Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. won’t fight this year, obviously. The latter has a showdown against Saul ‘Canelo’ Alavarez scheduled for September, and the former is taking on Brandon Rios in November. Unless each guy plans to emerge victorious, rest for a month, and then fight again, if we see a Mayweather-Pacquiao showdown, it’ll have to be in 2014.
However, just because these guys aren’t fighting each other this year, doesn’t mean they aren’t competing against one another. Much as has been the case since 2009 when rumors of a potential dream match first surfaced, there is a Cold War of sorts currently going on between these two. Who can drum up the most fan support? Who can put on the more successful pay-per-view? Who can look better against their opponent than the other guy?
Over the past few year, both Pacquiao and Mayweather have taken their fair share of hits. The latter earned a big victory over Robert Guerrero in his last match, but he did so in front of a much smaller audience than he had grown accustomed to pulling in. When your nickname is Money, you’re expected to deliver it for all involved. Mayweather got compensated well for beating down Guerrero, Showtime didn’t.
Pacquiao, meanwhile, pulled in great numbers in his fourth fight against Juan Manuel Marquez. That must’ve come as a big relief after a PPV bust, by his standards, one fight earlier against Timothy Bradley. While the business end of that Marquez bout went well for Pacquiao, the fight part of it didn’t. He got dropped my Marquez in the sixth round via one of the most memorable knockout punches in recent boxing history.
Now, as they head into their respective 2013 showdowns, Mayweather and Pacquiao realize that all eyes will be not only on them, but on their competitors. Can Mayweather put on a great show versus Alvarez, erasing the memory of that dud of a Guerrero match? And if the business end of that match figures itself out, can he avoid the same pitfall that his rival couldn’t on his last go-round?
Similarly, there are certain questions that Pacquiao needs to answer, too. Was his last loss against Marquez a fluke, or a sign of things to come? Will the move to Macao compensate for Rios’ Bradley-like lack of name recognition when it comes to selling the match?
Mayweather and Pacquiao aren’t competing against each other in the ring this year, but they’re clearly still competing against each other in other ways.