Manny Pacquiao made two really interesting moves this week. His first one, agreeing to give Floyd Mayweather Jr. 55 percent of the purse in the event of a super fight, was met with near universal acclaim. His second one, however, didn’t get the same sort of love.
During an appearance on ESPN’s First Take, Pacquiao was hounded by professional trolls Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith regarding a possible dream match between him and his arch rival. Because he has spent his entire career dealing with and swatting away dumb sports analysts, the Filipino champ handled most of what was thrown at him well. Most. His one slip-up, though, was a pretty huge one.
Scoop Malinowski of The Examiner beautifully recounted that particular sequence in one of his columns, so let’s refer to his description of what happened in order to set the scene:
Smith, a devout and colorful vocal backer of Mayweather through the years, asked Pacquiao why he thinks he can beat the talented unbeaten American. The calm and gentle Pacquiao thoughtfully tried to find the right words to communicate at the energized roundtable, by expressing in his second language English, that Ricky Hatton showed that he was able to land a lot of punches on Mayweather and that an aggressive, non-stop assault of pressure was the intelligent strategy to use to beat Mayweather.
Pacquiao asserted that he thinks Mayweather does not like to have to deal with that kind of fighting style which he can do effectively. (And a lot more effectively than Hatton , may I add, as well as from the lefty stance opposed to Hatton's righty stance.)
Smith, suddenly put back on his eyeglasses and mock stared at Pacquiao, as if to sort of playfully intimidate the amiable Filippino. Smith then asked Pacquiao, in a jokingly threatening voice, point blank, if he was suggesting that Mayweather is afraid of him and his very dangerous relentless style?
"I think it's kind of that," answered Pacquiao diplomatically.
It was one line, but when you’re dealing with someone as temperamental as Mayweather, one line could make all the difference in the world. You could almost feel Pacquiao’s struggle as he tried to avoid acknowledging what he really felt, however, in the end he couldn’t hold back.
How do you think things went at Mayweather Headquarters when that quote was relayed to Vegas?
Will this destroy the dream match? Probably not. If it happens (and it likely will), it’ll be because both of the stars involved realize that they're on the last legs of their careers. There is no 2014. If this fight doesn’t happen in 2013, it won’t happen at all. And it’s far too financially lucrative for all involved to not happen.
That said, gaffes like this don’t help matters. Hopefully we don’t see any more mistakes like this, from either side, between now and when this bout is officially agreed to.
(Kudos The Examiner)