Two years ago when talks were initiated, most boxing aficionados everywhere deemed a megafight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. “inevitable.” They were too competitive to not want to challenge themselves. There was too much money out there for them to resist. Pride. Respect. Glory.
Blah. Blah. Blah.
Fast forward to the here and now. Suddenly, reflecting on the optimism exhibited back in those days falls somewhere on the intersection of “funny” and “sad.”
Back when Mayweather initially raised a fuss about performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) way back when, there was one booming voice of reason in the boxing community calling the whole thing a charade. Pointing out, repeatedly, that Mayweather was simply trying to distract from the fact that he never really wanted to square off against Pacquiao in the first place.
That voice belonged to the sport’s most respected historian: Bert Sugar.
During a recent interview with BoxingScene, Sugar was asked if he felt like we’d ever see the once unavoidable megafight.
“He’s never going to fight Manny. I’ve never thought so,” Sugar said of Mayweather.
“Here he is, a total disconnect from reality. After the [Victor Ortiz] fight he said ‘I’ll fight Manny if he agrees to taking the Olympic-style blood testing’. Has he ever noticed that twice he did, in two different negotiations?”
Pacquiao, of course, has come out publicly on numerous occasions and agreed to every single PED stipulation that Mayweather originally requested. He’s stumbled on purse splits and other matters, but he’s very consistently agreed to every PED testing requirement demanded of him.
“No, he doesn’t want to fight Pacquiao and he might not want to fight at all.” said Sugar
And that’s the sad state of the situation. Everyone is so resigned to this match not happening that they’ve already moved on, both mentally and on the business side of things. The general public has essentially tuned both Pacquiao and Mayweather out whenever the pair isn’t fighting and, on the business side of things, a number of other suitors have already lined up to challenge both men.
Amir Khan, clearly, is pining away for his shot at Mayweather in 2012. His constant digs and pokes at the undefeated champion are reminiscent of the shots Mayweather has taken at Pacquiao, ironically.
On the other side of things, Pacquiao has gotten a very intriguing challenge from 2010 Fighter of the Year, Sergio Martinez. Whereas in the past a fight between the two had been deemed pure fantasy by Top Rank, Martinez’s decision to move down in weight to 150 pounds is a legitimate game-changer. It’ll be interesting to see what unfolds with that proposed fight in the coming weeks.
What’s for certain at this point, though, is that we’re no closer to Pacquiao vs. Mayweather now heading into 2012 than we were back in 2010 when talks were initiated. In fact, if anything, we’re even further away.
Perhaps it’s finally time to call a spade a spade and categorize this “dream fight” as what it truly is at this point – a boxing pipe dream.