Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. are getting more frustrating to watch with each passing day. Both men are so clearly, so obviously above all of their potential opponents that the sheer fact that they can’t come to an agreement regarding a possible fight against one another is enough to make any boxing observer want to poke their eyes out.
There is no greater example of the redundancy and randomness that Pacquiao and Mayweather have resorted to when picking their upcoming matches than the latter’s September 17 bout versus Victor Ortiz and he former’s November 12 showdown against Juan Manuel Marquez.
Mayweather, the beacon of controversy and negative headlines that he is, has opted to return from a 16-month hiatus with what has been billed as a “thrilling” showdown against Ortiz. Now, to be fair, Ortiz is a nice little fighter whose claim to fame is handing Andre Berto his first defeat in one of the best fight’s of the year. That’s all well and good. What too often goes unsaid, though, is that Berto put Ortiz on his backside twice despite the fact that Ortiz was notably better than him throughout, and that nothing in that match -- aside from maybe his undeniable will to win -- indicated that Ortiz would pose any sort of threat to Mayweather.
We won't even talk about a 2009 fight where nasty, unyielding Argentine fighter Marcos Maidana knocked down Ortiz more than a Jenga tower on his way to a crushing victory. Hell, Maidana is good -- but he ain't Floyd Mayweather good.
To date, the selling points of Mayweather vs. Ortiz have centered around the latter being 10 years younger than the former, Mayweather’s potential rust, and how distractions will play into the equation. Plus, of course, the speculation that perhaps, perhaps Mayweather is using this match as a tune-up for Pacquiao.
Essentially, nobody believes Ortiz can beat Mayweather – and everyone acknowledges that the only way he’ll pull off a shocking victory is if extenuating circumstances play in his favor.
Pacquiao’s upcoming showdown against Marquez is no better. The pair has a storied history that dates back to two other fights, both of which are modern classics. On the first go-around, Pacquiao and Marquez fought to a controversial draw, with the former being robbed of victory due to an admitted mistake by one of the judges. The second time around Pacquiao won by decision, even though some (read: Juan Manuel Marquez himself) suggested that Marquez deserved to win the match.
The pair’s last bout was a long time ago, though, and they’re both very different fighters at this point. Whereas Marquez has more or less followed the typical boxing trajectory in terms of decline over the past few years, Pacquiao, astonishingly, has seemingly gotten better and better. There is absolutely no doubt in just about everyone’s minds that he will wipe the floor with Marquez and, as a result, selling the fight has become something of a chore. Much as is the case with Mayweather vs. Ortiz, the hyped up bits about Pacquiao vs. Marquez center around the rivalry between the men and all of the history involved. Similarly, it’s been suggested that the only way Marquez will beat his counterpart is if Pacquiao’s is tired or distracted or something else of that ilk – which he clearly won’t be.
So, once again, boxing’s two biggest events of the year are going to feature the sport’s two most prominent stars. And, once again, it’s not the super fight that everyone wants to see.
At a certain point, you’d think these two would realize that there is only one road left for them – but alas, that point hasn’t come yet.