Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr.: The Greatest Fight That May Never Be

Geoffrey Nixon@Instagram: G_Nix24Contributor IIIJune 12, 2011

LAS VEGAS - SEPTEMBER 16:  Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. stretches during the final news conference for his bout against Juan Manuel Marquez at the MGM Grand Hotel/Casino September 16, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The two will fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on September 19 in Las Vegas.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Rocky Marciano vs. Sonny Liston. Joe Frazier vs. Ken Norton. George Foreman vs. Larry Holmes.

These are just a few of the highly anticipated dream match-ups of their time that boxing fans have been deprived of.

If the Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao fight-terms discrepancies don't soon find common ground, then at best we might have a fight reminiscent of the Marvin Hagler vs. Sugar Ray Leonard stature. The fight was supposed to take place in '82, but instead did not take place until '87—five years removed from Leonard's prime.

The last thing boxing fans want is two fighters out of their prime mixing it up merely for the money and irrelevant bragging rights.

As the days, weeks, and months go, so does the quality of the bout. Neither fighter is getting any younger and both fighters maintain a brutal fighting schedule.

Pacquiao's next scheduled fight is against current WBA/WBO light-heavyweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez, while Mayweather Jr. will meet with reigning WBC welterweight title holder Victor Ortiz.

Both Marquez and Ortiz are excellent fighters, viewed as top-notch competition in the world of boxing. But because of whom their next opponents are, neither fighter or fight seems as relevant as it should.

So what's keeping this fight from taking place?

Well, depends on who you ask.

The Mayweather camp claims the ball is in Pacquiao's court, and the Pacquiao camp claims the opposite.

Mayweather wants Pacquiao to undergo random Olympic-style drug testing leading up to 14 days prior to the fight and another right after the fight. The two sides are 10 days apart as Pacquiao agreed to the Olympic-style blood drug testing, but no later than 24 days before the fight. (He also agreed to a test following the fight.)

This raised questions.

If Pacquiao has nothing to hide, then why not go forward with blood testing two weeks before the fight?

Pacquiao stated plainly that this would put him at a disadvantage because he is already the smaller fighter, and getting his blood drawn would take about three days to fully recover from, time lost that you can't afford against a guy like Mayweather.

Things became even more fishy when Teddy Atlas, boxing analyst for ESPN, reported that allegedly a couple of emails were sent from Pacquiao's camp to Mayweather's, asking what the penalty would be if Pacquiao were to test positive. Another allegedly questioned whether, if Pacquiao did test positive, it could remain a secret for the sake of boxing.

This was also reported by Tim Smith, a columnist of The Daily News

These alleged emails were quickly dismissed by Pacquiao and his corner. Freddy Roach, Pacquiao's trainer, stated that these false accusations were absurd. According to Roach, he has a hard enough time trying to get Manny to take his proteins and vitamin shakes.

On the other hand, why hasn't Mayweather agreed to any of the offers posed by the Pacquiao side?

"Pretty Boy" Floyd has reportedly turned down offers of $50 and $65 million. Rumor has it that if both Mayweather and Pacquiao win their fights later this year, there will be an $80-million offer on the table to make this fight happen.

Bob Arum, Manny Pacquiao's promoter and CEO of Top Rank Promotions, claims Mayweather is simply too afraid to fight "Pacman."

“So what does that tell you? It tells you he doesn’t want to fight Manny Pacquiao. And he’s smart not to fight Manny Pacquiao, because the truth be told, everybody who knows boxing knows that Manny Pacquiao would clean his clock,” Arum has said.

So which is it? Is Mayweather scared to fight Pacquiao or is he just too smart?

If you ask me, I'd say it's some of both.

Manny Pacquiao, at 53-3-2, is today's undisputed No. 1 pound-for-pound boxer. He has been nothing short of great in his recent performances, picking apart his opponents with his aggressive boxing style. Mayweather has yet to fight someone with Manny's skill and overwhelming combination of speed and power.

Mayweather has a perfect record of 41-0. Why would he risk his legacy? If he loses the fight to Pacquiao, all his wins would be "forgotten." He would simply be known as a "paper-champ." His titles and achievements would disperse with the ring of the final bell.

Mayweather received his nickname "Pretty Boy" due to the minor boxing scars on his face, which stems from his superior defensive boxing style. Not only does he expertly bob and weave in the ring, but this also translates into everyday situations—most notably when being asked Pacquiao-related questions during interviews.

He is quick to point out his unblemished boxing record and remind people how many times Pacquiao has lost. Both fighters have, for the most part, fought the same exact competition. In some Pacquiao looked better, and in others it was Mayweather.

One of Mayweather's biggest criticisms of Pacquiao's boxing record, prior to the Shane Mosley fight, was that in 56 fights not one of his opponents was an African-American (Joshua Clottey was from Ghana). 

And sure, he did finally fight and handily defeat Mosley. But this was an aged Shane Mosley removed from his prime, who, after the Pacquiao fight, has won only two out of his last six fights?

So will this mega-fight ever happen? I hate to say it, but at this point it is not very likely.

Both fighters have way too much to lose.

Let's be honest, these two not having fought yet has nothing to do with money because there is plenty of it. And the whole drug-test issue is not as relevant as each fighter is making it out to be.

Both issues are ones that not only Mayweather, but also Pacquiao, is hiding behind. I don't ever say this, but I sure hope that I am wrong. Hopefully their pride sets in and takes control, enabling them to set all differences aside so they can lace 'em up and settle it once and for all.

Rocky Marciano vs. Sonny Liston. Joe Frazier vs. Ken Norton. George Foreman vs. Larry Holmes.

Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Some of the greatest potential match-ups in boxing history that never were.