If no fight, it’s a given Floyd “Money” Mayweather, Jr. loses more money than Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao. Money took care of that little item by getting Manny to agree to take less. There’s no denying both fighters are great, and it’s a surety both are going to be in the Boxing Hall(s) of Fame. If no fight, though, fans and the media suffer too, because they are left with the unresolved question “Who would have won?”
That question will become like a canker, a blight on boxing. Eventually, though, it will dissipate and make ardent fans in each camp apathetic. The open ended debate will surface less and less, and become something like the occasional….Would Gene Tunney have beaten Jack Dempsey without benefit of the “Long Count”? Or, Did Jack Johnson take a dive in his loss to Jess Willard?” How about the question that surfaced about a splash many heard in Lewiston, Maine when Liston hit the canvas after being hit by Ali’s phantom punch? Those front page news events sooner or later fade away. More to the point…..Who would have won if Jake “Raging Bull” LaMotta and Rocky Graziano fought? Or, back to….. Would Dempsey have beaten Harry Wills? In the present day….How about Joe Calzaghe vs. Andre S.O.G. Ward?
Every fan has heard questions like that and ones involving……Old time fighters versus the current greats? However the frequency of those surfacing is less and less. Right now there’s genuine concern in the boxing world about these two fighters missing a chance at making history. The money, prestige, and the kudos the sport of boxing would enjoy if the fight ever happens. Promoters and media can hardly contain their hunger. They dribble, spit and slobber over just the thought of it!
However, that emotional fascination with who will win, over time, will turn to apathy. Right now there’s enough curiosity for each side to make a case about which one suffers most if there’s no fight. The best way of looking at it is to point out specific behaviors and ask….. Who tries hardest to sell himself to the public? Why? Usually, when someone tries too hard to impress, you question their motives. Ali used to act that way by continually saying, “I’m the greatest!”. He defended his braggadocio by explaining, It ain’t bragging if you can back it up”. He did it by fighting all challengers.
On the other hand, Pacman isn’t boastful or arrogant, but he is willing to fight anyone, including Money. He’s quiet about it. He’s tried to make the fight happen. He’s made numerous concessions. However, Money’s reluctance remains intact, causing many fans to wonder whether his refusal to fight will continue, no matter what. The question then is not “Who would win?”, but “Who will suffer most?” Manny wants the fight, but it seems evident he is also okay if it never happens. Deep down, he is satisfied he did everything in his power to make it happen. He correctly feels his legacy is securely in place.
What Mayweather risks doing by his refusal to make the fight, is to make a likable victim out of Manny. Money wants fans, and the sporting world in general, to think he is “The Best Ever”. But, what does someone who claims to be the best do? It’s simple. The best refuses to be bested. How can a fighter claim to be the best unless he has fought the best? Money claims he has done that, but his words have a hollow ring to them as long as he refuses to make the fight with Manny. People have a hunger for the bout, and in the long run they will blame Money for it not happening.
Does that bother Money? It would appear not, at least not on the surface. He continues to operate under the belief that those who matter already think he’s the best ever. However, he keeps trying to convince fans he is the best ever. Why? Manny doesn’t try to talk himself up. Fans look at him as being a nice, humble guy, who down plays his greatness. They see someone who is comfortable with the legacy he will leave.
Right now, Money thinks he’s in the catbird’s seat. But, how will he feel when retired if he is no longer able to demonstrate his marvelous skills? Simply mouthing his accomplishments won’t hold the same weight. Certain to happen, time will move on. Fans of the future will look beyond mere records. They did it concerning the “Long Count” and Tunney’s two wins over Dempsey. Fans discarded the importance of the Fighting Marine’s wins. Instead, they let it be known the Manassa Mauler was better fighter.
Consequently, even if Money stays undefeated, it’s a good bet his accomplishments will come with an asterisk. There will be that nagging question about “Who would have won?” People will realize the ability to answer that question rested in Money’s hands, and he didn’t make it happen. There will come a time when Money won’t be around to tell his side. His urge to show who’s boss will cause him to miss the bus. It will be too late to catch that epoch-making opportunity. The saga of his life will be missing a vital piece. In the final analysis, that sad fact will be a big part of what and how fans will remember Floyd Mayweather, Jr.