They fought just once, and Floyd Mayweather beat Manny Pacquiao. Via wide decision. In perhaps, if not certainly, the greatest big fight let-down of all time. Five years or more, it took to make the so-called “Fight Of The Century,” and when it finally did come, so far after it should have done, it was a dud. A bore. A colossal sleep-inducer. Now, some five and-a-half years on, the respective actions of these two great have spoken volumes. Pacquiao went on to take real fights, in so doing defeating Tim Bradley, Jessie Vargas, Lucas Matthysse and, more recently, Adrien Broner and an unbeaten Keith Thurman.
Mayweather by comparison, opted to face Andre Berto (a good fighter but not one anyone was willing to bet on against Floyd), and he then boxed boxing novice Conor McGregor. Mayweather was on to something big when he realised how fans – either casuals or, far worse, hard-core variety – were willing to shell out the big bucks to see him box exhibition bouts against guys who had zero chance of beating him. And there is more of that to come. As fans have surely read by now, Mayweather will box Logan Paul in an exhibition bout/farce/affront to the sport/potential disaster in February of next year – yours to watch for a mere, well, whatever you are willing to pay is far too much. But Pac-Man, who has serious political aspirations (he may even run for president of his country in 2022), is showing us all how he is an entirely different person/fighting animal.
Pacquiao is reportedly interested in getting it on with Errol Spence, the man who just might be the finest welterweight boxer in the world today. The fact that Manny is even considering this fight – one Floyd would have no interest in taking at this stage in his own, risk-free career – speaks volumes when we analyse the mental make-up of both superstars. The difference is, Floyd knows he’s a superstar and as such is entitled to easy money grabs. Pacquiao, a genuine man of the people, knows he will get no such pass. Manny has a real desire to give the people the fights they want, the fights they deserve. It’s either that or retire from the ring in Manny’s mind.
In terms of how both greats have gone about their respective careers at veteran stage, there is no denying Pacquiao is the far more admirable figure. Whoever it is that pays good money to watch Mayweather do whatever he wants with rank novice Paul will get what they deserve. Whoever continues to support and applaud Pacquiao, as he fights Spence or some other genuine and formidable welterweight, will get what they deserve.
The debate over who is the greater fighter, Mayweather or Pacquiao, still rages. The debate over which future Hall of Famer cares more about what their fans want to see is not even a contest.
Manny wins this one with ease.