Skip Bayless got it right, Floyd Mayweather was shamed into a fight he is deathly afraid of. In the six-year buildup fans have been feted with every imaginable excuse why Little Floyd could not and would not make the fight.
While many blame Pacquiao for sabotaging the original negotiations it is important to remind fans that the blood tests first requested by Team Mayweather were so demanded and made non-negotiable in response to their understanding that it could prove a deal breaker. At that time Manny Pacquiao himself was concerned with what he felt would be the debilitating effects of a blood draw so close to a fight. Mayweather knew this going in and played on Pac’s concerns.
As Pacman became more educated on the matter he made concessions in this regard and as future negotiations commenced the issue went away. Curiously however, or better put, conveniently, Money May then came up with a range and litany of various and sundry demands that no reasonable fighter would concede to ranging from dropping his current promoter and signing with Mayweather Promotions to dumping HBO for Showtime, et cetera, et cetera, ad-nauseum. What became clear to the objective observer was that Mayweather did not want the fight and would find any excuse not to make the fight happen.
In an unusual moment of candor Floyd Sr. and Jr. both admitted that they were afraid for little Floyd’s health and as such a fight with Pacquiao would prove too dangerous. Despite Money May’s attempts to walk this admission back the public relations damage was done. As late as this past December the self-styled best ever admitted that the term chicken might apply to his fight-seeking strategy and that he was happy being, what he referred to as, “a wealthy chicken.” According to Oscar De la Hoya, echoing Skip Bayless’ view that Mayweather felt shamed into a fight he is clearly, and as evidence suggests, deathly afraid of, he was clearly pressured into the fight.
Apparently the pressure to make this fight was so intense that Mayweather felt cornered and despite, as many boxing outlets have chronicled, his attempts to escape the fight, Floyd realized that in not making the fight his reputation would be soiled forever putting his best-ever moniker at risk. Top brass at CBS/Showtime and specifically Les Moonves were not prepared to take no for an answer and despite their recent testimony to the effect that Mayweather had been pushing for this fight from the moment he signed with Showtime it is clear, from Mayweather’s own mouth, that he was not only trying to avoid the fight but was actively sabotaging it by incessantly accusing Pacquiao of using Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) as well as demeaning Pacman’s fitness and worthiness to share the ring with him. If this represents Floyd Jr’s desire to make the fight then perhaps, CBS/Showtime brass notwithstanding, observers might want to rethink his business acumen. Behavior like that kills a fight, it does not make them.
At the end of the day, despite the chorus of would-be experts on why Mayweather is the odds-on favorite to beat Pac, the details that actually matter are being ignored or misrepresented. While it is true, as Roach has indicated, Mayweather’s skill-set presents his charge with significant challenges, the passage of time has actually been kinder to Pac than to Money May. Make no mistake, as Roach suggested to Bayless of ESPN, Pacquiao not only wants this fight more than Mayweather but he is experiencing a level and quality of motivation unprecedented even by his high standards. Pacquiao has stated that this is for him, the biggest fight of his career. Mayweather on the other hand is saying it is just another day at the gym, code for, I am still afraid but do not want others to see the fear.
What will be on full display come May 2 is Mayweather’s formidable skill-set, a bit diminished by time, being offset by a quality of will, determination and heart that will, together with Pac’s unique and world-class skill-set, overwhelm Mayweather. Those that have followed Pac’s career realize that he not only matches up unusually well with Mayweather but that his heart is like that of a lion and with regard to this particular fight nothing on heaven or earth will upend him. This will be a fight of contesting wills and, as Mayweather has clearly demonstrated, his heart is simply not in a fight he had to be shamed into taking and is deathly afraid of. Muhammad Ali said it best: “Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them-a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill, and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.” Pacquiao by will-imposed, trench-warfare induced decision.
Commentary By: Matthew R. Fellows
Photo By: Sunriserjay – License