Once upon a time in the late 60’s, there was a man named Muhammad Ali, the heavyweight champion of the world, undefeated, claimed to be the greatest heavyweight champion of all time. But he was stripped off his championship title because he refused to accept the draft to join the military due to his religious belief. His boxing license was also revoked.
At those times, a fierce fighter named Joe Frazier was cleaning up the heavyweight division and captured the heavyweight title. He was knocking out the best opponents available after the other. He too was undefeated. Joe Frazier at that time also had a legitimate claim to the heavyweight championship title. The atmosphere in the boxing world back then was charged with anticipation. Everybody wanted to see the fight between two unbeaten heavyweight champions. Everybody wants to know who’s “O” gotta go. Everybody wants to find out who is the real heavyweight champion of the world.
The problem back then was Ali didn’t have a license to fight in the USA. There have been many suggestions, including fighting outside USA like Japan or Europe, or fighting on board a flying aircraft. But everytime the promoters try to make that fight happen something comes up and prevent the fight from happening. Until on March 8, 1971 when the two heavyweight champs faced each other in the ring.
Almost 36years later, Floyd Mayweather Jr. was considered the pound for pound best boxer in the world. He has fought and defeated tough fighters, and avoided the best fighters available, protecting an undefeated record of 39-0, before his false retirement.
During Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s reign as the pound for pound champ, Manny Pacquiao was considered the number 2, spot, and the pound for pound most exciting fighter. During Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s absence, Manny Pacquiao heard the mythical title pound for pound world’s best boxer by defeating the best of the best, hall-of-famers after hall-of-famers, capturing 7 world titles in 7 different weight divisions.
After almost 2years of Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s retirement, due to financial reasons, he had to come back and chose to fight Manny Pacquiao’s toughest nemesis in the persona of Juan Manuel Marquez, at the catchweight limit of 144lbs. Marquez had to move up two weight divisions for this fight. Although Marquez was considered one of the best boxers at that time, he was the smaller, slower and older fighter in this match-up. Coming in two pounds heavier than the contracted weight limit, Floyd Mayweather Jr. came back with a masterful display of defensive skills and shutting out Marquez for the whole twelve rounds, winning an easy unanimous decision.
On the other hand, Manny Pacquiao moving to the welterweight division after winning the lineal title at Jr. Welterweight, he faced the WBO welterweight world champion in the character of Miguel Cotto. There were many questions about Manny’s ability to take a punch from a full-blown welterweight and if he can bring up his speed and power fighting the best welterweight at that time. And on November 13, 2009, Manny Pacquiao answered all those questions with a “Yes he can!” by stopping the Puerto Rican champion in an amazing display of speed, power and durability. Again, Manny Pacquiao had shocked the world!
And now, the boxing atmosphere is super-charged once again with anticipation! People are clamoring for a Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight. Everybody wants to find out, who is the king of the ring, the true pound for pound best fighter in the world. And a win would give the victor a chance to be considered one of the best boxers of all time.
1971, people were intrigued by the contrasting personalities of the two heavyweight champions. Muhammad Ali was the outspoken, braggart and showman outside the ring; While Joe Frazier was the humble, mild-mannered guy.
Fast forward to 2010, again people are amused by differing personalities; we have the trash-talking, ballroom dancing and WWE wrestling, a villainous character of Floyd Mayweather Jr. And on the other hand, is the humble, karaoke singing and the superhero persona of Manny Pacquiao.
Looking back in 1971, the contrast in fighting styles is also very interesting. Muhammad Ali was the dancer, master boxer who likes to fight from a distance which favors his taller frame. And Joe Frazier, is the one who bobs and weaves to move in closer and slug it out with his head on his opponents’ chest, which favors his much shorter frame.
Fast forward again in 2010, you got Floyd Mayweather Jr. a master defensive counter-puncher. With his shoulder roll technique, he deflects and slips through his opponent’s punches, giving him the perfect position to counter-punch. And on the other hand, you got the incarnation of the Tazmanian Devil in the ring, Manny Pacquiao, with blazing speed he keeps coming with his combinations, pulverizing his opponents to submission.
Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, in the ring, are each others’ equal. If there’s somebody who had beaten Muhammad Ali, that’s Joe Frazier. If there’s somebody who had beaten Joe Frazier, that’s Muhammad Ali. Their styles meshed perfectly, and gave us three unforgettable ring wars that shall be talked about even long after these two legends are gone. These three wars against each other are what defined them, and solidified their status as legends in boxing. They are simply made for each other. They are match made in boxing heaven.
In my mind, what we have here in Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao is something truly rare, which only comes once in a generation. I believe that if there’s somebody who can beat Floyd Mayweather Jr., that is Manny Pacquiao. On the other hand, if there’s somebody who can beat Manny Pacquiao, that is Floyd Mayweather Jr. And everybody is hoping to witness something as exciting if not more, than that of Ali vs. Frazier in a fight between Mayweather Jr. vs. Pacquiao.
This fight needs to happen!