Floyd Mayweather Jr. was born into this world to do two things: be an amazing fighter and unnecessarily irritate Manny Pacquiao.
At a certain point, you would think that a reasonable person would look around and say to himself, “If I’m not fighting this guy, why do I constantly need to talk about him?” Based on everything we’ve seen, though, it appears as if that particular inner monologue never has and never will run through the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world’s mind.
During a special news conference on Monday, Mayweather kicked off his three-day press tour with a bang by calling out both Antonio Margarito and Pacquiao as cheaters. Yes, cheaters. In his first official move to hype his looming May 5 fight with Miguel Cotto, the most polarizing figure in boxing opted to call out two guys he won’t be fighting at any point in the foreseeable future.
"Floyd Mayweather is not a cheater like Antonio Margarito and Manny Pacquiao. Hard work. Hard work. Hard work," told an excited, boisterous crowd (via Ring TV).
"We want to give the fans excitement, we want to give them what they want to see, so he don't have to worry about me moving. It will be a toe-to-toe battle May 5. I've faced 42, and I've beat 42. I never worry. It's just another day. So you can scream and root for him because it's the right thing to do...But you don't dominate this sport for 16 years without hard work."
Mayweather’s reference to cheating as it relates to Margarito is understandable. His reference to Pacquiao? Not so much.
Back in 2009, Margarito was found to have been using illegal cast-like handwraps. Following a meticulous investigation by folks working with the California Justice Department, it was ruled that the handwraps did in fact give him an unfair advantage and he was swiftly punished for his crimes. Pacquiao’s involvement with cheating, however, is limited to Mayweather’s active imagination, in which the Filipino champion apparently abuses performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). Of course, no proof or reasonable evidence has ever been offered by anyone to back that assertion up.
It is worth noting that Mayweather trying to piggyback off Pacquiao’s popularity to hype up a fight and vice versa is nothing new. Just last week, mind you, Pacquiao evoked his arch rival’s name in a press conference regarding his looming June 9 showdown versus Timothy Bradley. The tone used in Pacquiao’s references to Mayweather is much lighter than the tone used in Mayweather’s references towards Pacquiao, though.
Based on everything we hear from them, it’s clear that both Mayweather and Pacquiao can’t get out of each other’s minds. Will that eventually lead to an epic superfight between the two men? Perhaps. But if the last few years has taught us anything – it could also just lead to absolutely zilch.