Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. may never actually fight one another, but they will forever be linked in boxing lore. The two began their careers at roughly the same point. They have fought for nearly the same amount of time. They have beaten a lot of the same notable opponents. And both have staked their claims to boxing’s pound-for-pound crown at various points over the past decade.
They may never meet in an official super fight, but just by virtue of their records constantly getting compared, the connection between them will always be there.
On Tuesday, Mayweather made headlines when it was announced that he had inked an extremely lucrative, surprisingly lengthy multi-fight deal with Showtime. Little is known about the arrangement at this point, but it is being sold as the biggest partnership between a boxer and TV company of all time. Regardless of what the final number actually proves to be, there is no debate: it’s going to be massive.
Putting aside the fact that it will be interesting to see how Mayweather functions when he has to fight multiple times per year (something he hasn’t done in a long, long time), the other intriguing aspect of this whole thing is what it means big picture. More than anything else, it’s indicative of the fact that Showtime still views Mayweather as someone who has a lot of fights ahead of him. Despite the fact that he is 35, slightly older than his Filipino counterpart, his career trajectory seems to be heading in the completely opposite direction of Pacquiao’s.
Understandably, on Tuesday, Mayweather fans were quick to point out that while their guy was getting signed to big new deals, Pacquiao was essentially a loss away from forced retirement.
It’s not really that simple, though.
Pacquiao and Mayweather may be nearly the same age, but they don’t have the same amount of wear and tear on their tires. The latter, because of his various sabbaticals and forced breaks, has fought in far fewer fights than the former. Moreover, because his fighting style lends itself perfectly to not getting hit, he will inevitably have a longer and more fruitful career than all of his contemporaries. Mayweather’s technique can be tedious and maddening to watch, but it is ideal for long term sustainability. Maximum damage, minimum harm. It’s brilliant, really. Meanwhile, while Pacquiao’s style has indisputably been more interesting to watch, it has also resulted in him taking a lot more damage. That damage is a big reason why he is where he is right now.
Mayweather’s new Showtime deal is indicative of his career being in a better place than Pacquiao’s at this point. There is no denying that. But context is important. And the reason why Mayweather is in a better place right now is because he wasn’t in as good of a place in the years leading up to right now. His new Showtime deal is something that should be used to praise the undefeated champ – not a tool with which to tear down Pacquiao.