The much-ballyhooed showdown between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. may or may not eventually happen. Based on everything we’ve seen thus far from the two central figures of this ongoing soap opera, nothing they do from here on out would be particularly surprising.
Let’s suppose for a moment, though, that they don’t ever actually end up fighting. Is there anyone that either guy could take on that would make us forget about the other?
Over the last six months, the proposed non-Mayweather opponents for Pacquiao have been: Miguel Cotto, Lamont Peterson, Juan Manuel Marquez and Timothy Bradley (who he’ll fight June 9). Presuming the Filipino champion comes out of his upcoming bout unscathed (like odds makers say he will), the four options he had will go down to three. And when Cotto falls to Mayweather, they’ll go down to two. If Peterson ultimately beats Amir Khan and Marquez beats Sergey Fedchenko, both will be viable options for Pacquiao’s end-of-the-year fight.
But would either one of them make fans forget about Mayweather? Nope.
On the flip side, Mayweather’s list of potential opponents after his guaranteed May 5 victory over Cotto is far more in intriguing . Prior to agreeing to take on Cotto, the undefeated champion was mulling a match against Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez. Now, however, there is some talk about him eventually moving to middleweight and squaring off against the No. 3 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, Sergio Martinez.
As noted by ESPN:
However, rather than considering a drop in weight - or a demand for Pacquiao to step up - in order for the pair to square off, Mayweather's trainer and uncle Roger recently revealed a move up to middleweight could be on the agenda. That was later confirmed by the fighter himself, who has WBC champion Sergio Martinez in his sights.
"I can't rule out the future, you know down the line I may want to make that jump and fight at middleweight, you just never know," Mayweather stated over the weekend.
"I just want to give the fans exciting fights and if Martinez is the guy at that time then we shall see, but right now my main focus is on Miguel Cotto."
For his part, Martinez is excited about the prospect of facing off against Mayweather.
"My big dream is to become the best pound for pound fighter. It's like the ultimate goal for me. At this moment, for me, the best out there is Mayweather. But once I fight him, and beat him, I'll be satisfied. For me personally, a fight against Floyd would be the biggest and most difficult of my career," Martinez told Boxing Scene.
Plus, he and his camp have already made the necessary sacrifices to show how badly they want this bout. Don’t forget, following Martinez’s victory over Matthew Macklin, his promoter made this public plea to Mayweather:
"We would fight Floyd at 151. We would fight Floyd at 150 and [Martinez] would have to kill himself to make 150 and Floyd would be favored [to win] at 150. Cotto is a dead man at 154. Cotto is a half-shot.
“He's a great fighter, but he gets hit by everything. He incented Cotto to make a big money fight. It's very smart business. If he wants to handicap Sergio, we'll fight him as low as 150. And we'll give him 80% of the money. Mayweather can have 80% of the money and we'll fight him as low as 150. Let's do the fight, after he beats up Cotto.”
Say what you will about how much boxing needs a Pacquiao versus Mayweather showdown, but this proposed battle wouldn’t be too shabby of a consolation prize.
Would Martinez versus Mayweather make folks forget about Pacquiao versus Mayweather? Yeah, probably. Will it actually happen, though? Time will tell.
[Note: Make sure to check out Rope-A-Dope Radio every week as they interview Bob Arum, Alex Ariza and all the other hottest names in boxing.]