It’s not as solid as I’d want it to be to throw a great big happy party with delicious cookies and confetti, but news of a Floyd Mayweather, Jr. return to fight Manny Pacquiao is now coming from a couple different places, and that’s mighty encouraging.
Mayweather’s hometown Grand Rapids (Mich.) Press quotes numerous Mayweather family members, both directly and indirectly, saying that Floyd Jr. wants to fight Pacquiao and wants his estranged father in his corner for the bout. “My niece said my son told her he wanted to fight Pacquiao next, and that he wants me to train him for the fight,” said Mayweather, Sr., who recently said his son would have no problem with beating Pacquiao.
A paper in the Philippines — not that they are always the most accurate — also quotes Pacquiao as saying he has heard from the Mayweather team. “They sent a message to us that if I beat [Oscar] De La Hoya, he will come out of retirement to face me,” Pacquiao said. And of course, that condition has been met in spades.
More than ever, I hope this isn’t some b.s. “get everyone talking about me” stunt from Mayweather. There’s no fight I’d rather see than Mayweather-Pacquiao, the two top fighters of the decade and the most recent and incumbent #1 pound-for-pound fighters in the sport. They’d have to work out the right weight; Mayweather would probably want it at 147 pounds, while Freddie Roach, Manny’s trainer, has said it would have to be at 140 or a catchweight between 140 and 147. I would hope this wouldn’t get in the way of the fight happening, and that people wouldn’t get too greedy about demanding absurd dollar figures.
It’s not like there aren’t other good options for the Pacman if it doesn’t happen. A Ricky Hatton fight, presuming Mayweather Sr. would be in his corner as he was for Hatton’s last fight, would be great even if I’d heavily favor Pacquiao. That’s the one Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum has said is up next. The idea of a Shane Mosley fight has been tossed around, and that’s not bad, either. Then there’s Zorro. Or Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton. Or Wladimir Klitschko. But not Antonio Margarito. (From Maxboxing.com: “Roach was asked if his charge would face another Mexican, Antonio Margarito. ‘We’re brave,’ he would say. ‘But we’re not that brave.’ So I chimed in and asked, ‘What about Wladimir Klitschko then?’ ‘I’d let him face Klitschko before I would Margarito,’ replied Roach, with a chuckle.” See? What’s wrong with just admitting it if you don’t want to fight someone? I have no problem with this, and far prefer it to some dumb trash-talking/posturing followed by insincere negotiations just to make a boxer look tough when he really doesn’t want any.)
Alas, none of this may happen until May or June. And as I’ve said before, Pacquiao needs to strike while the iron is hot. If he wants to be a breakthrough star in America, waiting until June to fight again isn’t the way to go, because most people here didn’t ever hear his name until this weekend, and even if they can pronounce it now, they won’t remember how to by next summer.