Manny Pacquiao has earned the right to be picky by putting together one of the greatest careers in recent memory – but that doesn’t make his being picky any less tiresome.
For weeks fans speculated on why Pacquiao had been refusing to comment on the challenge issued to him by world renowned No. 3 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, Sergio Martinez. The latter boxer was so interested in squaring off against the Filipino champion, mind you, that he went so far as to say that he would go down in weight all the way to 150 pounds just for the sake of being accommodating.
On the surface, it looked like a win-win situation for all involved. Martinez would finally get the big main event that he had so desperately pined away for. Pacquiao, on the flip side, would finally get a legitimate non-Floyd Mayweather Jr. opponent to prove his dominance against. And the opponent would be drained at a lower weight to boot.
Yet, for whatever reason, Pacquiao refused to comment on Martinez’s challenge. As in, he literally would not speak on the matter. Top Rank head honcho Bob Arum was equally mum on it.
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It got to the point where folks began to wonder if this was just the latest example of Pacquiao and Arum conspiring to only fight against fellow Top Rank talents, so as to keep all the big paydays in-house, even if it came at the expense of fans seeing a great fight.
Well, during a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, Pacquiao got cornered. He could no longer run away from the issue. When asked about potentially fighting against Martinez, here is what the Filipino champion had to say:
"That's my promoter's problem. Whatever the TV stations do is up to them. My job is to prepare for fights, to get in shape and put on a good show. If Sergio Martinez can get to 147 pounds, why not?”
Wait, what? Martinez’s offer was for 150 pounds, not 147. And that 150-pound offer, by the way, was four pounds beneath Martinez’s initial offer of 154 pounds that he made a few months back.
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So Pacquiao needs Martinez to drain himself even further before he would agree to a match?
Look, clearly Pacquiao is the one who commands a big pay day here, and clearly he’s the main draw. Nobody is disputing this. But that doesn’t make the request for Martinez to come down in weight this much any less unreasonable.
The truth is, Pacquiao hasn’t proven himself against a legitimate opponent in a long, long time. He should be clamoring for the opportunity to show that he still has it, not brushing it off. Yes, the general public gave him a pass for ignoring Mayweather because of the latter’s annoying character flaws, but Martinez is different. He’s a great fighter, good guy, and would make for a great opponent.
Somebody in Pacquiao’s camp should take the champ to the side and tell him that his legacy isn’t written in stone just yet. If he continues to avoid quality opponents like Martinez by making unreasonable weight demands, he’ll be the one to suffer for it historically – not the people trying to fight him.