What if a superstar was set on making a major announcement and nobody cared? What if secret behind-the-scenes negotiations to determine this star's next big ticket opponent failed to even register a blip on the general public's radar?
Well, it would be hard to think of the fighter as a true superstar, right?
The sad reality facing Bob Arum and Top Rank Promotions is that their cash cow, Manny Pacquiao, is pretty much done as a major, main stage, big-drawing force of nature. The eight-division world champ will go straight into the Hall of Fame as soon as he's eligible and will likely sit prominently on many all-time great lists, but, in the here and now, his story is getting old and his output has grown stale.
It has been about two years since the Filipino icon has put in a truly entertaining performance in the ring and, following his last bout, he was even left without his WBO welterweight title via controversial split decision loss to Timothy Bradley.
Floyd Mayweather Jr., in spite of serving a jail sentence for domestic battery, has surpassed Pacquiao on most pound-for-pound lists and, after Andre Ward's virtuoso performance against Chad Dawson last Saturday, the one-time P4P king will likely find himself pushed even further down the list.
Pacquiao still has a legion of loyal fans, but few in the general public care that much anymore. He is no longer "must-watch TV" and, given the disappointing choice of either Juan Manuel Marquez or Timothy Bradley as his next foe, it's not likely that fans will be lining up to care again.
This would be the ideal time for Top Rank to think outside the box and get creative with his opponent selection. It would be even more ideal if they would throw caution to the wind and honestly explore a bout with Floyd Mayweather. No half-truths, misdirections, or excuses-- honestly sit down and try to get this fight made.
But we all know what will likely happen. Bradley and Marquez will be his next opponents because Arum doesn't want to risk Pacquiao against anyone not signed to a Top Rank contract. The output will continue to grow stale, Pacquiao will continue to grow bored, and, eventually, the fighter who is capable of so much excitement will leave the sport with a weak, indifferent whimper.
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 The BoxingTribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing.
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