Floyd Mayweather, Jr. did not become the highest paid American athlete in 2013 if he isn’t one hell of a salesman. He could be one of, if not, the best in that regard.
Couple that with a brash, cocky persona with exceptional boxing skills and you have the ultimate villain. He is the man fans would love to hate. Mayweather plays the “heel” role to perfection and therein lies the secret of his gain: the crowd patronizes him, not because of his impregnable but otherwise not fan-friendly, defense-first style, but simply because they want to see him lose.
To Mayweather’s credit, some of the best lower-weight fighters (Jose Luis Castillo, Diego Corrales, Zab Judah) in the era have tried to put a stench on his record but to no avail. It’s far from a secret to the casual fan that for the better part of two decades, no one ever did, and perhaps no one ever will.
The rise of Manny Pacquiao in the mid-2000s became a beacon of hope for Mayweather bashers.
There’s this nice guy from the Philippines with a literal rags-to-riches-story, knocking people left and right on his way to being considered the best pound for pound fighter in the world for over 300 weeks.
At last, there is now someone fans would view as a hero, the anti-Mayweather if you will.
All the talk about Pacquiao possibly beating Mayweather isn’t just wishful thinking. The Filipino machine has lightning quick hands with real power behind them and most purists believe Pacman’s all-pressure, fast-paced style could pose problems for the defensive-minded wizard. Even the great Sugar Ray Leonard called him a “tasmanian devil” the way he comes forward and throws punches in bunches.
On the contrary, Money’s game is not so much about rapid-fire boxing as not getting hit by any of the projectiles they call punches. But that just made the possible encounter a hundred times more exciting. Styles make fights, they say.
It’s a match-up many thought was made in heaven. Or maybe not.
Years before, reports said that at least twice, the fight almost pushed through only to fall in the last minute. Drug testing to which Pacquiao doesn’t want any part of then, the $40 million guaranteed money that he turned down, Bob Arum, and so forth.
Much has happened since then and Pacquiao, from being on top of the boxing world, plummeted to number 5 in most lists and Mayweather has been firmly planted in that number one spot.
Mayweather basked in the glory of having his fight opposite Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez billed as the highest grossing PPV fight of all time (2.2 million buys) and reportedly generated $150 million. Pacquiao, on the other hand, won convincingly against Brandon Rios but PPV numbers could only muster an anemic 550,000 buys, tops.
Now, that would only mean Pacquiao has lost much, if not all, of his leverage in talks of a potential showdown and Mayweather, the master that he is, isn’t going to stop reminding Pacquiao of the latter’s now-inferior status.
Recently, in a visit to Johannesburg, South Africa, Mayweather had some choice words for the fighting congressman and even pointed out Pacquiao’s two previous losses and recent tax issues.
“I offered Manny Pacquiao the fight before,” Mayweather said. “We didn’t see eye to eye on terms. Years later we come back and I try and make the fight happen again. I offer him $40 million. He said he wanted 50-50. So we didn’t make the fight happen.
“All of a sudden, he loses to Timothy Bradley, he loses to Marquez… he has tax problems now. So, two losses and tax problems later, now he all of a sudden want to say: ‘You know what? I’d do anything to make the fight happen,’ when he’s really saying: ‘Floyd, can you help me solve my tax problems, get me out of debt?'”
Pacquiao fired back summoning his inner villain, appealing to Mayweather’s manhood in a phone interview in a Filipino daily.
“I’m not desperate to fight him just for the sake of money or material things. I’m not the one seeking this fight; rather it’s the boxing fans all over the world. I am ready to submit myself to any kind of stringent drug testing.”
“Above all, I challenge him to include in our fight contract that both of us will not receive anything out of this fight. We will donate all the proceeds from the fight-guaranteed prize, should there be any, gate receipts, pay-per-view and endorsements-to charities around the world.”
Aside from proposing a charity fight, Pacquiao added:
“Floyd, if you’re a real man, fight me. Let’s do it for the love of boxing and for the fans. Let’s do it not for the sake of money. Let’s make the boxing fans happy.”
Of course, Mayweather’s accusations of Pacquiao being broke is unfounded and borderline ridiculous. Estimates have Pacquiao’s total earnings at over $300 million dollars and he is constantly in the Forbes magazine’s highest-paid athletes list year in and year out.
Mayweather may be on top of that list for a couple of years now but Pacquiao is no pushover himself. It is also interesting to note that “Money” got all his green exclusively from his fights and zilch from endorsements of any sort.
Pacquiao, on the other hand, has a quite a batch of local and international endorsements including Nike, Hennessy, San Miguel Corp., among others. The numbers may not add up to Mayweather’s totals but you get what I mean. Even with Pacquiao’s troubles with the BIR and IRS, he would still have enough money to last him and his family a lifetime.
But does Pacquiao did more harm than good in challenging Mayweather that way? Probably, but Mayweather isn’t the type to run out of wisecracks. He maybe is silent for now but expect a retort in the coming weeks.
Contrary to what some fans would suggest, Mayweather isn’t really scared as in “chicken scared” to fight the eight-division world champ. But the thing is, he is so concerned in nothing but in keeping his undefeated record and he recognized Pacquiao is as legitimate a threat as there ever will be.
What will happen if he ever get his rear handed to him? What now if that cloak of invincibility he so long treasured will be taken from him? Will he have endorsements to fall back on or the face to confront the people and the media?
Floyd is a salesman, remember, and he may be a classier businessman than a fighter.
I am one of the millions that wanted to see a clash between two of the best in our generation. Never mind the records,the gate attendance and the PPV buys; never mind the Ws and Ls or the legacies, just seeing Mayweather test his skills against Pacquiao and vice versa is enough to drive any aficionado nuts.
I, for one, believe Mayweather will outlast Pacquiao if it ever could happen. I have always favored defense over offense in any sport and it won’t be different this time around. But there’s always what-ifs and game breaks especially in big events and that’s what made sports exciting.
But sadly, everybody got their own reasons and agenda just not to make this fight happen. Manny had his when he was atop and Floyd Jr. always has his notwithstanding his own limits if there ever was.
From the looks of it, Manny Pacquiao doesn’t care now if he wins or loses; he has lost before and if he will drop one more time no one will be surprised. But I cannot say the same to Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
Maybe he has pondered over these things and decided it will be too much of a risk fighting a daredevil like Pacquiao. With that said, let us all put the buzz to rest until real talks begin and don’t keep your hopes up on a Mayweather vs Pacquiao.
But then again, I’d love to be proven wrong this one time.