Despite their first-ballot hall of fame worthy accomplishments, Alan Massengale believes that Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather need each other to fulfill their legacies.
At the risk of feeling like a solitary polar bear floating along out on the frigid ocean on a slim piece of ice that has broken away from the berg, allow me to go out there on my own.
It’s cold and lonely out here, but I’m going to say it.
Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao MUST fight.
The rest of the boxing world has seemingly given up on this idea. I’m saying it HAS to happen. And when it does, the ethereal elements comprising the nuances of this wonderful sport of boxing will once again be on firm footing. Yes, like that bear on the ice flow rolling along on the currents but eventually finding its way back to terra firma, all will be right again.
Yet, the doubters are sage and serious. For example, I asked one of the foremost sportswriters of our generation, Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Dwyre, “Mayweather and Pacquiao. Will it ever happen?”
Dwyre said, “I don’t think so.”
Then I asked him to name one great fighter, in history, who did not face the absolute best in his division. He could not think of a single example. Nor can I. Try it yourself. It’s a great mental exercise.
Here’s how it goes:
Floyd Mayweather beats Saul Alvarez in September, which Mayweather should.
Manny Pacquiao beats Brandon Rios in November, which Pacquiao should.
Then what? Is the public clamoring for Pacquiao-Marquez V, Pacquiao-Bradley again, or Mayweather-whoever?
For boxing purists, it perhaps doesn’t really matter. Folks like us will watch a fight between two guys battling over a burrito at a roach coach in Tijuana. We might even pay to see it.
But in order to reach out to a massive audience, to ensnare the traditionally non-boxing fans, to capture the imagination of all sports fans and non-sports fans across the planet, there is only ONE fight.
It wouldn’t just be a fight. It would be a global event. There wouldn’t be a traffic jam in the world while the show is televised, not even in Manila or Los Angeles, and that never happens.
Pacquiao controls the Pacific Rim and Asia in terms of popularity. Mayweather controls the Western Hemisphere.
They both have made enough money to live one hundred lifetimes. So let’s take the promoters out of the equation (as if this were possible).
Manny and Floyd need each other to fulfill their legacies. They may not think so now, but fast forward five or 10 or even 20 years from now. Each lying in bed at night on their silk sheets in their Gucci pajamas and they ask themselves, “Was I really the best? Did I beat the best?” Right now, the answer is no.
If they don’t figure a way to get this done, there will always be a gaping hole in their self-esteem. Somehow, they have to know this. It’s just the way it is.
Apparently, while the promoters and pundits are declaring the fight a dead issue, the two fighters have been talking. “SI.com” recently said Mayweather called Pacquiao, who says they talked for about two minutes on the telephone. A $40 million dollar bundle was offered to the “Pac Man.”
Pacquiao said, “I don’t know what his reason was. I did not agree with everything he wants. Floyd wants more profit. Yes, he offered me 40 million.”
Apparently the hitch is Mayweather proposing Pacquiao sign with Mayweather Promotions. This Clayton Kershaw curveball was reported by Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports. But let’s face it; there are more twists and turns in this deal than a “Mario Kart” video game.
But there is one way to get it done. Floyd and Manny have to figure it out. It’s that simple.
This month, Pacquiao said, “I know Floyd is just talking and no action.”
A couple of weeks before that, Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach told the Philippine Star, “Floyd says Pacquiao is washed up. Well, get in the ring and see! I want the biggest fight in the world.”
So does everybody else Freddie. This Cold War has to end. And I believe it will.
Read some of Alan’s other observations:
Photo / AFP
Alan Massengale is an Emmy award-winning sports caster, who has done hundreds broadcasts for boxing, his favorite sport. Follow him on Twitter @AlanMassengale1