TOP Rank Promoter head honcho Bob Arum recently released yet another teaser: Manny Pacquiao versus Floyd Mayweather Jr. is on the horizon, possibly for April 2013. Of course, we’ve heard the line so many times it is beginning to sound like a broken record.
Come to think of it, a broken record may be the key to making the mega fight happen.
Curtis Jackson, better known as 50 Cent in the music business, may turn out to be the missing piece in the negotiations to bring Pacquiao-Mayweather into fruition. 50 Cent, who boxed as an amateur, has this uncanny habit of turning everything he touches into gold. In addition to being a rapper, 50 Cent is a successful entrepreneur and investor. In July, he acquired a boxing license and eventually launched his new promotional outfit, TMT or The Money Team, in coordination with his friend Mayweather. Arum is apparently finding it more comfortable to negotiate with TMT, thus the announcement that Pacquiao-Mayweather may finally get off the ground.
Then again, for the big fight to happen, Pacquiao must turn in a stellar performance in a proposed November tune-up. It would be so easy for Pacquiao to pick a foe if Mayweather’s figure is not hanging above his head like the proverbial Sword of Damocles.
Pacquiao cannot just randomly pick an opponent without taking into consideration the Mayweather factor. In the search for a November adversary, at least two things must be taken into account: the opposing fighter must be competitive but not to the extent of jeopardizing the fight with Mayweather; Pacquiao must look spectacular opposite the boxer picked.
At least three names have been constantly mentioned in the latest Pacquiao sweepstakes: American Timothy Bradley, Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez and Puerto Rican Miguel Angel Cotto.
Noting the Mayweather factor, Bradley, 29-0 with 12 knockouts, appears to be the perfect fit. Pacquiao handily beat Bradley in June, only two judges saw the other way. Bradley did last 12 rounds with Pacquiao, guaranteeing that he will not go away that easy and will make Pacquiao sweat. There are downsides to this fight, though: Bradley, who was hurt on several occasions in the first fight, may run in the rematch (he ran in the last three rounds of the first fight) and make it a snore-bore. Also, with the World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title at stake, Pacquiao may get screwed again in the scoring if the return match goes the distance. After the first fight, this writer even called out Pacquiao to leave the WBO.
Marquez, 54-6 with 39 knockouts, is a very dangerous foe and could seriously threaten, if not ruin, Pacquiao-Mayweather. In three prior meetings, Marquez more than held his ground against Pacquiao. The Mexican, in fact, came close to defeating Pacquiao in their last two bouts. Marquez offers more than competitiveness; he can actually beat Pacquiao. On the upside: If Pacquiao can finally solve Marquez’s counter-punching style, he will boost his chances against Mayweather, the best counter-puncher in the business today. Unless Pacquiao really wants to take a huge risk, a fourth meeting with Marquez is better off delayed until after the Mayweather clash.
Cotto, 37-3 with 30 knockouts, rumbled with Pacquiao in November 2009 before yielding in the 11th round. In May, Cotto gave Mayweather fits before dropping a decision. An impressive performance by Pacquiao in a rematch with Cotto will send a chilling message to Mayweather. Weight, however, is an issue in the bout. Cotto now fights in the junior middleweight (154 pounds) division and has made it clear that he will never again go down in weight just to accommodate Pacquiao. Pacquiao is not likely to move up to 154 pounds considering that the Mayweather fight is expected to take place within the welterweight limit of 147 pounds. Unless the weight issue is resolved, Pacquiao-Cotto II is a figment of the imagination.
Pacquiao will eventually reveal his choice, but it cannot be denied that the Filipino ring icon will be moving in a direction that avoids jeopardizing the highly-anticipated meeting with Mayweather.
They have yet to meet inside the ring, but the boxing careers of Pacquiao and Mayweather have never looked so intertwined.