There are two opposing views regarding how Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. feel about fighting each other. One side believes that, despite all the talk we have heard for the better part of five years, neither guy really wants this bout to come together. The other side believes the opposite: Pacquiao and Mayweather want this thing to happen, they’re just not in any sort of hurry.
It’s hard to argue with folks who fall into that first group. Ever since Mayweather returned from his extended sabbatical back in 2009, fans have heard endless speculation about a possible Mayweather-Pacquiao showdown. But despite all the talk, nothing has ever come to fruitarian. First performance-enhancing drug (PED) testing was a problem. Then money was a problem. Then this. Then that. There was always an excuse. When two athletes want something to happen, particularly two with the sort of sway that Mayweather and Pacquiao have, they make it happen.
Then again, the fact that fans are still calling for this bout despite five years of false promises sort of explains why there is no rush. Would less people buy Mayweather-Pacquiao in 2014 than would have bought it in 2010? Heck, would less people buy it in 2016? This match will always be a PPV best-seller, regardless of when it gets made.
Mayweather and Pacquiao currently find themselves in an interesting position. Mayweather is two fights into a lengthy arrangement with Showtime. He is reportedly considering fighting Amir Khan next, but it is universally agreed that Mayweather-Khan would do Mayweather-Robert Guerrero numbers – which both Showtime and Mayweather weren’t thrilled with. And beyond Khan, there is really nobody with any mainstream appeal for Mayweather to fight.
Pacquiao, meanwhile, is considering a bout against Timothy Bradley. Okay. That’s a sellable rematch. But then what? Juan Manuel Marquez doesn’t want a fifth fight. Ruslan Provodnikov is an option, but not a great one.
Mayweather-Pacquiao still makes a lot of sense.
This week, Mayweather explained his latest reason for not agreeing to fight Pacquiao.
"All of a sudden, he loses to Timothy Bradley, he loses to Marquez ... he has tax problems now,” Mayweather told reporters. “So, two losses and tax problems later, now he all of a sudden wants to say: 'You know what? I'd do anything to make the fight happen,' when he's really saying: 'Floyd, can you help me solve my tax problems, get me out of debt?'"
While that’s a great shot at Pacquiao’s purported tax problems, it’s not a reason for not fighting him. “I don’t want to help him make money” isn’t a legitimate reason for Mayweather to deprive himself of a massive payday.
Mayweather vs. Pacquiao hasn’t happened yet because it hasn’t had to. Clearly it’s still on the table, though. And with the lack of quality opponents out there for both men, it could very easily happen in 2014.