You can follow Kevin Iole on Twitter at @KevinI
Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao are clearly the two best boxers in the world as well as the sport's biggest draws. They're in the same weight class, they're roughly the same age and have about the same experience.
Fans are dying for them to fight. And while it's unclear whether talks to arrange a fight between them are ongoing, as the principals involved have agreed to a gag order, that hasn't stopped boxing fans from issuing their opinions on a nonstop basis.
For the better part of the last nine months, most of the email responses I have received to boxing columns on Yahoo! Sports have been about a potential Mayweather-Pacquiao fight.
If I write about Andre Ward and his bout in the Showtime Super Six super middleweight tournament against Allan Green, I get responses about Mayweather and Pacquiao. If I comment on the sizzling hot featherweight division and dream about a potential Juan Manuel Lopez-Yuriorkis Gamboa bout, I get responses about Mayweather and Pacquiao.
I get it. You want to see the fight and you want to see it badly. The promoters, I believe, finally get that, too.
If you haven't already, please join the Facebook group I've created, "Make the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight" and let the world know how badly you want to see the match. You're free to express any opinion you wish about the fighters and the issues surrounding the fight; all I ask is that you refrain from name-calling and taunting.
In the meantime, I'll jump into the boxing mailbag and answer your questions and respond to your comments on the sweet science.
Mayweather's 'time off from boxing' talk
Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s threat to take a year or two off from boxing may not be a ploy. Perhaps, Floyd knows that Manny is doped and will never agree to a fair drug test, so who else is out there? Floyd gave Manny a fair chance at a fair drug test, and Manny's lame excuse is that he is afraid of needles! It amazes me how many dumb people, especially in the Philippines, buy that! Anyhow, what is Manny supposed to do? Admit he is a doper, fail the test, ask Floyd if it's ok if he will fight him anyway? Manny is just trying to get the fight anyway, but Floyd is not as naïve as many of Manny's fans are! He knows the score, and I think he knows that Manny will never fight him clean! Probably Floyd could beat Manny even if Manny is doped, but maybe he doesn't want to give Manny that advantage, and who could blame him! Afraid of a needle? Give me a break!
George de Metz
Baton Rouge, La.
George, I think you're way off base here. Let me start by saying that I'm in favor of eliminating performance-enhancing drugs from professional sports and harshly punishing those who are caught. And if major regulatory bodies opt to require stricter testing than is currently done, I'll back it strongly. But it's unfair to chastise Pacquiao without a shred of evidence. And the issue, believe me, is not that he's afraid of needles. He's said he doesn't want to have his blood drawn too close to the fight because he believes it weakens him. I believe, though, it's more about control. He doesn't want to be dictated to and thus he's pushing back. I believe Pacquiao should agree to the random testing that Mayweather has asked for with no restrictions: No cutoff dates, no limits on tests, etc. And I also believe that Pacquiao should dump the clause he requested during the first negotiations that would have required Mayweather to pay him $10 million a pound for every pound, or fraction thereof, he was over 147.
Let them rest
Thanks for the up-to-date information with your Hooks 'N' Jabs column. We don't know what it's like to be Floyd Mayweather Jr. or Manny Pacquiao. As boxers, these men owe us fans nothing. They put in their work and they should be allowed to rest. Manny has just entered politics. There is good reason for both to walk away from negotiations, pursue other interests, and try again when it makes sense. I do think Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach would have guided Pacman to a win. Now "Money" is going to stay cool and depend upon the fact that Pacquiao is a workaholic and will not stop boxing. You can see where I'm going with that so I ask, is boxing the only sport like this? Doesn't this turn Mayweather into a modern day "protected champion?" That isn't necessarily a bad thing. Your thoughts, please.
Thanks, Jesse. Obviously, either man is free to fight or not fight, as he sees fit. Think of this, though: These men have made tens of millions of dollars in their careers and will make upwards of $40 million or more apiece for fighting each other. So would it hurt them all that much to each make concessions so that the fight the boxing public is desperate to see can come together? By agreeing to fight, they would be doing much for the sport that made them and helped them to become rich and famous. Without boxing, the world wouldn't know either Floyd Mayweather Jr. or Manny Pacquiao.
Floyd keeps ducking Manny
Is it just me or does Floyd Mayweather Jr. keep finding new ways to avoid fighting Manny Pacquiao? First, it was the drug testing issue. Now that Pacquiao agreed to the drug testing, Mayweather came out and said he is taking time off from boxing after his second fight from his retirement.
Diego A. Martinez
Mayweather is not ducking Pacquiao. If he retires, believe me, I'll change my tune, but I don't believe he was serious. He was trying to get a rise out of Pacquiao fans and he succeeded in a major way.
Can't take Floyd seriously
With Mayweather's plan to take time off from boxing, can't we now conclude that he is just again making excuses to avoid fighting Manny Pacquiao? By now we should know better. You can't take him seriously.
Lilibeth Santa Maria
Manila, The Philippines
I used to be one of the major skeptics and never believed the fight would happen, Lilibeth. I'm seeing things, though, that have changed my mind and I do believe they'll fight in November. Time will tell.
Boxing on network TV
Do you think we will ever see a return to network television for the sport of boxing? There are enough good fighters out there to capture people's attention, fights like last year's between Paul Williams and Sergio Martinez, for example. There are a lot of guys who are very good but who don't generate a lot of pay-per-view interest.
I think we may see a fight card here or there on network television, but it's really not going to do much for the sport unless it's on regularly. And that, I don't see happening, unfortunately. The advertising support isn't there.
Dump Merchant, a modern day Cosell
Why must we be subjected to Larry Merchant during HBO boxing broadcasts? This is just a guy who loves to hear his own voice. He is a cheap imitation of Howard Cosell and takes forever to say three words. His opinions are more about appearing intelligent than they are about fight commentary. Everyone else is great. Their egos are not on display.
Mission Viejo, Calif.
I think Larry is a terrific broadcaster who isn't afraid to speak his mind. He has good insights and his many years in the sport give him a credibility few others have. Not everyone is a fan, but I'm big time in his corner. But HBO is increasingly giving Max Kellerman a bigger role on its broadcasts, so you won't see nearly as much of Larry as you used to.