Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. still make the vast majority of their career decisions based on money. While that sounds like ridiculously simple observation, it’s worth remembering that there are plenty of athletes out there who sacrifice larger paydays in an effort to win championships. This is especially common in football, basketball, etc.
When certain big name stars in team sports get sufficiently comfortable with their economic status, getting the most money possible at all times ceases to be their main motivator. Now, maybe that distinction is important – individual sports and team sports are very different. Either way, though, regardless of the reason, it’s impossible to deny that cash doesn’t rule everything for every athlete.
Understanding what moves Pacquiao and Mayweather is key when trying to determine what their next few decisions will be. For the former, it’s fairly simple. He has a bout lined up with Brandon Rios in November. The real question with him is what happens if he wins. For the latter, it’s a bit more complex. Mayweather has been rumored to be in discussions with Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez for a fight, however, weight issues are making negotiations far more difficult than they should be.
If you apply the “they’ll do whatever nets them the most money” theory to both Pacquiao and Mayweather, the next 14 or so months on their calendars suddenly becomes a lot easier to fill. Mayweather will not fight Alvarez – there is too much risk and not enough reward involved at the moment. Alvarez is a big name guy, sure, but he’s also a very formidable foe. Mayweather would rather take on an even more prominent fighter who doesn’t pose as big a risk: Pacquiao. If the Filipino star gets past Rios, an early-to-mid 2014 date with Mayweather makes plenty of sense.
Sports Illustrated recently ranked the most ‘fortunate’ athletes. Mayweather will make $90 million this year; Pacquiao took home $57 million last year. At the end of the day, they’re motivated by money above all else. And that motivation is what will ultimately lead to a showdown that’s been five years in the making.