It isn’t fair to compare the Manny Pacquiao fans saw this past December to the one who dominated boxing for the better part of the last decade. After 18 years and 61 fights, the wear and tear from constantly being at the top of his game had to eventually take its toll. It was inevitable.
That being said, while comparing Pacquiao his younger self at this point in time isn’t fair, stacking the Filipino champ up to his arch rival, Floyd Mayweather Jr., is. The two made their debuts within two years of one another. They are separated in age by a year. Mayweather has fought in noticeably fewer bouts, but he boasts an undefeated record that his counterpart does not. The comparison isn’t perfect, obviously, particularly when you compare fighting styles and frequency of matches, but there is still something there.
Pacquiao and Mayweather have been pitted against one another in the pound-for-pound rankings often over the past three years, so seeing how they stack up next to each other in the here and now isn’t a stretch. And when you look at how they stack up, the difference is clear.
Mayweather is still viewed as boxing’s king; Pacquiao is seen to be on the decline. That could change very quickly – but it’s the way things are right now.
During a recent interview with Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports, Top Rank boss Bob Arum acknowledged that he probably wouldn’t be able to host Pacquiao-Marquez V on Mexican Independence Day weekend because Mayweather was planning to fight that same Saturday. And seeing as both HBO and Showtime would prefer to have the undefeated star ‘given he has performed better on pay-per-view recently', Arum admitted that he would likely have to move his client's date.
That is a pretty startling concession.
Arum doesn’t need to come out and say that Mayweather is in a better place career-wise right now, his actions do that for him. If he felt confident in his guy’s ability to a.) sell fights and b.) win them, they wouldn’t currently be seeking a bout halfway across the world and they wouldn’t have to shift their schedules around just to appease the Mayweather-loving media companies.
The great thing about boxing is that things change quickly. A year ago Pacquiao was still the sport’s crème de la crème and Mayweather was facing jail time. Twelve months later the tables have turned. Who knows what the situation will be in Feb. 12, 2014.
As it stands, though, the facts are the facts: Mayweather’s stock is rising, Pacquiao’s is falling.