Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao have talked about and subsequently backed out of negotiations for a super fight many times over the past four years, so understandably people are a little tired of their illegitimate rivalry. After getting burned by these guys on countless occasions, obviously nobody wants to go out on a limb anymore.
That being said, the fact that a bout between them at some point in the next 16 months is likelier now than it has been in a very long time is hard to dispute.
Pacquiao offered Juan Manuel Marquez $13 million and a chunk of the pay-per-view dough for a fifth fight. That’s about as close to a 50-50 split as one can get to without committing to one. He offered Timothy Bradley $6 million, but only because their first fight did disappointing numbers (relatively speaking). Clearly Pacquiao is no longer opposed to giving his opponents big slices of the pie if he feels the fight is worth it – so why wouldn’t the same apply with Mayweather?
You will recall, the reason their most recent negotiations fell apart last year wasn’t because of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs), legal battles or schedule. It was because of money. Mayweather wanted to give Pacquiao a fixed amount; the Filipino star wanted 60ish-40ish, in Mayweather’s favor. Now, suppose Pacquiao agreed to take a fixed amount at this stage in the game (a smaller fixed amount, given that, at best, he’d be 1-2 in his last three bouts), would Mayweather really balk at that?
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Of course not.
Mayweather needs opponents to fulfill his massive Showtime deal. And regardless of who he ultimately decides to fight down the line, it behooves him to fill his earlier fights with older, easier-to-beat guys as opposed to Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and the like. Pacquiao, presuming he can get past Brandon Rios, would be an ideal foe.
Now, obviously everything is contingent on Pacquiao beating Rios – which is no easy task. But if he can do it, the odds of him getting a shot at Mayweather in 2014 are just as good as if not better than anyone else getting a shot at Mayweather.