll ever see this generation's two biggest stars in the same ring.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and is the author of Notes from the Boxing Underground. 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.
Sources: Boxingscene, Yahoo Sports Philippines
- Sports & Recreation
- Manny Pacquiao
- Floyd Mayweather
- Bob Arum