Commentary: A Pacquiao victory tonight forces us to hound Mayweather


Over the course of the last few days here in Las Vegas, one thing has become clear: if Manny Pacquiao defeats Timothy Bradley, we have a duty within the media to hound Floyd Mayweather Jr. when he fights on May 3 for answers.

Answers as to why he will not fight Manny Pacquiao. If we fail to do so, we have failed collectively, and idly, in the media. We will have been seduced by Mayweather's slickly oiled PR machine and those even slicker skills in the ring.

How can we sit idly and allow Mayweather to earn a quarter of a billion US dollars for his last six fights without pressing him, in the strongest possible terms, to step into a ring against a rival who has been the other great stand-out of this generation.

If Roger Federer, Tiger Woods, or any other great individual in a sport had patently avoided their closest rivals, what would we do? We would hound them until we got an answer. We would ridicule them for avoiding the most probing examinations possible.

Forget the riches and the records. For boxing's sake, Mayweather should be accountable.

Too often, when the question has been asked Roger Mayweather or Floyd Mayweather Sr. will set off on a diatribe, deflecting the attention away from Floyd Jr.

Miguel Cotto told me here yesterday that he could not choose between them. That it has to be a 50/50 fight. He has been in there with both men. And he knows their movements, feints, power and skillsets.

Victory for Pacquiao, who has transcended boxing, compels us to get answers. Pacquiao's journey now is bigger than just boxing, bigger than just prize-fighting. He is a fighting for a people. He says its "God's Will".

It should be the media's will to get answers to the Mayweather-Pacquiao stand off. Otherwise, the only other way is to determine that Mayweather fears facing the Filipino. My view is that he fears Pacquiao. Not necessarily the fighter. But the man, and what he stands for, and the way in which he has transcended the sport in a way that Mayweather has never done.

Pacquiao, sitting in the MGM Grand Arena, explained that he believes "it is God's will" that he fights, and he wishes to become "a public servant to do service for God" to rid his country of poverty.

Pacquiao grew up in abject poverty in a shanty town, often sleeping in a cardboard box, and now counts among his friends ex-US President Bill Clinton.

Pacquiao has earned over $150 million US in his career, and is boxing's only world champion in history over eight weight divisions in a career spanning 19 years and 62 fights. He wants to move into public service permanently when he retires.

I asked him about Mayweather. It is as if it is a tiresome subject. He clearly wants to fight boxing's vaunted No 1.

For several years, boxing fans have demanded a match-up with the sport's leading fighter, Floyd Mayweather Jr., who is unbeaten. Thus far, Mayweather has been unwilling to fight the Filipino.

"If we can't fight, maybe we can play basketball against each other, one-on-one," joked Pacquiao.

But really, that's not satisfactory. We need answers from Mayweather.

And the great, undefeated fighter should answer those questions.

Himself, in front of the media, without reference to blood tests, to fight purse, to conditions.

Great champions want to test themselves against the best, and feel compelled to do so.

Freddie Roach told me this, and he is correct in his thinking.

"We're fed up with Mayweather. The thing is he is the one who won't fight us. Manny is going to go down in history as a great fighter, the greatest fighter of his era. Mayweather is going to go down as a great fighter, but the guy who never fought Manny Pacquiao."

This is not politicking. This is the truth. Roach has also admitted to me in recent days that Pacquiao may have to consider retirement if he loses on Saturday night.

Mayweather knows this. He will not be convincing in the test of time as the great 'last man standing'. It is time for him to act before it is too late. Both men are nearing the end of respective, and extraordinary journeys in the sport.

If Mayweather defeats Maidana, and Pacquiao emerges victorious, Mayweather must not be let off the hook when it comes to the hardest inquisition.


Gareth A Davies is the boxing correspondent for The Daily Telegraph.