Manny Pacquiao vs Floyd Mayweather rematch: A strong possibility without Top Rank's involvement?
Since eight division world champion Manny Pacquiao renounced his retirement from the professional ring, and decided to compete once again for the WBO Welterweight crown against incumbent titlist Jessie Vargas, controversy has hovered over his seemingly unpopular selection.
Last week, the decision to face Vargas, while seemingly avoiding an immediate clash with current Super Lightweight champion Terence Crawford, was characterized as a mere "cash grab" by HBO boxing analyst Max Kellerman.
(Image courtesy of Sky Sports)
"The fact that Manny Pacquiao chooses to fight Jessie Vargas instead of Terence Crawford, can only say one thing at this point…which is that he's only fighting for the money, while avoiding the bigger money and the more dangerous opponent," stated the always vocal HBO Sports and ESPN commentator to ESPN.
"It doesn't say good things about where he is at the moment."
Although Max's criticisms ostensibly mirror the overwhelming die-hard fan sentiment, many observers, including former Pacquiao Strength and Conditioning Coach Alex Ariza, believe Manny is merely fulfilling his contractual obligations with longtime promoter Top Rank, Inc. until his existing accord with Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum expires in 2017.
According to the controversial fitness guru, Manny's ultimate goal of facing longtime nemesis Floyd Mayweather Jr. in a rematch may come to fruition next year if he decides to sever his long, lucrative working relationship with the Las Vegas based promotional group.
"If Manny refuses to sign another extension with Bob Arum and becomes a free agent in 2017, then I think there's more than an 80% chance that another fight between Mayweather and Pacquiao comes together," Alex Ariza recently told the distinguished ESNews.
But according to the current "Money Team" employee, the aforementioned theory hinges on an active relationship between Manny Pacquiao and Bob Arum.
"If he's with Bob Arum next year, there's no fight," insists the former Manny Pacquiao team member. "I don't think TMT will ever do a fight with Bob Arum again. He's an impossible guy to work with. You talk to anybody…talk to Lou DiBella. They'll tell you that he's impossible to work with."
"He's only smart to people from other countries, who don't speak English."
But admittedly, Senator Pacquiao's relationship with the 84 year old promoter is just one issue that has to be resolved with Mayweather before any serious discussion of a rematch is entertained by the self-proclaimed "TBE," Floyd Mayweather.
Apparently Pacquiao's uncharacteristic post-fight excuses left a bad taste in the mouths of many who endorsed the most lucrative prizefight in boxing history….including Manny's opponent, Floyd Mayweather Jr.
"I think what affected most people was the fact that Manny was in on it (the post-fight excuse of a torn rotator cuff)," Alex Ariza told ESNews. "He may not have been the person who came up with the idea, but Manny went along with it."
"As bad as he beat Bradley in the first fight, but didn't get the decision, Manny was all cool about it. He was like, 'it happens…the judges went that way'. He didn't even care. But after he got beaten by Floyd, he was like, 'I thought I won'."
"Even Max Kellerman immediately after the fight felt it wasn't even close."
And despite the desire to stage another bout with Floyd Jr., Pacquiao also has to deal with the apparent lack of demand from the real bosses of boxing, the paying customers.
Is there a genuine demand to see another pairing between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr.?
As of right now, no. But when it comes to popular sentiment within the boxing community, fight fans religiously change their collective minds like most sane people change their undergarments.
Anything is possible where boxing is concerned. Much will be decided by the success or failure of "Pacquiao vs. Vargas" on TR PPV, November 5.