Friday, March 24, 2023  |


Can Manny Pacquiao just let it go and stop talking about fighting Floyd Mayweather Jr.?


A little over four years ago, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao fought in a bout deemed “The Fight of the Century”. While it set every financial record in terms of pay-per-view buys (4.6 million) and paid attendance ($72 million), Mayweather-Pacquiao failed to deliver inside the ring, as Mayweather won in a snoozefest by unanimous decision.

One would think after Mayweather dominated Pacquiao and showed why he’s the best boxer in this generation that the latter would let it go and move on. Mayweather certainly did, going 2-0 including another lucrative record-setting victory over UFC star Conor McGregor in August 2017.

“Money” has stated on numerous occasions that he’s retired and won’t be taking on Pacquiao one more time because he has enough in the bank to last more than a lifetime. Too bad Pacquiao can’t let it go and just come to an understanding he won’t battle Mayweather ever again.

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The Mayweather chatter popped up one more time on Wednesday morning when Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs) appeared on Fox Sports 1’s “Undisputed” with Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe to promote his fight against WBA (super) welterweight champion Keith Thurman on July 20 presented by Fox Sports PPV. Almost on cue, Bayless asked Pacquiao what the odds would be that he’d face Mayweather in the future.

“I think he’s scared (to fight again),” Pacquiao said to Bayless. “He keeps avoiding me, especially when I win this fight in July.

“But you never know, maybe he will come back.”

It’s easy to understand why Pacquiao wants one more showdown with Mayweather: Money. Nothing more, nothing less.

If anyone has remotely followed Pacquiao’s career recently, he owes the IRS tens of millions of dollars and is more or less competing to pay off the tax man. And what a better way to settle the debt and still have money for the rest of his life than by getting one final gigantic payday with an opportunity to take on the biggest box office attraction in the history of boxing.

Since the Mayweather fight, Pacquiao’s gone 4-1, beating Adrian Broner, Jessie Vargas, Lucas Matthysse and Tim Bradley and losing a controversial decision to Jeff Horn, which many boxing experts felt Pacquiao did more than enough to win.

The common denominator leading up to those fights was the fact that none of the fighters were really who Pacquiao wanted. He yearned for Mayweather. At every turn, Pacquiao continued to talk about Mayweather. Every time he was rejected like an individual with lousy credit who kept applying for a home loan.

There was a glimmer of hope this past September when Mayweather and Pacquiao appeared in a video together in Tokyo. The footage appeared to indicate they would be fighting in December. Of course, that never materialized, as Mayweather went on take part in a three-round exhibition match in Tokyo for Rizin on New Year’s Eve and thrashed undefeated Japanese kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa by first-round TKO. Pacquiao went on to dominate Broner and win a lopsided decision in January with Mayweather sitting ringside. The crowd went crazy when the question was asked to Pacquiao about who he wanted to fight next, and he said Mayweather, who deadpanned the entire thing.

MORE: Manny Pacquiao vs. Keith Thurman: Fight date, time, PPV price, odds, full card

Let’s take a moment and think about what it would look like if the fight did happen. You’d have two guys out of their athletic primes, fighting each other purely for financial reasons and nothing else. The interest would be nowhere near the Super Bowl-level hype the first bout generated. It’s the only fight since the first Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier battle in 1972 that captivated the world’s attention and made it stand still. Also, it wouldn’t come close to generating any of the live attendance or pay-per-view buys. Too many people were burned the first time around and learned their lesson of paying $100 to watch two guys have a glorified sparring match.

Yet, here we are once again for another build-up to another Pacquiao fight, and the number one topic is Mayweather. It’s tiresome and borderline pathetic to keep seeing Pacquiao get denied.

He’s Manny Pacquiao; Boxing’s only eight-division world champion, an icon around the world, one of the biggest attractions in the history of boxing and undoubtedly the second-best pugilist in this generation. He will always be the A-side regardless of how he performs for the rest of his historic career.

Also, take into the account he’s still competing at a high level at the age of 40 and will be taking on one of the best fighters in the world in a little less than two months. It’s one that Pacquiao has a good shot of winning before moving on to bigger fights against the winner of a likely bout between IBF champ Errol Spence Jr. and WBC titleholder Shawn Porter, the winner of the rumored Mikey Garcia-Danny Garcia or WBO titlist Terence Crawford.

None of them hold the cache of Mayweather at 147 pounds. And that’s ok. No one ever will.

Do what you do best, Manny. Take these exciting fights, put on a show for your legions of fans, win like only you can, and then ride off into the sunset with your faculties intact because Floyd Mayweather is never coming back.

By Steven Muehlhausen



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