A Closer Look at Manny Pacquiao’s Strange Sergio Martinez Problem

| by Alex Groberman

Manny Pacquiao finds himself in a very Floyd Mayweather-esque predicament these days.

Pacquiao and Mayweather, mind you, will go down in history for more than just their extraordinary gifts within the confines of a boxing ring. They’ll also go down in history for their notoriously awful negotiation skills as they apply to arranging a fight that should have been an absolute breeze to put together.

Their innate ability to make a demand, have it met, then pretend that it wasn’t met only to make a whole new demand is going to be a thing of legend.

Well, while their embarrassing wheeling-and-dealing has been in the headlines over the last few months, what has gone unspoken of is the other interesting challenge facing Pacquiao – the one coming from Sergio Martinez.

Martinez, don’t forget, originally called out Pacquiao and demanded that the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world meet him at a 154 pounds. The Filipino champ -- along with  Bob Arum and Freddie Roach -- spent all of two seconds considering that idea, only to completely and totally laugh it off as an illegitimate offer. Shortly thereafter, Martinez realized he wasn’t in a position of power – and made a far more reasonable proposal – to come down to 150 pounds.

Despite the fact that the latter offer was universally recognized by just about everyone as very, very sensible, Pacquiao spent a cool month pretending he hadn’t heard it. As in, he literally refused to acknowledge that Martinez had uttered a single word on the matter. Then, when he was cornered on the issue, as we reported a few weeks back on Opposing Views, he threw out a completely irrational counteroffer – that Martinez needed to come down to 147 pounds.

Well, during a recent trip to Argentina, Martinez had this to say to Nicholas Samuilov (via Boxing Scene):

"He said he wanted to fight me in 150 pounds. I accepted. When I reached the conclusion that I could take that weight, I accepted. And now he says he wants it at 147 pounds. I've not made that weight in twelve years. I don't think I can make even if I cut off both legs. It is physically impossible. Pacquiao is completely ruled out."


The worst part of Martinez’s deafening statement is that it’s entirely true. Pacquiao’s camp did throw the 150-pound figure out there as a realistic, tangible benchmark. Then when Martinez finally agreed to it, in very Floyd Mayweather-esque fashion, Pacquiao threw out an even more stringent requirement.

That’s not right.

Obviously Pacquiao is in a precarious situation whenever he picks a fighter to go against, and that’s duly noted. At the same time, if he doesn’t want to fight Martinez – he should just come right out and say it.

The Filipino champion should just say that he would prefer to fight someone within the Top Rank stable. That he would prefer to not risk it his record against a guy who very well could beat him, when there isn’t going to be a record-breaking payday on the table like there would be versus Mayweather.

Pacquiao’s is undoubtedly the biggest name in the sport today, but that doens't make him infallible. He has his faults, and his treatment of Martinez over the last few months is without a doubt something that has rubbed a lot of folks the wrong way.