Manny Pacquiao fights Brandon Rios during their WBO International title fight at the Venetian hotel in Macau. Photo by Tyrone Siu, Reuters
MANILA, Philippines – Filipino boxing superstar Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao showed flashes of his old dominant self in his unanimous decision victory against Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios on Sunday, but that does not mean that a mega-fight against unbeaten American Floyd Mayweather Jr. is once again possible.
Even with Pacquiao’s impressive victory against Rios in Macau, Boxing pundits said it is impossible for a fight against Mayweather to happen considering the bad blood on both sides.
“Let’s get this out of the way right now: A Floyd Mayweather fight isn’t happening,” Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix wrote after the fight.
“Money and politics scuttled any chance of that fight long ago. Moreover, making that fight right now, after years of frustrating excuses from both sides, would be insulting,” he added.
A Pacquiao-Mayweather showdown was thought to be the richest fight in boxing, but it never happened as the two camps could not agree on several issues, including the revenue split.
The bout’s luster faded in the past two years when Pacquiao suffered consecutive losses, although Sunday’s victory seemed to revive hopes for the fight.
“Anybody who will fight with me, I will fight. I’m willing to fight Floyd, but it’s up to him,” Pacquiao himself said at the post-fight press conference.
But Mannix noted that a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight will “do nothing to settle the dispute of who is the best fighter in this generation.”
“Pacquiao has clearly lost a step, clearly isn’t the same fighter who emerged as the best in the world from 2008 to 2010,” he said.
Another boxing pundit, Bryan Campbell of ESPN.com, agreed with Mannix, writing: “There’s no question Pacquiao’s comeback victory likely reopens the conversation regarding the outcry for him to finally face Floyd Mayweather. Unfortunately, we aren’t any closer politically than we were during the original period the fight should have been made.”
Both pundits agreed that Pacquiao will be better served seeking rematches against Juan Manuel Marquez and Timothy Bradley Jr.
“Pacquiao still finds himself in good position to land marketable rematches with both Bradley and Marquez in 2014,” wrote Campbell.
“Marquez has not committed to continuing his career following a loss to Bradley, but another career-high payday against Pacquiao would be a nice carrot to lure him back to the ring,” wrote Mannix.
Top Rank boss Bob Arum tentatively set Pacquiao’s ring return for April 12, 2014, but no opponent has been announced.