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Is Floyd Mayweather Jr. Scared of Manny Pacquiao?

Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. have been discussing a potential Dream Match for three years now. When their talks began, it seemed inevitable that the pair would come to an understanding sooner rather than later and ultimately give the fans what they so desperately wanted.

Seemed is the key word there.

Instead we got legal drama, back-and-forth sniping, and bunch of different fights against an assortment of foes that nobody actually cared about.

Last month, Pacquiao made a pretty big gesture when he offered to give Mayweather 55 percent of the purse from their super fight. Seeing as purse split had been major point of contention between them in the past, this was seen as a somewhat monumental turning point. We’ll see, though. Mayweather hasn't really offered much of a reaction to date.

Earlier today, HBO’s Larry Merchant appeared on ESPN’s First Take and offered his take on all things Pacquiao versus Mayweather. And while a lot of people have obviously weighed in on the topic before, what made Merchant’s opinion all the more interesting is the fact that it a.) came bias free and b.) addressed the question: is Mayweather truly afraid of his Filipino counterpart?

“Mayweather thinks he can defeat Manny Pacquiao, and he would be the favorite leading into that fight should it ever take place. But what Mayweather is more afraid of than anything is getting that ‘L’ on his record,” Merchant said (via Joseph Herron of Eastside Boxing who was cool enough to transcribe the interview).

“He has marketed himself as this undefeated and unbeatable fighter. And to a lot of new boxing and unsophisticated fight fans, this is a big, big deal. To anyone who is familiar with the history of the sport, a single loss has never been a big deal. Because if you fight enough good, young fighters, history tells us that eventually someone’s going to beat you.”

So does that mean Mayweather is scared? According to Merchant – no.

“The problem is not that Floyd’s afraid of Pacquiao, but he does recognize Pacquiao as being the greatest threat to him at this time. So considering the Risk vs. Reward equation, why take a risk fighting a tough style match-up who will demand an equal amount of money, when you can make 40 million dollars fighting a more favorable style match-up who will only demand maybe 3 or 4 million dollars?”

And therein lays a great point. It’s not so much that Mayweather is afraid of getting beat up by Pacquiao (like Miguel Cotto was when they were discussing a rematch), he just doesn’t view the reward as something that is worth the risk. He thinks that the damage a loss would do to his legacy and bank account is greater than the damage not fighting would do. Is he right? Who knows. A fighter’s legacy is determined at the end of his career, not during it.

What do you think: is Mayweather scared of Pacquiao? Or does he simply think that it’s a dumb business move (because of the risks involved) to fight his arch rival? Or is that a distinction without a difference?

(Kudos Eastside Boxing)

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