Emmanuel “Manny” Dapidran Pacquiao has racked up more than enough accolades in his boxing career to call it a quits. He is the first eight-division world champion and holds ten world titles. He is also the only boxer to have won the lineal championship in four different weight classes. However, some might question his legacy if the long-anticipated showdown between he and Floyd Mayweather Jr. never happens.
Pacquiao, 34, is widely considered the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world by many; however, he and Mayweather are jointly considered the number two boxers in the world, with no boxer holding the top spot. There has been speculation for years that a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight would end years of debate on which boxer is the uncontested best, but to date the two have never stepped into the ring with each other.
It’s not looking hopeful that this matchup will happen anytime soon, and some believe it may never happen. Pacquiao is coming off two straight losses — one by knockout to Juan Manuel Márquez in December, a 39-year-old boxer from Mexico whom Pacquiao had already defeated three times in his career. And recently there have been questions surrounding Pacquiao’s health. A Filipino doctor claimed that Pacquiao was showing early signs of Parkinson’s disease, but Pacquiao refuted the claim. Pacquiao is also heavily involved in politics in the Philippines, becoming a congressman in 2010 — another activity that draw off energy and attention from his fighting career.
Another factor: the 35-year-old Mayweather’s record — 43-0 — and his style of fight look like an unfair match for Pacquiao at this stage in the Filipino’s career. Pacquiao has won 54 bouts, but has lost five and drawn on two others; he is best known for his agility, an attribute that has faded in recent fights. Mayweather is known as a defensive specialist — and his defense looks to be getting stronger as the veteran gets older and wiser. These changes in the two boxers seem to favor Mayweather. Pacquiao’s lost his speed and fiery grace; Mayweather is still able to defend and outlast his opponents stamina-wise, and he uses craft and patience to win.
Perverse as it may sound, all this suggests that the two most elite boxers of the past decade never end up fighting each other to decide who really is the best. Which would be unfortunate for boxing fans all around the world that were hoping to witness the next Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier III or even a rival similar to the 90’s showdowns between Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield.