floyd mayweather jr, boxing, victor ortiz

Ortiz up next for Pretty Boy

Mayweather still needs Pacquiao for legacy

Sean Held @seanheld77

No man divides opinion in the sport of boxing quite like Floyd Mayweather Jr. Just the mention of his name can spark a bar brawl from Michigan to Manila and several stops in between.

A world champion at five different weights and unbeaten in 41 bouts, no fewer than nine different versions of world title belts hang on the walls of his ostentatious Las Vegas pile. Yet Pretty Boy Floyd’s legacy as a genuine hall of fame fighter is far from secure.

One man stands between Mayweather and the recognition he craves, Emmanuel Dapidran Pacquiao. But Floyd Mayweather needs Manny Pacquiao more than the Filipino needs him, even if the flashy American can never admit it publicly.

If the man born and raised on the unforgiving streets of Grand Rapids, Michigan, retires without ever facing his nemesis, the Mayweather Wikipedia entry will for ever need an asterisk and a photograph of the man they call Pac-Man, and he will be remembered as a phenomenal talent, but no sparring partner for the likes of Roberto Duran, Willie Pep or Sugar Ray Robinson in the great gymnasium in the sky.

True sporting legends need victories over other super-human rivals to define their extraordinary careers. Roger Federer’s epic tussles with Rafael Nadal have cemented both their places in the tennis history books.

Boxing is littered with such rivalries. Muhammad Ali, George Foreman and Joe Frazier captivated audiences across the globe. The names Thomas Hearns, Marvelous Marvin Hagler and Sugar Ray Leonard still exhilarate those who saw them fight live.

Bolton’s Amir Khan is being talked up as a potential Mayweather foe in 2012, after enhancing his burgeoning reputation on Saturday night with a near-flawless five-round demolition of accomplished New Yorker Zab Judah.

Khan’s astonishing progress since arriving at Freddie Roach’s Wild Card gym has not gone unnoticed Stateside. The 24-year-old Brit will secure a lucrative shot at Mayweather if he can defeat Kell Brook and Erik Morales in the next 12 months.

But Khan’s training compadre Pacquiao is the man who master trainer and tactician Roach really wants by his side, if he ever gets the chance to plot Mayweather’s demise

Fight fans, starved of top-quality, evenly matched world title bouts, are desperate to see the ultimate super fight. The cable television conglomerates and casinos are ready to bankroll it and sporting venues across the globe would love to play host. A team of Far Eastern tycoons are even rumoured to have offered the star duo $75m each to tangle in Singapore.

So often are the names of Mayweather and Pacquiao mentioned in tandem they could be mistaken for an American law firm. Unfortunately, a 2012 courtroom meeting seems more likely than a sporting face-off as Pacquiao has sued Mayweather and his camp for defamation after being repeatedly accused of using performance-enhancing drugs by the latter.

Pacquiao has never failed a drug test and is happy to obey the doping rules as set out by the Nevada State Athletic Commission and world sport in general.

Mayweather and his promoters will not sanction the fight unless Pacquiao bows to their will and agrees to stringent blood tests. Why Mayweather feels he is in a position to make extra demands is beyond most observers. There is not a shred of evidence in the public domain to suggest that Pacquiao has ever touched the banned human growth hormone, yet the mud-slinging continues.

The defensive, counter-punching, risk-free style the American has inherited from father Floyd senior and which has been fine-tuned by his uncle Roger, a former world champion, is slickness personified. No one can question the talent, ring acumen, speed and athletic ability – he has all that in spades.

When motivated and switched on, he is arguably the most mesmeric boxer many of us will ever see in the flesh. No opponent has ever found a way of really troubling Mayweather, who remains unbeaten as a professional. It all makes his reluctance to secure the marquee match-up infuriating.

Are we witnessing a potential waste of a unique God-given talent?

Floyd’s previous bout with the veteran Shane Mosley took place over a year ago and was only his third outing since a controversial split decision victory over Oscar De La Hoya in 2007. Can we really believe the 34-year-old when he says he wants to face Pacquaio in the ring? Boxing has taken a back seat.

Business ventures, including his Philthy Rich record label, sports gambling, celebrity television dancing, and a burgeoning friendship with controversial rapper 50 Cent have all appeared more important to the star than the sport that gave him his money and fame.

Mayweather did recently announce a September 17 comeback against Victor Ortiz for the WBC welterweight crown. Is it a warm-up for a genuine crack at Pacquaio or just another opportunity to swell his bank balance? Ortiz, a heavy-handed southpaw, fits the bill as a Pacquiao clone, but talent-wise they are in different stratospheres. Ortiz has little or no realistic chance of troubling the linear champ.

Pacquiao is so revered in his native Philippines that the people of the Sarangani province recently elected him to congress. The presidency is thought be a formality when he decides to hang up his gilded gloves. Every credible opponent from 112 lbs up to 154 lbs, bar one obvious admission, has been defeated.

Marco Antonio Barrera, Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito – all top-level world champions – failed to live with his astonishing hand speed, stamina and punching power. His remarkable ascent up the weight classes is unheralded, with word titles in eight different divisions.

Respected and almost universally loved by the fight fraternity, Pacquiao has little to prove. His record is not perfect, as Mayweather and his father are quick to remind us. But Pacquaio’s astonishing feats and the manner in which they have been achieved, in the six years since his most recent defeat, to Erik Morales, have erased that points loss in most people’s minds.

Morales was subsequently stopped by the Filipino in two rematches. So green and raw was Pacquaio when losing twice on Asian soil in the 1990s it feels like those defeats occurred in a different lifetime.

Bookmakers can hardly split them, with Mayweather a marginal betting favourite should the pair ever meet. Pacquiao keeps improving with every outing, but no one has even come close to solving the riddle that is Mayweather’s defence and many an expert thinks the American would win at a canter.

Pacquiao’s loyal promoter, Bob Arum, thinks his man would triumph with relative ease. “Manny would beat Floyd, I guarantee it,” Arum said. “He is unstoppable now. You are watching the greatest fighter I have ever seen. Floyd understands this business and this sport. If he really wanted to make this fight he would call us.”

Arum even joked that Floyd’s pro record should read 41-1, for avoiding Pacquiao so shamelessly.

Mayweather’s legal problems could yet scupper the fight once and for all. Pretty Boy’s hectic lifestyle has always been questionable. Eight felony charges relating to a domestic battery report filed against him by a former girlfriend hang over his head and, if he were convicted of all them, talk of a Pacquiao fight will be deemed irrelevant. San Quentin or Rikers Island are hardly suitable venues for the ‘Fight of the Millennium’.

Younger fight fans are turning away from boxing in their droves and into the arms of mixed martial arts. The heavyweight division, especially in the United States, is in the doldrums with college and professional football gobbling up most of the XXL sporting talent. Boxing needs this fight.

Pacquiao meanwhile, is cementing his position as undisputed pound-for-pound king. He has signed to fight Juan Manuel Marquez for a third time on November 12 at the MGM Grand casino in Floyd’s home town. The breathtaking young Mexican Saul Alvarez could follow next year, in front of a monster 100,000 crowd in Mexico City’s Azteca Stadium.

Mayweather, quick to show off his vast wealth in front of the cameras and to his followers on Twitter, could do worse than listen to the words of the man who adorns the $100 bills he is so keen on flaunting.

“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else,” Benjamin Franklin said. The time for talking has long since passed. The excuses will not wash. If Mayweather fails to step in and make the Pacquiao fight, the stigma of ducking the planet’s most popular pugilist could haunt this generation’s most gifted boxer for ever.

If you enjoyed this, then check out Sean’s illuminating darts feature “Boardwalk Empire”

25 Responses to “The Floyd Void”

  1. Floyd is a fraud. He has used up every excuse in the book to avoid Pac-Man. You didn’t see Mayweather fighting Cotto when he was unbeaten. He went nowhere near Margarito who is a huge fighter at that weight come fight night. He only fights old men. If Khan looks good in next two outings Floyd won’t face him either.

    Nice article exposing his BS.

    Listen to Rapper RA Rugged Man own Floyd and expose him on a radio show.

  2. jgillsitandy July 27, 2011

    Unfortunately It’s all about the Benjamins now for Mayweather. Pac-man wouldn’t get close to Floyd his defence is far too good, but I don’t think we will ever see the match up…

  3. Chelsea Blue July 27, 2011

    Harsh on Mayweather. A brilliantly worded article but harsh. Pacquaio has bulked up and improved so much I think he should be tested and tested again for substance abuse. I think we in England are quick to dismiss America’s best in most sports.

  4. Simon Hallett July 27, 2011

    A very accurate and informative piece of writing, i completely agree with Sean about Mayweather shying away from the Pac-man. How he can be alowed to get away with hiding from Pacquiao is a disgrace to the sport and denying the boxing public of what would surely be one of the great fights.

  5. Greg Dallamore July 27, 2011

    Great article. I was thinking recently how we will look back on these two legends in the future years, especially if they never face each other. I suspect both are shoe-in Hall-Of-Fame inductees whether they get in the same ring or not.

    It’s hard to look at Mayweather’s career without letting his work with the WWE, dancing, music, court trials, the “Money” persona etc cloud our judgments. Let’s be clear, this guy is an absolute boxing machine. He’s blessed with an outrageous defence first and foremost, but also fantastic hand speed, power and endurance. His destruction of Gatti in 2005 sums him up in a microcosm - a boxing masterclass carried out in just about the worst possible taste.

    I don’t think it’s so much a case of Mayweather needs Pacquiao or vice-versa - as you say, Boxing needs this fight and it needs it sooner rather than later. I’ve always suspected that the stalling negotiations were a deliberate attempt to whip up a frenzied thirst for a fight that money alone dictates should happen - but the longer it goes on the less likely it seems. Hopefully Ortiz is a warm-up fight for Mayweather (Roach suspects so and no one can argue with his opinions!) and then maybe we can see them get it on in 2012.

    Should they reach agreement then that old adage of “styles makes fights” will have never been so true. The proposition of Flloyd’s ghost-like defence and punching accuracy against Pacquiao’s perpetual whirlwind fighting style is simply mouth-watering.

    I just hope that when (if) they fight it’s not too late in both of their careers. Pacquiao has just as much going on outside the ring (if not more) and for all his domination against Mosley (his last fight), I thought he looked like a man struggling to find top gear. Hopefully not, boxing needs this fight and needs both of it’s best at their best.

  6. Name (required) July 27, 2011

    Manny = humble. Floyd = vulgar

    Manny = attacking. Floyd = defensive

    Manny = for his people. Floyd = for himself

    Manny = good guy Floyd = bad guy

    It is a classic promotion. My cat could sell out Texas Stadium if he promoted any meeting. But It won’t happen because Mayweather is an awkward sod and won’t dance to anyone’s tune. He’s no all tinme great in my book. I still think Oscar beat him anyway.

  7. zulu boy July 28, 2011

    great article, great read!! its one of those debatable sports subjects….Federer vs Borg, ’74Lions vs 97Lions etc etc but the way Pac Man can take punches and the speed in which he counter attacks i think its got to be Pac Man!! look at what all the so called experts wrote about the Hay Maker and he got an ass whipping and please dont mention his toe!!!
    once again great article!!

  8. Lee Huxtable July 28, 2011

    Great article on a great topic! Unfortunately I can’t see this fight ever happening. Both fighters have so many excuses and too much to loose (so do the promoters me thinks!). For what it’s worth I’d go for Mayweather - pure class. Amir Khan would get his butt kicked haha

  9. I disagree with the view that Mayweather would overcome Pacquiao. The Shane Mosley that fought Mayweather was a pale imitation of the man who, ten years ago, was very similar in style and method to Pacquiao and yet he still troubled Mayweather in the early rounds and came very close to flooring him. I believe a strong, aggressive pressure fighter, be it Pacquiao or even Khan would, over the course of 12 rounds, find ample opportunity to land telling and ultimately winning punches on Mayweather. Victor Ortiz won’t have the power at welterweight to make Mayweather pay for his declining reflexes. Pacquiao surely would. And for that reason alone the fight will never happen. Mayweather’s ego has grown to such grotesque proportions that he’ll never countenance entering the ring with an opponent who he knows could beat him.

  10. Clubber Lang July 29, 2011

    Another great article on this site. Hit the nail on the head here, regarding the necessity of a Pac-Man defeat for Money to claim ‘greatness’.

    I like Floyd. No matter what your feelings are toward him, as a man or fighter, he is undeniably Box Office and the sport of Boxing needs these characters. It’s a real shame that this once great sport is so void of top-level fights, which seemed so frequent in the 80′s & 90′s. The big names seem to be happy to make excuses to avoid one another, which is quite sad…

  11. Sean,

    Mayweather is a genius. Typical Brit writer - bashing a TRUE great. You guys thought Hamed was a god, look at him now. Khan will get destroyed by Floyd and Pacquiao if foolish enough to meet ‘Money’ wouldn’t land a punch. one-sided article.

