It’s been four years since the hype for a Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao showdown began. Four long, grueling years of excitement, disappointment, hope, faith, failure, frustration, anger, and just about any emotion that anyone can think of. When it comes to talking about a superstar showdown between boxing’s two biggest fights most have just given up. Even the media barely touches on the issue now. Yet, somehow, someway, after four long years of failed negotiations and heartache for every fan of boxing there is, the fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao is still the most anticipated fight in the sport of boxing.
If someone would have told me four years ago that in the year 2014, Mayweather and Pacquiao still wouldn’t have fought, yet they would still be the two biggest selling names in the sport and people would still actually want to see the fight I would have called them insane. Yet here we are, and everywhere I go people that don’t even follow boxing still persist to ask me the questions, “When are Mayweather and Pacquiao going to fight?” “Do you think Mayweather vs Pacquiao will ever happen?” Why isn’t this fight happening?”
The questions always pour through with most people wondering why Floyd Mayweather is scared to fight Manny Pacquiao. That seems to be the general consensus among fans. Whether or not that is the case anymore I truly do not know. I do believe he was scared four years ago but right now I think this has just turned into an ego battle. No one wants to reach out first to try to make the fight happen. Mayweather says he won’t work with Arum, Arum says to make the phone call so they can talk yet refuses to make the call himself. And every single time Arum mentions a possible fight between Mayweather and Pacquiao, he goes and sets a date with an opponent for Pacquiao and says “Well if they call me then we can talk about Mayweather-Pacquiao.”
At this point, regardless of who’s fault it is only one thing stands true. The fight needs to happen right now. Manny Pacquiao has regained the hype since his knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez back in 2012. He dominated Brandon Rios in 2013 in Macau and revenged a loss to Timothy Bradley last month. He’s regained the lost faith that people had after 2012 when they saw him hit the canvas and any dream of a Mayweather showdown dying that night. People believe in Manny Pacquiao again. More importantly, after Mayweather’s fight against Maidana, they believe that he can still beat him.
The selling point for Mayweather-Pacquiao has always been the one thing everyone wants to see. Floyd Mayweather losing his first professional fight. For the last four years the one belief among fans is that Manny Pacquiao is the only person that can do it. Mayweather’s fight against Maidana has lead some people to believe that he may have lost a step, and that someone aggressive can give Mayweather a problem. The problems that he faced against Maidana last month showed people something. Pressure and a lot of punches might be able to fluster Mayweather. No one throws more punches and pressures better than Pacquiao. Boxing is often a sport where a fighter is only defined by his last fight. And based on Mayweather and Pacquiao’s last fights the fans have lost no interest in wanting to see it.
As we go into the Fall of 2014 neither Mayweather or Pacquiao have a set opponent. Finding opponents isn’t an issue in the welterweight division these days as there are plenty of names on the list of possible foes. Finding an opponent that can sell though, well that’s a huge problem that both Mayweather and Pacquiao have. Big names sell in the sport of boxing and the truth is, Golden Boy and Top Rank do not have anyone available in late of 2014 that is going to sell big numbers for their top guys. Most reports, while not official, have Mayweather-Maidana falling around the 800-900k buy range. Pacquiao-Bradley did around 750-800k. Neither are bad numbers, but for the amount that both fighter’s are getting in their purse, it’s not that good either. These two guys don’t just need to exceed one million, they need to do a couple hundred thousand over the one million mark. Mayweather more so than Pacquiao.
Big names sell in boxing. The short list of opponents that could do the 1.5 million buys that both sides would like to see are Miguel Cotto, Sergio Martinez, and Saul Canelo Alvarez. For Mayweather, he’s already beaten two of the three. It’s likely that if he were to rematch Cotto or Alvarez, or even attempt a showdown against Martinez, he would have to wait until 2015 for the fight to take place. Cotto and Martinez are facing off in just a few weeks with the winner likely in line to face Canelo (should he beat Lara) in the winter. For Pacquiao, Martinez and Alvarez seem to be to big for him, and a Cotto rematch would also depend on how Cotto finishes out the year. My point being, those three guys are likely unavailable for the remainder of 2014 for both Mayweather and Pacquiao.
Neither Mayweather nor Pacquiao have anyone left to fight. Yes, they could both do rematches later this year with Maidana and Marquez and each one will probably do over one million PPV buys. But it’s not the fight’s fans want to see. Neither fight is one that fans are desperately waiting to be signed. Most can care less if either fight gets done or not. It’s not going to generate the type of money that Golden Boy and Top Rank want to see. With Mayweather looking vulnerable and Pacquiao back from his devastating loss, the fight, fans still want to see after all these years. is Mayweather vs Pacquiao. It’s the only fight that makes sense right now. Both have washed out their list of high profile fights. Neither fighter is selling good on their own right now. The fight makes sense.
I think both sides understand this. It’s no secret that they were both very disappointed with the PPV numbers that came in. Will it happen? Not likely. Both sides seem content to have their rematches and move on despite the money being left on the table. That doesn’t mean it shouldn't though. That doesn't mean that it still isn't the biggest fight in boxing, and possibly the biggest one in boxing history.