The longest running debate in boxing about why Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao have never met in the ring has now become as tiresome as it is futile. Many insist there is no merit or mileage left in any arguments with regards to whether it will or won’t happen or why it hasn’t happened.
Personally, I struggle to accept that the most transcending and lucrative fight in the history of the sport will not materialise. So while I understand fellow fans frustration that the issue continues to saturate all media coverage of the sport, there is a part of me that feels the need to keep the topic relevant or at least attempt to rationalise why it hasn’t happened and why it may never happen.
Personally, I feel one of the main reasons Mayweather has been so reticent to fight Manny Pacquiao is because he is a second generation fighter who is all too aware of how the brutality of boxing can leave such an indelible imprint on fighters after they retire from the sport.
Both his father and uncle Roger are constant reminders of just how brutal the sport of boxing is and how damage suffered in your career can define your life in retirement.
In short, he does not want history to repeat itself so he ends up encountering the same problems such as slurred speech that plague his father and his uncle Roger in retirement. In contrast, both his father Floyd Snr and uncle Roger’s struggle to string coherent sentences together could be attributed to their past personal battles with drugs and alcohol, but a long and tough career in the ring must also be a contributing factor.
Therefore Mayweather Jnr’s reticence to fight Manny Pacquiao is not without reason.
Mayweather has witnessed first-hand some of the distressing physical damage Manny Pacquiao has caused to men much bigger than himself, and obviously wonders about the mental toll this seemingly superficial and temporary physical damage will have later in life on some previous Pacquiao opponents.
Mayweather will be remembered in history as one of the greatest defensive craftsman of all time. Yet at his advanced age, his defensive reflexes have been slowed down ever so slightly by the hands of father time, and at this stage in his career he does not move as freely and frequently around ring as he used to. Also, in recent encounters he has shown the tendency to stand in the centre of the ring and trade punches a lot more than at any stage of his career- north of the lightweight division. His more liberal and progressive style would play into the hands of Manny Pacquiao who still has the ability to ring off 10 punch plus combinations for the duration of a 12 round fight.
If Marcos Maidana, who has a pretty crude style and punches without much coherence can land over 200 punches on Mayweather then it stands to reason that Manny Pacquiao could land with just as much regularity. The main difference being that Manny Pacquiao puts fluent and accurate combinations together, whereas Maidana swings with reckless abandon, so the probability that Pacquiao would be able to penetrate the defence of Mayweather with clean and effective blows is much higher now than it ever has been.
Stylistically speaking, this current incarnation of Floyd Mayweather would suit Manny Pacquiao more than any other previous versions of Floyd Mayweather. However, Manny Pacquiao would also sustain a lot of punishment against Mayweather due to his surgical precise counter punches which are unerringly accurate and full of spite.
It is a certainty that both men would bear the brunt of blunt force physical trauma if they were to face each other now. The inevitability of heavy, perhaps lasting, physical punishment even in victory for Mayweather is enough to turn him his attention away from a fight with Manny Pacquiao.
In facing Pacquiao, the risk far outweighs the reward for Floyd, and concerns about his long term health will always prevail.
He only has to take one look at his father, and a cursory glance at his uncle, to realise that fighting someone with the prowess of Pacquiao is a bad idea- no matter how many hundreds of millions are on the table.
The slurred speech of his father Floyd Snr and his uncle Roger may talk far more loudly than the lavish amounts of money on offer in any discussion about a potential fight with Manny Pacquiao.
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