COMMENTARY | To steal a phrase from rock legend Neil Young: Hey Hey, My My…Floyd vs. Pac will never die.
Even as boxing life events on both sides of the great debate conspire to make the mega-fight harder and harder to put together, there's also a hint of optimism in the air. Despite boxing's long history of stifling politics and shortsighted promotional philosophies, the best fights almost always, eventually, get made. An unfulfilled Mayweather vs. Pacquiao would stand in defiance of the laws of boxing business physics. The public demand is so great and the money would be so substantial that it boggles the mind if sanity, at some point or another, doesn't prevail.
Whether you blame Team Pacquiao, Team Mayweather, or both, for the inability to put this fight together, the sad fact is that, up until now, neither side has done a whole lot to make things happen. Other than some legitimate back and forth in late 2009, there really hasn't been any serious discussion about making it. Since negotiations officially ended in early 2010 over the issue of random blood testing, there have been no face to face talks and no serious effort to settle differences and move the fighting from the media to the ring.
While Bob Arum bedazzled the boxing media with tales of mysterious and unmentionable investors for Pacquiao-Mayweather and negotiated with empty chairs, Mayweather allowed Golden Boy to line up opponent after opponent for him. And while Team Mayweather kicked sand on the image of the Filipino icon and offered Manny an insulting flat $40 million payday for the bout, Team Pacquiao pretended to come to terms with true random blood testing for negotiations that were no longer happening. When push came to shove, though, neither side would actually come to the table.
Honestly, over the last three years or so, there really wasn't much of an incentive for them to swallow any pride and come together.
With Pacquiao fighting in-house opposition for a rabid and loyal fan base and making a fortune for Arum and Top Rank, there was no point in risking career derailment against Mayweather. And for Mayweather, who was becoming the highest paid athlete in the world with the help of Golden Boy's matchmaking, there was never any need to deal with hated former promoter, Arum or negotiate with anyone on even terms.
But now things have changed a bit--- and this is where some positivity can maybe, possibly creep in.
Both guys are running out of opponents and out of viable options for generating the kind of money they are accustomed to making. Mayweather is set to face Saul "Canelo" Alvarez on September 14. Beyond that, it's hard to imagine another big ticket, main stage opponent he can face in the remaining four bouts of his six-fight Showtime contract. Pacquiao will be fighting Brandon Rios on November 23 and may have a bit more wriggle room than Mayweather--- still having rematches with Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez as possibilities in the immediate future. But neither Bradley nor Marquez can bring what Mayweather can.
Right now, Mayweather may hold the upper hand when it comes to negotiating leverage, but that can easily change in the next few months as Pacquiao looks to end his two-fight losing streak with a big win over Rios.
"I've told Manny, 'Knock this guy [Rios] out in good fashion and the Mayweather fight comes back real quick," Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach told Yahoo! Sports' Kevin Iole. "Manny still wants the fight. We know that Mayweather turned it down, but the truth is this: Mayweather has four fights left after this next one [on Sept. 14 against Canelo Alvarez] and I'm not sure there are four guys in the world left for him to fight without Manny Pacquiao being one of them."
However, even if the unthinkable happens and both superstars lose their next bouts, the mega-fight will still be commercially viable and likely to break all pay-per-view records should it happen. Don't believe the media tales about how the time has come and gone for this bout. When/if the fight becomes a legitimate possibility, the fans will come running and the bout will be as big as it was ever going to be.
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.
Source: Yahoo! Boxing
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