    • Chelsea Blue August 1, 2011

      The writer can see no wrong in Paquaio. He wasn’t a stud until 25 how come the sudden improvement in power? Floyd is the real pound for pound numero uno and is 100% clean.

  12. Some very good points made here. The only fight in boxing that truly captures the imagination of almost everyone is Floyd v Pac.

  13. Montero August 1, 2011

    Very well written article with some good points, but I disagree about Mayweather’s hall of fame credentials being secure. He’s a LOCK for the hall of fame in his first year of eligibility. However I feel he needs Pacquiao to secure his “all time great” status…

    As of now, Floyd doesn’t even rank as the best of his era pound for pound and is barely among the top ten in the past thirty years. A win over Pacquiao (if he’s still near his prime) could change all of that for him. He’s already avoided fighters like Tszyu, Cotto, Margarito (when he was seen as legit), etc - he needs to make the Pacquiao fight happen, period.

    • Chelsea Blue August 1, 2011

      Avoided Tszyu? Get a grip man. He knocked out Ricky Hatton who tore Tszyu a new backside. Mayweather is back. The Hispanic kid gets KO’d in Sept and the rest will follow. Top ten last 30 years? Montero are you one of these cats that rates Pernel Whittaker, Roy Jones Jr and De La Hoya higher?

  14. Lucy 'Deuce' August 2, 2011

    I’m no boxing expert. I’m just a casual follower of the noble art, but as a piece of writing I really enjoyed this.

    The Benjamin Franklin quote was a real classy finishing touch. I loved the final two paragraph’s and the “great gymnasium in the sky” line in particular.

    Sports writing should entertain and inform I think you managed both here. I look forward to returning to the site for more excellent articles like this.


  15. Mayweather is a joke. Like the writer says, too many excuses.

  16. Chelsea Blue,

    It is offensive to suggest Manny Pacquiao is on performance enhancing drugs. There is no evidence. Mayweather’s pathetic slurs have a racial edge. He is almost suggesting no athlete from Asia could ever be as good as Manny naturally, so he must be using drugs. He in the past has racially slurred Manny with offensive, childish noodle jokes that would shame a 8 year old.

    When a sportsman from a country like the Phillippines shines through with outstanding talent and skill the critics look for a reason to doubt.

    Manny is a genius and a gentleman. Mayweather a bluffer and a bigot.

    Mayweather could make a fortune fighting Manny, yet ducks the match-up. Shame on him. Boxing fans know the truth.

    • Chelsea Blue August 8, 2011

      Take the test, silence the critics, it is simple. Blood and urine samples if you are clean. After the Barry Bonds Baseball doping farce it is amazing that Floyd, a leading US sports star is speaking out against doping. He should be applauded not called a coward.

  17. Essex Magpie August 18, 2011

    Mayweather is a strange individual. Only casual fight observers believe the excuses. He is so careful not to risk that 0. I think Ortiz has a shot as Mayweather isn’t getting any younger.

  18. Mayweather is pond life as a man. He doesn’t deserve such an indepth article, but I liked it very much.

  19. I’m pumped for Mayweather v Ortiz tonight, pumped. I agree with lots of your Mayweather criticisms here. He talks a lot of nonsense, he damages his own rep and the sport we love with his crazyness. And he has drifted and made easy fights for a while, but Vic Ortiz is a danger.

    Floyd is box office and we should enjoy his final years, because we’ll miss him when he’s gone.

    Your author doesn’t expect Pac v Mayweather to happen but I still think we might see it in 2012. I’m a glass full kinda man!

    Good luck with this venture gentlemen hope it thrives. Thankyou for the link on my forum and I will check back soon. Hit me up when you cover Boxing again.

    Mayweather in a war wins a close decision tonight. That is the word of the,

    Chess Boxer


  20. I do think that this piece is a little bit one-siuded. The Marquez fight this weekend shames Manny Pacquaio and particularly Bob Arum (we’ve seen it already and Marquez is finished at this level). Manny has been able to make a lot of money in the last two years and has not been overly proactive in seeking the Mayweather fight.

    Sean, I do share your frustration with Mayweather, just think you’ve let Arum off a bit lightly here.

    Some impressive stuff on this website,


  21. Leon Buckman December 12, 2011

    Mayweather Jr all day, if Manny isn’t hiding anything he should comply.


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