Boxing

If Floyd Mayweather Junior Comes Back For Pacquiao, Will "Money" Box A Tune-Up Or Will He Go Straight For "Pac-Man?"

Floyd Mayweather Jr.by James Slater -As early as the Monday after the Pacquiao-De La Hoya fight, the rumours were going around that unbeaten Floyd Mayweather Junior was looking to return to the ring for the first time since December 8th, 2007, to face Pacquiao. These rumours became more believable when Floyd Mayweather Senior spoke about his son's plans to come back and put the man who now holds boxing's pound-for-pound title in his place.

It seems there is a very good chance of the fight happening, as long as money issues and an agreeable weight at which to stage the fight can be dealt with satisfactorily on both sides. The question is, will the 39-0(25) boxing master come right out of retirement and go immediately into a fight with "Pac-Man," or will he feel the need to box a tune-up first? And if so, who would Mayweather choose to face so as to shed any ring-rust he may have picked up?
Of course, there have been great, straight-back-in-at-the-deep-end, comebacks before. One need only look at what the legendary Sugar Ray Leonard did back in April of 1987. After having been idle for thirty-five months, Leonard, without a warm-up, went right at the fearsome Marvellous Marvin Hagler - beating him in an upset over 12 rounds. Would the self proclaimed greatest fighter in history, in the man formerly known as "Pretty Boy" have the enormous self confidence to do what Sugar Ray did?

Then again, would Mayweather coming back and beating Pacquaio be considered a huge upset? Sure, if Floyd were to come right back and box Manny's ears off en-route to a comprehensive points win (the most logical scenario when predicting a Mayweather win, surely) he will have added enormously to his legacy - but would he perhaps even be expected to win in the minds of many anyway? In short, does Mayweather NEED a tune-up? Some great fighters simply have the ability to return from long periods of idleness and not let the inactivity affect their performance in the ring. Ironically, seeing as how it failed to work this time, Oscar De La Hoya had proven in the past that he was one such fighter.

By the time Mayweather and Pacquiao get around to facing one another, it will likely be next May or June at the earliest. By then "Money" will have been absent from the ring for seventeen or eighteen months. This will have been the longest inactive spell of his professional life, and no-one knows how it will effect him when he laces the gloves up again. It's a fairly long time, to be sure. And let's not forget, Floyd will turn 32 in February of 2009. On second thought, maybe he DOES need a tune-up before getting it on with someone as fast, as explosive, as tough and as determined as the 29-year-old southpaw from the Philippines.

Manny's stance, by the way, brings up another question entirely. Mayweather Junior has done well enough against the southpaws he has faced, beating guys like DeMarcus Corley, Sharmba Mitchell and Zab Judah in his time. However, Floyd has not met a lefty since the fight with Judah in 2006, and to be fair both Zab and Corley gave him pretty tough fights. Would Pacquiao, with his hard-to-pin-down style, give Mayweather serious problems?

The fight should happen, it needs to happen, and this writer is pretty confident it will happen. But a clash with Manny Pacquiao just might wind up being the toughest test of Floyd Mayweather's career. "Money" had better make damn sure he's ready for the Filipino dynamo when he gets between the ropes with him!

Article posted on 10.12.2008



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