Two things were obvious after spending an hour with Floyd Mayweather Jr. last week at the Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas.
He seems to truly believe that Pacquiao's recent run of success is due to the use of performance-enhancing drugs. And, secondly, though he wouldn't say it in so many words, he also seems to view Pacquiao as a legitimate threat.
Pacquiao has sued Mayweather for defamation in federal court over allegations that Mayweather has accused him of using performance-enhancing drugs.
Though Mayweather was careful in choosing his words, he also left no doubt that he believes Pacquiao's incredible streak has been artificially aided.
Mayweather was never asked whether he thought Pacquiao takes PEDs. Asked a question about how a fight between the two greatest fighters in the world might play out if the promoters could ever reach a deal, Mayweather at first expressed confidence he would win, but then seemed to search for an explanation for Pacquiao's success.
"It's just so crazy that a guy can pop up out of nowhere and become such an amazing fighter," Mayweather said. "A guy like me has been doing it since the '90s, dominating the sport and beating the best out there. This guy just popped up out of nowhere and people are trying to say he's on the level of a Floyd Mayweather, when I've been dominating and doing this for almost 20 years now."
Mayweather won his first world title in his 18th pro fight on Oct. 3, 1998 – 13 years ago Floyd, not 20 – when he was 21 years, 7 months old.
It might surprise Mayweather to know that Pacquiao won his first world title just two months later, on Dec. 4, 1998, in his 25th pro fight. Pacquiao was two weeks shy of his 20th birthday when he won the World Boxing Council flyweight title.
Pacquiao jumped three classes, bypassing super flyweight and bantamweight, to win his second world title, on June 23, 2001, when he captured the International Boxing Federation junior featherweight title. He was 22 years, 6 months old and it took him 30 months to win that second title. Mayweather needed 44 months to win his second belt, when he captured the WBC lightweight belt on April 20, 2002.
That would seem to debunk his theory that Pacquiao came out of nowhere. But Mayweather also clearly views Pacquiao as a threat, though he tries to dismiss him.
"He's a pressure fighter, but there are a lot of mistakes that he makes," Mayweather said. "You can't make those mistakes with Floyd Mayweather. If you make those mistakes with me, you have to pay."
Mayweather then went on to say he thought Juan Manuel Marquez defeated Pacquiao easily when they met at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Nov. 12. Mayweather routed Marquez, winning all 12 rounds on one judge's card, taking 11 on another and 10 on a third. Pacquiao won a majority decision on Nov. 12. Judge Robert Hoyle had it a draw, six rounds to six, but the other two judges had Pacquiao by margins of 7-5 and 8-4.
"I'm not saying he hasn't earned the right to face Floyd Mayweather, but I can't say that [Pacquiao is the best in the world other than me]," Mayweather said. "There are a lot of good strong champions out there. Speaking honestly, I thought Marquez won the last fight easily. Easily, yes, absolutely. You can put the fight on mute and just watch it. The guy was getting outboxed real easily. One guy was putting pressure on, but wasn't landing and the other guy was not taking any punishment and landing basically at will in that last fight."
• Though Mayweather said in answer to a direct question that he would consider a fight against middleweight champion Sergio Martinez if Martinez would agree to fight at 150 pounds, don't expect that fight to happen on May 5. Though Mayweather appears serious, that bout won't occur until the latter part of 2012 or early 2013.
• Young fighters with talent need to fight opponents who are a threat to beat them before they move up to become legitimate contenders for world titles. When they don't, what you get is what happened to 24-year-old Rico Ramos Friday in Las Vegas. Ramos lost the WBA super bantamweight title to Guillermo Rigondeaux in a fight in which he landed a pitiful average of just three punches a round. Ramos had faced mostly soft touches on the way up and it showed on Friday when he met a real opponent.
• I'll give the initial offering on the NBC Sports Network, put together by Main Events, a C-plus or a B-minus. The heavyweights who were brought in as last-minute replacements, Bryant Jennings and Maurice Byarm, put on a reasonably entertaining fight. The card wasn't anything to write home about otherwise. Good start, but they need to up their games substantially in the second outing.
