Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. have a vested interest in each other’s success. Despite the fact that they appear to be mortal enemies who despise one another with every fiber of their beings, these two are actually connected in a way that few athletes in recent history have been.
Pacquiao and Mayweather are right around the same age. They have fought for nearly the same amount of years. (Although, to be fair, the latter has fought in far fewer bouts with a lot more breaks in between.) They have both been heralded as the world’s best pound-for-pounder at their peaks, and they have both been unceremoniously bashed by the public during rough patches.
Whether either one wants to admit or not, there is a unique link between them that is pretty fascinating to think about.
For the past three years, both Pacquiao and Mayweather have danced around the idea of a prospective super fight. Each has insisted that they want it to happen, and each has maintained that the other guys is the reason that it hasn’t happened to date. The truth, as usual, is somewhere in the middle.
Mayweather’s unreasonable decision to hog all of the purse, Pacquiao’s flip-flops on how much of the purse he wants, and Bob Arum’s general indifference towards turning this dream match into a reality all played a part in us being where we are today.
But no matter how hopeless things look, the chance of Pacquiao-Mayweather is still there. It's always there.
During a recent interview with Pro Boxing Insider, Jeff Mayweather insisted that Pacquiao’s people had reached out to him about a possible bout.
"They know that if it doesn't happen now it won't be worth anything. I got text messages from his advisor so it's a situation where I will talk to Floyd to see if that fight can potentially be made," he said.
Does that mean a fight will actually be made? Of course not. However, the fact that negotiations are still ongoing speaks to a broader point: both sides still sort of want to make this thing happen. And so long as both sides want Pacquiao-Mayweather to happen, they have a vested interest in seeing the other side keep winning. Why? Because if Pacquiao loses again, he will probably retire. If Mayweather loses, the allure that comes with his undefeated record is suddenly gone.
These guys may despise one another, but that doesn't mean they aren't also rooting for each other to keep winning.
This is without a doubt the most interesting rivalry in sports today.