After Manny Pacquiao’s stirring triumph against erstwhile World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight champion Jessie Vargas last November 5th, the ring future of the “Fighting Senator from Saranggani Province” is now up for speculation.
Since Juan Manuel Marquez decked the People’s Champion in December of 2012, it was only a select few within the Pacman’s circle who knew who he’d be going up against next.
Comeback fights against Brandon Rios and Chris Algieri blended with more highly touted opponents in Timothy Bradley and undefeated Floyd Mayweather, Jr. comprised Pacquiao’s list of foes and while his recent win over Vargas was impressive, the only loss he had in this string over the past four years still brings intrigue to the boxing aficionado worldwide.
Mayweather–49-0 (26)–has chosen to hang up his gloves after his victory last September over Andre Berto to retain the three belts he owns (WBA Super, WBC and The Ring welterweight titles), however, after the WBO stripped him of the WBO crown he won from Pacquiao on technical grounds, the 39-year-old “Pretty Boy” has hinted on several occasions that he may be open to “unretiring” for the third time in his storied career.
“Did I text (ESPN’s) Stephen A. Smith (who did commentary for the Pacquiao-Vargas tiff) and say I will fight him again? Yeah, but I change my mind. At this particular time, no, because he’s a sore loser and he’s a coward,” Mayweather was once quoted saying about a possible rematch with Pacquiao.
Initially, Mayweather said that he wouldn’t agree to a rematch with Pacquiao.
But since the pay-per-view ratings from their megafight hit the US$400,000,000 mark, Mayweather went into fickle mode.
Since that time, Mayweather has been reportedly gone back to sparring “for exercise”, initiated rumors about a possible crossover match against the UFC’s Connor McGregor and his camp “The Money Team (TMT)” has been allegedly trying to file trademarks on “TBE50″ and “TMT50″ which fueled insinuations that Mayweather may be intent on chasing his 50th victory.
Then came the surprise appearance at Pacquiao-Vargas with his daughter in tow. Mayweather hardly ever watches fight cards that don’t feature his own fighters, yet there he was ringside giving Pacquiao a thumbs up for an impressive win. Should we read anything into that? Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum recently said he is 75% sure that PacMay 2 will happen.
News coming from Pacquiao camp insiders suggest that Mayweather will take on a comeback opponent (similar to what Pacquiao did against Vargas) then–after picking up the sure win–will call out Pacquiao for a rematch which should be slated for the fourth quarter of 2017.
Pacquiao has done his part by winning over Vargas, now it’s supposed to be Mayweather’s turn.
The question now is: will a Pacquiao-Mayweather II spectacle still be palatable to fight fans? Will it be about two near boxing geriatrics trying to pump up pay-per-view sales by going through another media circus like what began in 2009 with the whole drug testing brouhaha? Should both fighters just forever hold their piece?
At the end of the day, it will probably boil down to money.
When their first fight was being planned, a lot of snags came about the pay-per-view shares and revenue concerns. It is, after all, professional boxing and money is always at the forefront of the discussions–especially when two iconic names are pitted against each other.
TMT and Top Rank Boxing (TRB) must be able to work hand in hand to make this the biggest fight in history. Their marketing teams should get busy as early as Mayweather’s alleged “comeback” fight and this time Pacquiao should be at ringside with his daughter Princess and give the same story Mayweather gave when he and his child took in the Vargas fight. That alone will already be an obvious (and inexpensive) marketing method that will indicate that all this speculation may be true.
We all know that Pacquiao will not back down from a challenge from the man who has hurled pointless and inexplicable insults his way–even during the years leading up to the fight.
Mayweather may opt not to take on the tune-up fight and proceed straight to the Pacquiao rematch to make the “TMT50″ thingy even more sweet. He views Pacquiao as an opponent that “didn’t hurt” him, so he may already be viewing the close to his legacy as a sure victory over another bonafide Hall-of-Famer.
That, of course, remains to be seen.
Pacquiao technically doesn’t need to prove anything anymore.
He’s already one of the greatest prize-fighters of all-time and the only pugilist in history to win titles in eight different weight divisions. He’s not in need of money and has already been installed as a senator–one of his long time ambitions. He can walk away right now and no one will castigate or deride him for doing so.
However–deep down inside–he may want to shut Mayweather up. He may still have primal emotions of revenge and that could lead to his making this happen.
Fight fans will be the biggest beneficiary (or benefactor) of this rematch, albeit between two boxers in the twilight of their run.
Does Pacquiao have the arsenal to finally deal Mayweather his first loss? Will Mayweather show the world that Pacquiao is a “sore loser” and “a coward”? Will pay-per-view revenues hit the one billion mark?
Let’s see what happens next.