COMMENTARY | It didn't take long for long distance Manny Pacquiao arch-rival, Floyd Mayweather Jr., to issue a comment regarding the Filipino icon's devastating KO6 loss to Juan Manuel Marquez last Saturday in Las Vegas.
As is usually the case when it comes to all issues involving Pacquiao, Mayweather put on his best fake-sincere voice, prattled on about generalities, but could not resist the urge to take a few shots at the concussed former 8-division world champ:
"Marquez is a true champion, Manny Pacquiao is a true champion, both of them went out there and put on a good performance, and that's a good thing for the sport of boxing," Mayweather told Ben Thompson of Fighthype.com. "I wish Pacquiao nothing but the best. I wish that he can bounce back and he can recoup from this. In the sport of boxing, you have to really dedicate yourself to your craft. You have to really, really dedicate yourself to your craft. I think he's got so many different things on the outside that he worries about, you know."
Perhaps the part about having to "really dedicate yourself to your craft" was a dig aimed at Pacquiao as well, but that's up for debate. The next part, though, is the verbal equivalent of a Mayweather straight right hand:
"But it was a good thing that he was able to come into the sport, you know, piggyback off my name, and get a bunch of endorsement deals and make a good living. That's a great thing."
For the longest time, quite a few casual (and not so casual) observers questioned whether Team Pacquiao was consciously aiming to strengthen their fighter's crossover appeal by linking him with Mayweather.
Obviously, with or without the Mayweather connection, Pacquiao was going to be a superstar and any such efforts would've been absolutely unnecessary among Pacquiao biggest hardcore fans in Asia and in various demographic pockets in the United States. But what about among American, pay-per-view buying fight fans not entirely swept up in "Manny-mania?"
The constant ghost of a hint of a Mayweather clash produced a lot of fan chatter and the good guy vs. bad guy dynamic helped define Manny Pacquiao's reputation among casual boxing fans.
The idea that members of Team Pacquiao made an effort to "piggyback" off of whatever heat Mayweather generates is not so far-fetched.
It's certainly true that whenever Pacquiao fought, someone from his camp was sure to issue statements regarding Mayweather. Rumors of revisiting the mega-bout would soon follow, always to eventually die out shortly before the upcoming Pacquiao bout's final media tour. Mayweather would be cast as the fighter in retreat, perpetually moving away from the showdown everyone wanted. In reality, though, Team Pacquiao was making all these declarations to a quote-hungry media while on press tours to advertise their guy fighting someone else-- not quite the ideal place to conduct "real" negotiations.
And when there were actual talks between both parties, Team Pacquiao was not quite so accommodating-walking away from the table on both occasions. First, over random blood testing and then over Mayweather's flat $40 million dollar offer prior to the five-division world champ moving on to fight Miguel Cotto in May of this year.
One of the consistent features of any Pacquiao press tour involved the return of the Pacquiao-Mayweather buzz and a series of well-crafted statements from Team Pacquiao concerning Pacquiao's alleged willingness to now undergo random blood testing, agree to a lesser share of the purse, etc. But, again, all of this comes while Pacquiao is on a press tour to announce a fight with someone else.
This routine has been going on for Pacquiao's last six fights and it doesn't take a public relations genius to see the pattern.
Mayweather is wrong a lot, but maybe this time he does have a point.
There's nothing insidious about dangling a carrot out in front of a hungry, well-worn donkey. It would've been nice, though, if the donkey had the slightest chance of taking a bite.
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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