It’s the same pattern we’ve seen in recent years: Once Manny Pacquiao has a fight, Bob Arum drums up the Mayweather mega fight. Once the fight is over, the rumors start to fizzle out once again.
Is Plan B the Plan A?
According to reports, Top Rank big boss Bob Arum is already formulating a Plan B for his most prized ward should they fail to negotiate with Pound for Pound King Floyd Mayweather Jr. That Plan B supposedly involves undefeated WBA junior welterweight champion Jessie Vargas, who was impressive in a convincing 12 round unanimous decision win over Antonio DeMarco in the Pacquiao-Algieri undercard last November 23 in Macau, China.
Arum told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that Vargas has become a “fan-friendly fighter” whom he would like to include in a short list to fight Pacquiao. At the same time, Arum insisted that he is “focused” on trying to get the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight done. Or is he really?
King of Catchweights
When Manny Pacquaio fought Chris Algieri, they fought at a catch weight of 144 pounds. Algieri claimed that he tried to peg the fight at the full 147 pound welterweight limit, but the Pacquiao camp insisted on a catch weight. Here’s the reason, as Pacquiao told RingTV.com:
“The reason we are fighting this fight at 144 pounds is because I wanted to see how I performed at a lower weight. If I do well, I could easily fight at 140 for my next fight. 140 is the weight I walk around at when I’m not training for a fight. So that is no issue, and even 135 would be easy for me to make.”
Pacquiao has talked about moving down to 140 as early as two years ago, after suffering back to back losses. His last three fights have been against natural light welterweights: Bam Bam Rios, Timothy Bradely (yes, he was a 140 pound champion) and then Chris Algieri. Pacman weighed 145 pounds during the Rios and Bradley bouts while tipped the scales at 143.8 pounds for the Algieri contest. If you take a closer look at his fights since 2013, Pacquiao doesn’t look like a fighter who’s building up a Mayweather bout.
Weight a Minute
The last time Floyd Mayweather Jr. fought a title bout at light welterweight was in 2005 when he retired the legendary Arturo Gatti. In September of last year, Mayweather fought Canelo Alvarez at a catch weight of 152 pounds for the WBC light middleweight title. So if Arum is indeed serious about making the Mayweather bout, it would be at a weight of at least 147 pounds because that’s the least weight Floyd can and will make.
Pacquiao has only fought twice at the full weight of 147 pounds and those were the first fight with Bradley and the fourth fight against Juan Manuel Marquez. Coincidentally (or not?), Manny Pacquiao lost both bouts. Pacquiao’s great triumphs over Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito were fought at catch weights and not on even terms.
One thing is clear here. Pacquiao has virtually fought the welterweight division at catch weights because he is not a natural 147 pound boxer. Pacquiao started his career at 106 pounds and was a destroyer at the lower divisions. But as he climbed the weights, he has lost his vaunted knockout power against bigger foes. That’s the reason why he hasn’t knocked out anybody since 2009. And that’s also the same reason why he’s hell bent on moving back to 140 pounds.
What’s the Catch?
There are new reports of a Dubai group who’s willing to shell out $200M to stage the mega fight in the Middle East. As usual, the talks about holding it at Cowboys Stadium and even Wembley Arena have also resurfaced. But as the days are passing, so are those rumors. Mayweather has two fights left in his Showtime contract and while he seems to be running out of legitimate foes, it looks like he wants to hold on to his undefeated record. On the other hand, Pacquiao sounds serious about his desire to fight Mayweather but his actions and that of his camp are contradictory to his words. If the Pacquiao camp was already eyeing a bout with Money Mayweather, why did Roach blurt out Danny Garcia’s name immediately after defeating Agieri?
Mayweather will most probably go down as the greatest unbeaten champion of All-time and Manny Pacquiao as the only Eight-division world champion in boxing history. Both men’s place in the history books are secure and their legacies already set. They don’t need to fight each other and nor do they need to feed the public false hope. The boxing public has made them earn more than enough (and much more than we’ll do in our lifetime) that they ought to give all of us the respect and sincerity that we truly deserve from them-Bob Arum most especially.