There’s always something to sell in boxing, some angle to make you pay.
The latest from Manny Pacquiao is he’s willing to do everything but pick up Floyd Mayweather Jr. and drive him to the arena to make the megafight boxing has been waiting way too long for.
Pacquiao says Mr. Money can have more money, and get top billing. He can watch him take his steroid tests, and even choose the food at the prefight press conference if he wants.
“He can even wear my trunks if it gets him in the ring with me,” Pacquiao said. “I want to fight Floyd Mayweather next.”
Unfortunately for boxing fans, Pacquiao is not fighting Mayweather next. He’s meeting Juan Manuel Marquez for the fourth time, a fight so unattractive that he needs to talk about Mayweather to get anyone to pay attention to it.
That’s not entirely Pacman’s fault. Actually, most of it is Mayweather’s fault for refusing to step up for the fight that would likely define his career.
His nonsensical rants about steroids and patriotism whenever Pacquiao’s name is brought up are just that. His strange reluctance to prove his boast that he is the best fighter in the world brings into doubt just how legitimate that boast is.
Still, he remains the biggest draw in boxing, something he proves every fight with his big pay-per-view numbers. The mere mention of his name sells tickets, though it’s anyone’s guess when he will fight again after serving more than two months in jail this summer.
It’s been nearly four years since Pacquiao gave Oscar De La Hoya such a beating that he sent him into retirement, a fight that started the buzz about a Pacquiao-Mayweather match. It seemed sure to happen, and it seemed sure to be the richest fight ever, with both boxers pocketing at least $40 million.
My guess now is Mayweather and Pacquiao will never meet in the ring, even now when Pacquiao is offering to take 45 percent of the purse to 55 percent for Mayweather. I’ve felt that way for some time, and the feeling was reinforced when Mayweather went apoplectic when I dared to ask him before his fight against Miguel Cotto in May why he wasn’t fighting Pacquiao instead.
That doesn’t mean Pacquiao can’t use his erstwhile rival to sell some tickets of his own. And that’s all he’s really doing by calling out Mayweather now when he’s got another fighter in front of him.
I’ve been ringside for all three of Pacquiao’s fights with Marquez, and they’ve all been good, close fights that could have gone either way. Their styles guarantee a competitive fight, and if you liked the first 36 rounds you’ll probably dig the credit card out to pay for another 12.
But do I want to see them fight for a fourth time on Dec. 8? Not particularly.
But that is the fight promoter Bob Arum gave us when he told Timothy Bradley he wasn’t a big enough attraction for a second fight with Pacquiao, even though he won the first in a highly controversial decision. Arum believes that Hispanic fight fans will help Pacquiao-Marquez IV do more than the 850,000 pay-per-views for Bradley in June.
There’s a sense, though, that Pacquiao is fading, even though he appeared to dominate Bradley before backing off in the final rounds of their fight. He has been fighting professionally now for 17 years, and the difficulty he had getting motivated for his last two fights is a sure sign that he’s inching closer to the end of his lucrative career.
Beating Marquez for a third time in four fights won’t prove anything other than Pacquiao can still earn a big payday. Losing to him will mean two defeats in a row for Pacman, and almost certainly scuttle any chance of a Mayweather fight.
Mayweather has been uncharacteristically quiet since his release from jail in Las Vegas, where he was serving a sentence on a domestic abuse charge. He hasn’t revealed what his plans are, though it’s clear he won’t be fighting the rest of the year.
Assuming Pacquiao beats Marquez — and that’s a big assumption — the earliest the two could meet would be in the spring, most likely the first week of May. That’s also the last legitimate date for a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight to mean anything, and if it passes, a chance to make boxing history will pass along with it.
Pacquiao’s offer to take less money does put the onus of making the fight squarely on Mayweather. He’s running out of excuses not to fight Pacquiao, and both his legacy and reputation will suffer if he doesn’t.
Any serious talk about a possible fight, though, will have to wait until Pacquiao fights Marquez.
Until then any offer Pacquiao makes is nothing more than a sales job for Dec. 8.
Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg(at)ap.org or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg
More Related Stories
- Cannes: Directing 101 with James Franco
- Welcome to the jungle: The definitive oral history of '80s metal
- Burt Bacharach opens up on daughter's suicide
- Steven Spielberg to produce "Halo" television series
- Amazon set to launch fine-art gallery
- Twitter torches Dan Brown's "Inferno"
- Brad Pitt keeps breaking his silence on how boring marriage to Jennifer Aniston was
- Lars von Trier's "Nymphomaniac" to use porn star body doubles
- New Beyoncé single leaked
- The sweet, sure to be short-lived "The Goodwin Games"
- Damon Lindelof admits barely-clothed scene in "Star Trek" was "gratuitous"
- Justin Timberlake: I'm a mediocre folk singer!
- Ray Manzarek, founding member of The Doors, dies at 74
- Beware of book blurbs
- Did a Salon excerpt ruin Penn Jillette's chance to win "Celebrity Apprentice"?
- Zach Galifianakis to take formerly homeless woman to "Hangover 3" premiere
- Seth MacFarlane will not host Oscars again
- "SNL's" uncomfortable Garner/Affleck moment
- "Celebrity Apprentice" finale ratings hit a new low
- Worst National Anthem fails
- The truth in Kanye's anti-prison rap
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11