Ever since Manny Pacquiao’s November victory over Juan Manuel Marquez, all signs have pointed to him and Floyd Mayweather Jr. working towards a potential superfight for May 2012.
On the week of the aforementioned Pacquiao vs. Marquez III bout, Mayweather came out and publicly pointed to May 5 of the following year as a date which he was reserving for his arch rival. Most assumed that this was the undefeated champ’s latest desperate plea for attention, an attempt at stealing some of Pacquiao’s spotlight on the week of his big fight. And, really, Mayweather didn’t actually offer anything substantive to counteract that notion.
Understandably, folks were skeptical.
Then, after Pacquiao vs. Marquez III ended the way it ended, some of the non-Bob Arum folks in the Filipino champion’s stable (read: Freddie Roach and Alex Ariza) began to realize that facing these ho-hum challengers was pointless. Yes, Marquez performed wonderfully and truly challenged the current No. 2 pound-for-pounder in the world, but that was bound to happen. When you face countless fighters, one after another, who are regarded as being “not as good" as you, clearly even a close win will be regarded as a loss by the critics – precisely what happened on Nov. 12.
In other words, let’s say Pacquiao had wiped Marquez off the map in that third showdown. Would that have done anything for his overall legacy? Obviously not. But a close, controversial win, that immediately casts a black cloud over Pacquiao’s place in boxing lore. His sudden demotion in the pound-for-pound rankings was evidence of that.
So with that knowledge in mind, folks within Pacquiao’s inner circle began to point to a potential Mayweather fight as the next logical step for the Filipino champion. That way, he could generate a worthy sum of money and actually fight someone against whom he could prove his all-time greatness. It made perfect sense and, Pacquiao, despite Arum’s consistent stubbornness on the matter, began to see the light.
That’s why we’ve gotten the progress we’ve gotten on a potential Pacquiao vs. Mayweather superfight. Mind you, the former has even come out and gone so far as to tell reporters that he believes he and Mayweather are “80 to 90 percent” there as far as a final agreement goes.
Even still, because of the pair’s history, doubt surrounds their ability to actually get a final deal done. During a recent interview with Chris Robinson of BoxingScene, HBO analyst Emanuel Steward echoed the hesitance that many have when it comes to believing that this will ever actually happen.
“I would never bet on that,” Steward said. “It’s 50/50, that’s about it. It’s not so much the fighters, there’s just so many people involved. You got the promoters, a million agents, advisors; you got bad feelings between this promoter and that promoter. There’s lawsuit and they’re suing each other for defamation and you have to take care of the lawsuit before fighting, so it’s a lot more complicated. It’s something the public wants but there’s too many other factors.”
He’s right, of course. For two years, Pacquiao and Mayweather have played ping pong with blame as it relates to this bout not having been put together. For two years, we’ve gotten countless positive news that seemed to immediately be followed by negative news that put this match in jeopardy.
There is no doubt that Pacquiao vs. Mayweather finally appears to be destined for completion, if for no other reason than Pacquiao’s uncharacteristic positivity on the matter. But as we’ve learned all too well over the last couple of years, when it comes to these two guys, it’s not official until it’s official.