Finally, the bout has been set. None other than the MGM Grand in Las Vegas could possibly host such a sporting extravaganza. The ink on the deal has barely dried, yet the two combatants have already climbed aboard their respective private jets in order to take part in a whirlwind-like multi city press tour.
Such appearances in different parts of the country allow multitudes of fight fans to catch a glimpse of their hero, albeit for just a moment. The chance to catch a picture or snag an autograph with a famous athlete just about assures the fan of a day to remember. That was the spring of 2007. The very idea of Sports Illustrated even fathoming the idea of tossing the most minuscule vittle in the direction of the Sweet Science was beyond our own level of cognition.
Alas, they placed the mission to save the sport in the hands of Oscar de la Hoya and one Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
Although each fighter was paid beyond handsomely for their efforts, the financial smash success it came to be could not begin to compensate the paying customer for the back-of-the-throat detestation the final result so graciously left.
Head for the Temple of Artemis, for if that was the fight to save boxing, then may she save us from the one which is meant to kill it. Imagine the thought of the greatest sport on earth managing to mangle itself from within and make so many longtime fans believe there can only be one fight to put the wrong glove back on the right fist.
On the other side of the coin are those who understand that the fighters themselves will feel much worse than them should Manny Pacquiao and Floyd never face one another. The past few years worth of gravitation towards the blame game has veritably started to shift towards indifference. In the meantime, perhaps we should just allow the masses of fans and boxing pundits to dissect and mince about the shortcomings, hits and misses of each combatant.
We will undoubtedly see more and more of the nuances in and around the record of Floyd. He chose to fight Juan Manuel Marquez at a catchweight, yet he didn't come close to making the clause a valid one. This is the same Marquez that has given Manny Pacquiao pugilistic root canals in their three respective fights since 2004. Floyd fought the same Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto whom Pacquiao essentially destroyed.
Where does this leave the argument as a whole?
Floyd didn't fight the best in his division when potential opponents were in their respective primes and Manny fought them when they were ancient and decrepit heaps of tin scrap. Not entirely accurate. Whether or not one chooses to side with the astounded and flabbergasted oceans of people that for all intensive purposes know that Pacquiao was hustled for his title last June by Timothy Bradley (or by the judges, to be sure), the one certainty is that a rematch would make less sense than taking McDonalds to court over spilled coffee.
There is of course a strong possibility that Miguel Cotto could give Pacquiao a stronger challenge should they face off once more. The dreaded catchweight is once again mentioned when defenders of the Puerto Rican legend claim Cotto was drained to make 145 pounds.
Is he truly more comfortable in the 150 pound range? Never mind the fact that he had fought at as a welterweight for quite some time leading up to their November 2009 showdown. All things cautiously or with some forethought considered should lead many of us to one conclusion.
The stage should (at least for now) be set for a fourth meeting with Juan Manuel Marquez. "Dinamita" has Pacquiao's number for sure. He probably has his e-mail passwords and IP address as well. That is just how close their rivalry has been and will continue as such until one has decidedly and beyond any doubt shut the case for good.
Pictured: Marquez vs Pacquiao I in 2004 was an entertaining fight that ended in controversy... Much like the sequel and its sequel.
If a fight in Las Vegas on November 10 just has to take place, let it be Marquez/Pacquiao IV. Give them as many sequels as Star Trek if necessary.
The humdrum has surpassed the level of just being a broken record. And what of Floyd? The most conniving thing that he and his new promotional posse could do is stage a fight on the same evening and in the same city. Could that happen? Why not? Why would we try to think otherwise? It seems to be the trend these days.