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Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley: Was Floyd Mayweather Ever a Possibility?

We now know for certain that Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. will not square off in May of this year. We also know with relative certainty that they probably won’t face off this November, despite Bob Arum trying to make us think that they will. Instead, Pacquiao will most likely take on Timothy Bradley in June and Mayweather will put his undefeated mark on the line against Miguel Cotto in May.

The real question that that the boxing community should be asking itself at this point is: did we just get Punk’d?

Let’s quickly recap how we got to this point and see if any of it was legit.

In September of last year, Floyd Mayweather Jr. earned a decisive but controversial victory over Victor Ortiz via sucker punch knockout. A month later, in November, Pacquiao earned a questionable and controversial victory by decision over Juan Manuel Marquez. The way both of those fights ended left a bad taste in the mouths of both fighters’ fans and, for perhaps the first time ever, both groups sort of turned against their respective guys.

Right before Pacquiao’s fight in November, Mayweather came out and insisted that he wanted to fight his Filipino arch rival in May of 2012. Most wrote his comments off as a pathetic attempt at trying to steal a bit of Pacquiao’s limelight prior to his fight versus Marquez. However, in December, perhaps sensing the general tenor of the public, Pacquiao extended an olive branch to Mayweather. He said that he would be willing to fight his undefeated arch rival, and even offered him the lion’s share of the purse in the event that they did fight.

Progress was seemingly being made. At one point, Pacquiao told reporters that they were “80-90 percent” there as far as making a fight happen. Needless to say, that wasn’t exactly accurate. On the first day of February, after supposedly unofficially negotiating for months, Pacquiao and Mayweather made it official that they wouldn’t fight one another this May. They left the door open for November, but the reality of the situation is that Pacquiao will likely face off against whoever wins Juan Manuel Marquez and Lamont Peterson’s probable showdown in November.

So yeah, don't get your hopes up about a blockbuster to close out the year.

Back in late 2011, Timothy Bradley signed to Bob Arum’s Top Rank machine. When that signing became official, most (read: all of us) figured that this cemented a Pacquiao vs. Bradley showdown for early 2012. Arum denied this was the case. We should’ve known better than to believe him. Amazingly enough, all these months later, we’re left with the exact same fight that we all assumed would happen.

Here is the situation in a nutshell: Pacquiao and Mayweather are scared to face one another. Both are scared. That’s why each one always takes the tiniest of opportunities to break off negotiations rather than sticking it out as they would with pretty much any other fight worth having. So because both fighters are scared of each other, they probably tried to distract from the negative attention they earned late last year by making us believe that this fight which they were never going to have was going to happen. And of course, we took their bait – hook, line and sinker.

Again, they were probably never going to fight one another. There was always going to be something that would come up. Pacquiao was always going to fight new Top Rank signing, Bradley. And Mayweather was always going to fight a Latino fighter on Cinco de Mayo.

After all, what other explanation could there be for Pacquiao reneging on his offer to give Mayweather the “lion’s share” of the purse? What other explanation could there be for Mayweather suddenly going silent after months of refusing to shut up?

It was all a publicity ploy. And we fell for it. Congrats folks – we’ve just been Punk’d.

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