There have been many fights in boxing history that we have received past their sell by date. Two top superstars in a division can only avoid each other for so long before the inevitable happens and they finally meet to decide who is truly superior. Ray Leonard finally fought Marvin Hagler in 1987 after three years of procrastination when the fight was first proposed in 1984 and another example is when Mike Tyson met Lennox Lewis in 2002 when five years earlier his promoter Don King paid Lewis three million dollars in step aside money so Tyson could avoid the fight. The optimist in many of us says that this will be the case with Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, but one can’t be to sure with the ever changing stance of Mayweather when asked about the potential matchup.
Right now one thing seems certain though and that is that both of these men are not the same fighters that they were three or four years ago. The big question moving forward is: Who has slipped more?
When this fight was first proposed in 2010 it was looked upon as a 50/50 fight but in 2012 all of that changed when Pacquiao lost back to back fights to Tim Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez. Marquez brutally knocked out Pacquiao in six rounds in their encounter, which many felt Pacquiao would never fully recover from. Ever since then Mayweather was looked upon as the favorite until most recently this year when he had two tough fights with Argentine slugger Marcos Maidana. In those two fights Mayweather actually looked human causing boxing fans and pundits to second guess themselves once again.
One can even argue that Pacquiao looked more impressive in his last fight against Tim Bradley, who many consider a better fighter than Maidana, than Mayweather did in his last performance. Pacquiao seemed to fight a very intelligent fight in the rematch against Bradley and if he continues to fight this way moving forward it could spell trouble for Mayweather. ESPN’s Stephen A Smith went as far as saying, “The Mayweather that I saw against Maidana would lose to Pacquiao.”
Because of the recent change in events, and the fact that both men are starting to run out of opponents, this fight is starting to regain the luster that it once had four years earlier when it was first proposed.
Pacquiao doesn’t have an easy task ahead of him on November 22 when he faces WBO Junior Welterweight Champion Chris Algieri. Algieri has been known to upset the apple cart before, but it remains to be seen if he has enough power to slow down Pacquiao who tends to bring a lot of movement, volume, and pressure to the dance. Most feel that Pacquiao will be too much for Algieri and I tend to agree.
We can only speculate on whether or not this fight happens next year, but as it stands right now Pacquiao seems to be on board while the ball remains in Mayweather’s court as to whether or not he will finally accept the fight.