When Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Victor Ortiz face off in Las Vegas on Saturday, there will be a third man in the ring; no not referee Joe Cortez -- Manny Pacquiao.
Mayweather is 41-0 and considers himself to be the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. However Mayweather knows not everyone shares his opinion.
"I don't think I'll ever get the credit I deserve," Mayweather said.
Sports Illustrated writes:
How does he get that respect? Mayweather knows, like we all do. It's been said often and worth repeating: Mayweather will never be recognized as the best fighter of his generation until he defeats Pacquiao, the man who has charted a parallel career path the last few years.
Mayweather insists he wants to fight Pacquiao, but only if Pacquiao will agree to random, unlimited blood and urine testing for drugs and other banned substances. So far Pacquiao has not agreed to that, and his promoter Bob Arum is not confident that a deal can be reached before Pacquiao's expected retirement in 2013.
Until then, Mayweather will have to satisfy himself with the likes of Ortiz, who is a credible opponent but is still a 6-1 underdog.
None of those opponents carry the same cache of Pacquiao, the universally regarded pound-for-pound king who is camped out in the weight class Mayweather claims he owns. It's a fight filled with endless storylines: Mayweather against Arum, his former promoter. Pacquiao's strength coach, Alex Ariza, against a Mayweather clan that has suggested, hinted and at times come out and said that Pacquiao needed something extra to bulk up the way he has. Heck, Pacquiao publicist Fred Sternburg vs. Mayweather PR chief Kelly Swanson would be entertaining.