Aside from the megabucks involved, there are other factors on why the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao rematch may happen.
Mayweather, the megalomaniac that he is, wants to cement his ring record as the greatest fighter since Rocky Marciano. But that is a defective claim even if Floyd eclipsed Rocky ’s undefeated record of 49 victories. First, Rocky Marciano was an exciting fighter who took on all and every opponent thrown his way. His knockout victims include such heavyweights as Jersey Joe Walcott, Ezzard Charles, and Archie Moore.
Mayweather, on the other hand, is a boring boxer known more for his defense and getting out of harm’s way by dancing away from his opponent. This he did in dealing Pacquiao a unanimous decision loss in their first match in Las Vegas in May 2, 2015. Mayweather is also known for picking his opponents. The only other notable fighters he fought aside from Pacquiao, were Shane Mosley and Mexican Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, whom Floyd dealt his only defeat.
Like the way he fought Pacquiao, Mayweather used fancy footwork and his vaunted shoulder defense against Alvarez and Mosley. Manny, on the other hand, took Shane to school with a masterful display of volume punches that made Mosley said after the fight: “Manny’s punches were coming from every direction I couldn’t tell where to expect them.”
Like the other fighters Pacquiao fought, Mosley followed Ricky Hatton, Oscar dela Hoya, Antonio Margarito and more recently Lucas Matyssee into retirement. Pacquiao surprised the Argentine and his Filipino fans when he sent Mathyssee to the canvas thrice before the referee stopped the fight. Mayweather, known as the “Money Man” has enough to stay in retirement. But a three-year retirement period has made him an obscurity, something a megalomaniac like Mayweather cannot stand.
Floyd also knows he cannot attract fight fans unless he faces a marquee name like Manny Pacquiao. Big bucks from Manny’s following of Hollywood stars troop to Las Vegas from Los Angeles just to see the Filipino fight.
It must burn up Floyd to see Manny whom he defeated on points get more attention than him. So on this issue alone, Mayweather-Pacquiao II is bound to happen. Recognition and respect, which Floyd Mayweather desperately wants, will be the driving force in this rematch to be signed, sealed and delivered. It’s going to set a record at the box office because many want to see Mayweather get his comeuppance and Manny Pacquiao his revenge.
Speaking of revenge in a return bout, last Saturday’s (Sunday, Manila time) saw Mexican middleweight Canelo Alvarez exact his revenge against Kazakstan’s Gennady Golovkin via unanimous decision victory. Although there were no knockdowns despite Gennady’s record of 38 wins, 34 of them coming by way of knockouts, the Canelo-GGG II was a slam-bang fight from start to finish. Golovkin suffered his first defeat at the hands of the Mexican slugger.
Following his fight plan from lessons learned in their split decision draw first bout, Alvarez softened Golovkin with body punches prompting his foe to lower his guard to protect his torso. Canelo then peppered him with jabs and combination punches to the head.
Canelo suffered a cut on his left eyelid, but his ring handlers stemmed the gash from flowing blood. At the end of the fight, it was Gennady, who had cuts on both eyebrows.
The epic middleweight match between Canelo and GGG made more pronounced the lack of talent in the heavyweight division after the Ukrainian Klitschko brothers and Brit Lennox Lewis retired.
It is in the welterweight division which is teeming with talents and box office crowd drawers. Aside from Pacquiao, there are Amir Khan and even world lightweight champion Terence Crawford, who could easily move up to the 146-pound class.
Pacquiao, however, should avoid Crawford. The Nebraskan, a two-fisted knockout puncher is a dangerous foe. Amir Khan, an Olympic gold medalist is no easy fight, either. As a former spar mate of Pacquiao, the Pakistani knows the Filipino’s style.
Manny could fight Khan and Crawford later after the return bout with Mayweather. An upset loss to Khan could spoil the Manny-Floyd megabucks bout already in the works.
(The author is a former president of the Philippine Sportswriters Association)
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