A super fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. has been heralded as the biggest potential match in boxing history for a long time now. It has been sold that way for so long, in fact, that people have largely forgotten why it originally received that billing.
When this match was first seriously discussed three or so years ago, it was supposed to put the world’s top two pound-for-pounders in the world against one another. Pacquiao was crushing foes left and right in those days, and Mayweather was coming off a brief sabbatical that he essentially took because there was no one in boxing who was capable of taking him on. Three years ago, this prospective showdown would have been a true super fight.
Over the years, as negotiations became more of a promotional tool for other fights than anything else, the idea of a bout between Pacquiao and Mayweather turned into more of a big name versus big name match than a true dream match between boxing’s best. It would still generate crazy pay-per-view totals and be welcomed by the fans, clearly, but for a very different reason than why it was so anticipated originally.
The fact that Pacquiao and Marquez wouldn’t be as good from a substantive standpoint explains why, in some circles, the Filipino champ’s inevitable fifth fight against Juan Manuel Marquez is being trumpeted as being a bigger deal. Bob Arum indicated this much during a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times.
"That fight may be bigger right now than a [Floyd] Mayweather fight," he said.
Arum is obviously trying to hype a fight he knows will be made this September, but he also isn’t wrong in his assertion. Pacquiao and Marquez did fantastic numbers on this latest go-round, and that was with everyone expecting a bout as dull as their third one. Given how the fourth one concluded, there will likely be a huge numbers spike for a fifth fight.
Is Pacquiao’s next Marquez fight going to be bigger than a possible match-up against Mayweather? Maybe. Maybe not. But it will definitely be close.