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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Will Mayweather - Pacquiao Ever Happen?

“Floyd Mayweather Jr., if you want a piece of the little Filipino, be my guest,” Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said.

Can boxing fans take Bob Arum’s post fight comments after Pacquiao-Hatton seriously? Will the super fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao ever take place?

Manny Pacquiao’s next opponent will be determined after June 13th when Miguel Cotto squares off against Joshua Clottey at Madison Square Garden. A Cotto victory could lead to a great match up against Manny Pacquiao in November or December perhaps at the World’s Most Famous Arena. This would be a mega fight matching two of Top Rank’s fighters, but this is not the super fight boxing fans around the world are demanding to see. It’s Mayweather – Pacquiao.

Where does that leave Floyd Mayweather if he gets past Juan Manuel Marquez on July 18th should Pacquiao end up facing Cotto? Will Mayweather face Mosley instead? Both Mayweather and Pacquiao would not have an easy time fighting Mosley and Cotto respectively and should just fight each other immediately if Mayweather gets past Marquez.

Who is the man? Just who is boxing’s pound-for-pound best?

On July 18th, Floyd Mayweather Jr. attempts to reclaim the throne as boxing’s pound-for-pound king as he makes his return to the ring at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas to face Juan Manuel Marquez at a catch weight 144lbs. Mayweather, who odds makers have as an early 4-1 favorite, retired from boxing after defeating Ricky Hatton by TKO in the 10th round on December 8, 2007. The distinction of #1 pound-for-pound fighter now belongs to Manny Pacquiao. The Filipino phenom has 7 stoppages in his last 10 fights and does not look like he’s slowing down anytime soon. His destruction of Ricky Hatton in 2 rounds on May 2 has some people believing Mayweather will not step in the ring with him.
Both fighters want to prove they are the best and by fighting each other, it would leave no doubt to who is boxing’s pound-for-pound king. However, there are a few obstacles standing in the way of this super fight. Let’s look into the possible reasons this fight will occur or perhaps not.

It will not take place

Juan Manuel Marquez is more than a viable opponent for Mayweather. He pushed Pacquiao to the brink of defeat twice with some ringside observers giving him the edge in those fights. Marquez is a very good boxer puncher and will pressure Floyd. He needs to use his jab effectively. Not many people are giving Marquez a chance, but how will Floyd respond after this layoff? Does he still have the legs to outbox opponents like he used to or will he be forced to fight Marquez in spots more than his past opponents. If he has to, will his hand speed be effective enough to get him the victory? As great as Floyd has been, being away from the ring will definitely at the least have an effect on his timing. A Marquez victory would more than likely lead to Pacquiao – Marquez III.

Bob Arum does not seem to be that eager to make the fight with Floyd. He likes the options out there for Pacquiao and if a deal cannot be made with Mayweather he would move on quickly. Maybe he thinks Floyd poses a serious threat to Pacquiao? Bob has stated that Pacquiao is the top draw now and negotiations could be tough because Floyd is undefeated and feels that he is the top draw and should get the lion’s share of the purse.
Without a 50/50 split, this fight may not happen. Both sides seem to want too much of the purse. Also, there is the issue of a catch weight. Freddie Roach feels 140lbs. is Manny’s best weight. “At the right weight? No problem. At 147? Forget it,” Roach said. “Why? Manny doesn’t need it. Manny’s best weight is 140. He should take some time off and make a good decision. He needs some time off.” Would Floyd fight him at 144lbs.?

A Cotto victory over Joshua Clottey and maybe Pacquiao chooses to fight Cotto instead of Floyd. This would also be a big fight and they could put Floyd on hold. Maybe the thinking here would be let Mayweather get a little older before we fight him if he gets past Marquez. Again, a fight between Cotto and Pacquiao could be made a lot quicker and easier as both fighters are promoted by Top Rank.

It will take place

There is too much money to be made for everyone as fight fans are clamoring for Mayweather – Pacquiao. The fans want it and they are talking about it. The time would be best right after Mayweather beats Marquez especially if it’s a very convincing victory over a fighter who Pacquiao had fits in the ring with on two occasions. If Mayweather has kept himself in shape, he should be able to take care of business on July 18th. He is the bigger fighter and Marquez has only 2 career fights at 135lbs. Now, he is jumping to 144lbs. Clearly, Mayweather has an added advantage given his hand speed and phenomenal ring generalship at the higher weight.

Marquez has struggled with boxers. His two defeats outside of the split decision loss to Pacquiao have come to Chris John and Freddie Norwood. Chris John is a very good boxer and the best at 126lbs in the featherweight decision. He defeated Marquez by a 12 round unanimous decision on March 4, 2006 in Indonesia. Also, Norwood did the same back on September 11, 1999. Marquez is a much better fighter now than when he fought Norwood, but the fact remains that he has struggled with boxers and now he will be stepping in there with arguably the best boxer in the world right now. Marquez’s lone other loss was a DQ in the 1st round of his 1st pro fight.

A Cotto victory over Clottey will not be easy. Most of Clottey’s fights have come above 144lbs. and he is the naturally bigger of the two. He has won his last five fights and this will be Cotto’s toughest fight since Antonio Margarito. Clottey has never been knocked out while Cotto has and Clottey takes a better punch. However, sometimes Clottey does not let his hands go and that could lead to some vicious body shots by the Puerto Rican welterweight. As we know, Cotto is a very good body puncher and it should be a grueling fight in front of a raucous pro-Cotto crowd at the Garden.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. is out to prove he is still boxing’s pound-for-pound king. He seemed agitated and irritable at the press conference to announce his comeback. He acts a bit shocked that the media and fight fans do not believe that he is still the best out there. He has a chip on his shoulder yet again and is looking to prove to the world that he is the best and Pacquiao should not be regarded as the reigning pound-for-pound king. This is setting up a great fight. Marquez is going to bring out Floyd’s best in his return to the ring. Mayweather may not use his defense to create offense this time around. One gets the sense that Floyd is extremely motivated to make a bold statement that he was always the best and still is among boxing’s elite. Do not be surprised if he uses his hand speed to display a strong offensive output in an attempt to stop Marquez. He will have made a strong claim to being boxing’s pound-for-pound king again with a convincing victory.

The consensus here is that Mayweather – Pacquiao will happen in the near future.