Sunday, March 4, 2012

Floyd talks nonsense in denying Pacquiao

source: Joaquin Henson | The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Floyd Mayweather Jr. will spend 87 days in a Las Vegas county jail starting June 1 as punishment for beating up former girlfriend Josie Harris, mother of their three children, but from the way he’s been blowing hot and cold in negotiating a deal to fight Manny Pacquiao, the fighter nicknamed “Money” would be better off in a psychiatric ward than a prison cell. Mayweather quietly turned 35 last Feb. 24 and has been making noise since early this year about a blockbuster duel with Pacquiao. “Manny Pacquiao, I’m calling you out, let’s fight May 5 and give the world what they want to see,” he tweeted last Jan. 11. Then, in another tweet, he taunted the Filipino icon, saying “Step up, Punk.”

Despite the cockiness, it appears Mayweather is scared stiff of Pacquiao and would rather destroy the dream of an ultimate showdown than risk staining his unblemished record. Mayweather has made unreasonable, if not highly objectionable, demands to make the fight happen, indicating an unwillingness to engage. Mayweather is deliberately spitting in the wind with conditions like Pacquiao taking no share in the pay-per-view income for a $40 Million guarantee and leaving promoter Bob Arum out of the picture.

Pacquiao has offered a 50-50 split and even a 55-45 proposition with the winner gaining the higher cut. There is basis for Pacquiao to stick to his numbers. In Pacquiao’s last fight against Juan Manuel Marquez four months ago, pay-per-view buys hit 1.4 million. Mayweather’s bout against Victor Ortiz last September took in 1.25 million. Mayweather’s last two fights fetched a total paycheck of $20 Million while Pacquiao earned a combined $42 Million in his last two outings. In terms of current value, Pacquiao is clearly more marketable than Mayweather. For “Money” to insist on a bigger slice of the pie is insane. Mayweather’s illusions of grandeur are indicative of a mental imbalance.

Perhaps, in the case of Pacquiao and Mayweather, never will the twain meet – as Rudyard Kipling wrote in his 1892 book “Barrack-room Ballads.” And it’s a pity because the fight game is denied the one bout that could restore the credibility of the sport wracked by greed, politics and egos. Pacquiao has agreed to Olympic style random drug testing except on the day of the fight, rendering Mayweather’s bogey of steroid use an irrelevant issue. Pacquiao’s offer of a 50-50 split or a 55-45 option can’t be unreasonable, particularly as both fighters would be guaranteed $50 Million either way. Mayweather has no excuse to decline such a juicy offer particularly as he can’t make a deal anywhere close to the numbers that a Pacquiao fight would deliver. “When a deal takes too long too come to fruition, it tends to rot at its core,” wrote Ron Borges in The Ring Magazine. “They are the two most popular and powerful boxers in the world. The window is closing on both of them. Age is becoming another complicating issue in this. In the end, fights like this get made when the two fighters finally tell their employees, ‘Make the fight and don’t come back until you do.’” The problem is while Pacquiao would readily give the marching orders, Mayweather is hesitant.

Boxing News editor Tris Dixon blamed the impasse on ego. “It is a dreadful thing that a fighter feels more compelled to compete at the negotiating table than he does in the ring,” he wrote. “If it’s not one stumbling block, it is another and if it’s not the fighters preventing it, it is the promoters. Until they collide, however, we are left only flirting with the idea of the superfight.”

Writer Matt Christie commented: “The Pacquiao-Mayweather saga is a tired subject that epitomizes much of what is wrong with boxing today. Can you imagine a football season passing without Chelsea and Manchester United clashing? Where would tennis be if Nadal and Federer hadn’t nurtured such a gripping rivalry? Of course, the key structure of those sports ensures the best have to collide with the best; it is an ever-present thorn in boxing’s side that fights of such magnitude can be sidetracked.”

Mayweather’s recent lack of activity denotes an attempt to prolong a career at its ebb. He fought only once last year, once in 2010 and once in 2009. Mayweather didn’t even see action in 2008. He hasn’t fought thrice in a year since 2005. In contrast, Pacquiao has been a lot busier with nine fights in the last four years compared to only three for Mayweather. Pacquiao, 33, turned pro in 1995 and has a 54-3-2 record, with 38 KOs. Mayweather made his pro debut in 1996 and his record is 42-0, with 25 KOs.

On May 5, Mayweather returns to the ring to battle Miguel Cotto while Pacquiao takes on Tim Bradley on June 9. There is hope that if both boxers survive their next assignments, they’ll cross paths sometime in November to finally, do the fight of the ages. Nobody is holding his breath for it to happen but if Mayweather realizes money takes precedence over ego, he’ll eventually come to terms. Pacquiao is just waiting to get it on.