A little less than three years ago, when both were recognized as two of boxing’s biggest stars, Sergio Martinez called out Manny Pacquiao. In a way it made sense: they were largely without equals at that point.
Pacquiao was coming off drummings of Antonio Margarito, Joshua Clottey, Miguel Cotto and Ricky Hatton. Martinez had been on a tear since 2001, dominating all challengers not named Paul Williams. Again, from the standpoint that both were competing on a whole different level than the guys they were being forced to fight, the prospective showdown made sense.
So why didn’t Pacquiao-Martinez ever materialize then? Easy: size.
Martinez is 5’10. Pacquiao is generously listed at 5’6, but he’s actually smaller than that. Realizing his size advantage over Pacquiao, Martinez offered to come down in weight to 152, and agreed to fight at catchweight. Unfortunately, that didn’t really solve anything. Pacquiao and his team rejected the offer, and everyone moved on.
Since then, Martinez racked up victories of varying levels of impressiveness over Matthew Macklin, Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., and Martin Murray. Conversely, Pacquiao has dropped two out of his last three. With both seemingly out of opponents, calls have once again quietly started up for a match between them.
It’s not going to happen.
The reason why Pacquiao wasn’t down to fight Martinez, even at catchweight, is because weight wasn’t the issue. It was the fact that Martinez is so much physically bigger. All Martinez starving himself to come down in weight does is lessen some of his power advantage and maybe his stamina – it doesn’t negate the fact that he’d tower over Pacquiao. Some guys can fight, despite their weight class differences, because weight is the only thing separating them. That isn’t the case here.
From a skill standpoint, Pacquiao in his prime versus Martinez in his would’ve been fascinating. But there’s a reason why this bout hasn’t happened to date, and that reason is as true today as it was then.