If Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. do decide to get into the ring together, it will have to be at some point within the next year. The latter fighter is 35 years old, the former is 33. The decline in both men’s skills was apparent during their last two bouts, and that decline will only speed up and become more obvious as the weeks turn into months and the months turn into years.
If we get into the latter stages of 2013 with no Dream Match on the horizon, it will probably be safe to conclude that it won’t happen. Until then, though, we can hope that the two best pound-for-pound fighters in the world will come to their senses.
And while it feels as though there is nothing out there that will really nudge them into the right direction barring each having some sort of epiphany, words of wisdom from respected legends can’t hurt.
During a recent interview with The Sun, 55-year-old Sugar Ray Leonard spoke out regarding the only boxing match everyone in the world universally agrees they want to see.
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"Speaking as a boxing fan, naturally I want to see that fight — and I want to see it sooner rather than later.
"It won't be the same if they leave it much longer."
That last bit, of course, is in reference to the obvious deterioration we’ve seen over the last year and change from both guys.
"On the strength of Pacquiao's last fight against Marquez, you had people saying that Mayweather would definitely win should they meet. But you can't say that because it would be an entirely different fight between Pacquiao and Mayweather. I think it's a great fight and from a psychological standpoint I'd give Mayweather the edge, although I wouldn't bet my house on it."
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That’s a sound point, too. Marquez has given Pacquiao trouble his entire career, the fact that he thoroughly challenged him last November doesn’t say much about how the Filipino champion would fare versus Mayweather. If anything, Pacquiao’s inability to earn a KO over Timothy Bradley was far more indicative of his skills right now than anything that happened in the Marquez fight.
The same goes for Mayweather. His struggles during the first eight or so rounds of last May’s fight versus Miguel Cotto raised all sorts of red flags.
"It depends on who brings their A-game the night of the fight." Leonard concluded.
"They're both very talented but I still won't count out Bradley against Pacquiao, or Cotto against Mayweather. Put it this way, there is a lot of talent out there and neither Pacquiao or Mayweather can afford to fall asleep at the wheel."
(Kudos The Sun)