• Miguel Cotto may wind up fighting Manny Pacquiao on June 9 in Las Vegas, as Ring Magazine reported, but it is not a done deal. Cotto is just as likely to face Mayweather on May 5 as he is to fight Pacquiao on June 9.
Should we boycott the proposed Manny Pacquiao-Miguel Cotto fight, if it happens? The first one wasn't even close and the second likely won't be either. I think promoter Bob Arum is only doing this because he can. But what he'll be doing is erecting an arena he knows will sell out, for a fight he knows will generate millions, despite not being what the fans want to see. I think it's a farce and travesty and I believe the fans should stand up and make their displeasure known. Of course it will take the writers being on board to make it happen, but you have to be as upset as I am.
D'Heirus, whether you are angry enough to boycott is up to you. I'm not going to tell you how to spend your money. And yes, I'm in favor of the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. That said, a fight with Cotto would be entertaining again. And if you're right, that the fight would sell out and generate millions, isn't that reason to have the fight? After all, boxing is a business.
Now who is ducking? Mayweather kept on saying that if Pacquiao agreed to the random blood and urine testing then a fight between them would be made. If he really wants to fight, why can he not agree on the 50-50 share? If Pacquiao agrees to take a lesser purse, what comes next? Would Pacquiao have to drop his defamation lawsuit against Mayweather?
Yes, Wang, you can reasonably assume that if there is a contract to fight, that Pacquiao will agree to drop his suit. I find fault on both sides here. Promoter Bob Arum's many excuses – About the cut Pacquiao suffered on Nov. 12 not being healed in time for him to fight on May 5 to this arena plan he's come up with – haven't helped in making the fight. But there are many knocks on Mayweather's side, too. First, Mayweather demands there has to be random blood and urine testing in order for there to be a fight, despite the fact that no athletic commission in the world requires that. Secondly, Mayweather is demanding that the fight be on May 5 at the MGM Grand. Why not at least search to see if you could get a better deal at a different venue, or on a different date, or both? And third, Mayweather is demanding a larger share of the revenues. Forcing Pacquiao to agree to those three onerous requirements isn't great evidence that he's desperate for the fight, either.
Is the temporary stadium issue a bargaining chip/stall tactic for Arum, or is it really as economically significant as he claims? If I recall, he's said that not building it would leave $30 million on the table, thus that Mayweather's proposal makes absolutely no economic sense. I'm guessing that "Money" cares about money, too, would also prefer not to leave $30 million lying on the ground, if Arum's not just blowing smoke. What's your take on this?
The idea of a temporary stadium is worth exploring. But it should have been done long ago and not still be in the discussion stage. Arum said it will only take three months to build, but that leaves precious little time to get all the required permits, etc. But let's assume it could be built in time for May. Is it reasonable to assume Arum could average the same price per ticket he could if he were in the MGM Grand? I doubt it. The largest gate in boxing history is $18.4 million, on a paid attendance of 17,078, on May 5, 2007, for Mayweather-Oscar De La Hoya. That is an average of $1,078.53 per ticket. Arum's proposed stadium supposedly holds 39,000. To do $30 million better, or $48.4 million, he'd have to do an average of $1,241 a seat. Given that so many seats will be so far from the ring, I don't think that possible.
"It's bad for the fans because are being cheated out of, I don't want to say it would be a great fight at this point, but it's a very intriguing fight. It's not as intriguing as it once was because Pacquiao slipped in his last fight. He's been slipping. The fact is that fans don't realize that he's been fighting guys who have had to lose weight to fight him. It was an intriguing point about two years ago. Now everyone knows, at this point, Floyd would probably pick him apart." – Veteran trainer John David Jackson, talking to BoxingScene.com, about the drama surrounding the Mayweather-Pacquiao talks.
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- Floyd Mayweather