Two years ago, Manny Pacquiao was threshing through the lower weight classes. Floyd Mayweather Jr. announced his retirement, citing a loss of interest in boxing.
Here we are, on the precipice leading into 2010, and the megafight of the last decade, Mayweather-Pacquiao, has been announced.
Manny Pacquiao, the bright star of the Philippines, now known across the world as the truest type of competitor, and the torch-bearer of the sport.
Floyd Mayweather Jr., the media-attention hungry American, came back from retirement to hammer Pacquiao rival Juan Manuel Marquez through 12 rounds. Granted, Mayweather had a size and weight advantage, but his win was nonetheless impressive.
His performance against the durable and technically gifted Mexican fighter makes Mayweather a favorite against Manny for many observers. Mayweather also sports a resume that includes an Olympic Bronze and three national Golden Glove championships. That kind of amateur experience is absolutely necessary for anybody who hopes to overcome Pacquaiou’s masterful upper-body movement, southpaw stance, and speed.
Pacquiao has some notable advantages going into the fight as well. He has remained busy, fighting six times in the last two years. Mayweather has fought twice in that time. Pacquiao trainer, Freddie Roach, must be considered an advantage for Manny. Roach’s dedication and general understanding of the sport makes them a formidable combination.
Pacquiao is running in the Philippines general election, which is on May 10. Pacquiao superstar status as a boxer has cemented him in the annals of boxing history, but whether his charisma will translate into political prestige (like a Pilipino Obama) remains to be seen. Running for any office requires a huge commitment in time and mental energy. Whether Pacquiao can run for office and run 10 miles a day leading up to the fight will remain to be seen.
Rumors of gambling problems, money owed to the IRS, and a litany of familial drama have persisted throughout Mayweather’s retirement. The monetary problems were likely settled by his purse from the last fight, but questions about his motivation remain. We all know Pacquiao wants to show the world he is the best in any weight division. He’s proven this by taking on bigger men (De La Hoya and Cotto), giving rematches after close fights, and by letting it all hang out (sometimes even his chin) in the ring. Mayweather is has been criticized for avoiding the bigger welterweights, such as Margarito and Williams.
The fight will be of a size that transcends the stature of these diminutive fighters. The outcome, whatever it is, will define both fighters’ careers. The venue chosen will be huge. The hype will permeate from the blogosphere to traditional media outlets. The fight that might just revive boxing is happening March 13, 2010.