Manny Pacquiao’s feud with Floyd Mayweather Jr. is the byproduct of a lot of different factors. Some bad luck went into making that relationship as toxic as it is. Then there is ego. So, so much ego. Natural competitiveness. Historical placement. The list is endless, really. At its root, though, this rivalry was born because of one very basic thing: each guy believed he was noticeably better than the other. Each guy, frankly, was insulted at the thought of the other one being compared to him.
That was three years ago.
Things have changed a lot since then.
These days, there is no debate regarding who the top dog is. Mayweather is still regarded as the best pound-for-pounder on the planet. Pacquiao, meanwhile, is coming off two straight losses and staring at retirement if he falls to Brandon Rios this November. Whereas a few years ago there was a legitimate debate about who the better fighter was – that’s ancient history now.
For his part, Pacquiao seems to recognize that things have changed. During a recent interview with Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports, Freddie Roach acknowledged that they know Mayweather is above his guy.
"I think the gap is widening…” he said. "But that being said, I've told Manny, 'Knock this guy [Rios] out in good fashion and the Mayweather fight comes back real quick.”
That is very true. And as usual, Roach was able to encapsulate why it’s so true better than just about anyone can.
"Manny still wants the fight. We know that Mayweather turned it down, but the truth is this: Mayweather has four fights left after this next one [on Sept. 14 against Canelo Alvarez] and I'm not sure there are four guys in the world left for him to fight without Manny Pacquiao being one of them."
Exactly. Mayweather still has a lengthy fight deal with Showtime after the Canelo match. Win or lose, but especially if he loses, Pacquiao will become a very real potential opponent again.
Presuming he gets past Rios, of course.