Should Floyd Jr. Jump the Queue on Pacquiao Sweepstakes?

(This piece appeared in 8CountNews on December 17, 2008)

by Mark Lorenzana

Oscar De La Hoya had barely managed to lick his wounds and bruises from the thrashing he received from Manny Pacquiao when Floyd Mayweather Jr. had begun making noises regarding a comeback.

If the reports are true, then Mayweather Jr. would be lacing up his gloves again after announcing his second retirement last year. The encore retirement (certainly uncalled for, since avid and hardcore boxing fans enjoy Floyd’s virtuoso performances every time he practices the Sweet Science) came at the heels of an impressive stoppage victory over Ricky Hatton.

In this day and age, it’s no longer an exaggeration to say that immediately after Pacquiao TKO’d De La Hoya, Money Mayweather saw dollar signs dancing in front of him. Mayweather Jr. had a grand time dancing with the stars, but he would probably have a grander time dancing with Pacquiao, the new Pay-Per-View king.

Apart from Mayweather Jr., a lot of fans and boxing pundits alike are salivating at the prospect of the current pound-for-pound champion going up against the former p4p king. And on paper, it truly is a match-up worth looking forward to: Pacman’s speed, agility, and relentless pressure against the Pretty Boy’s defense, ring smarts, and superb boxing ability. Add to that master tactician Freddie Roach’s recent hint that Mayweather Jr. is a boxer who doesn’t like pressure fighters, and you have an instant recipe for a great fight.

Of course, not everyone is ecstatic about all this premature hoopla. Especially Ricky Hatton.

The Hitman, fresh from a smashing TKO victory over Paulie Malignaggi last month, told the UK Sun that he wants to fight Pacquiao next: “I’ve put the hard work in and would like to get the chance to take on Manny,”

Hatton also expressed his displeasure regarding a possible fight between Pacquiao and Mayweather Jr.

“I’m not surprised Floyd is considering a return — but I’d be disappointed if he got in ahead of me,” Hatton said.

For one, Hatton worked his ass off training for the Malignaggi fight, and he delivered. Surely he has a point being disappointed should Mayweather Jr. jump ahead of him in the queue?

In Floyd’s case, he walked away from the game for a second time, enjoyed his money and retirement, and now he wants to come back to fight and get an immediate shot at Pacquiao?

Going back to Roach’s claim that Floyd doesn’t exactly enjoy dancing with pressure fighters, he might have struck gold there. Roach named Jose Luis Castillo as one of the pressure fighters that gave Mayweather Jr. fits. But Roach could have gone further and mentioned one Antonio Margarito. Apart from Pacquiao, the Tijuana Tornado is one of the toughest pressure fighters this game has ever seen.

Margarito COULD HAVE given Mayweather Jr. a run for his money, if only they met each other in the ring.

But wait, didn’t Margarito call out Mayweather Jr. several times in the past when the Pretty Boy was still fighting?

So why didn’t tough guy Floyd accept Margarito’s challenge? Why did he retire instead?

Is Floyd Mayweather Jr. afraid of Antonio Margarito? Is he ducking him? Yes or no?

Only Mayweather Jr. can answer all these questions.

Nobody is questioning Floyd’s skills. His ring generalship, speed, and evasive techniques will be more than enough to make a competitive fight against Margarito. A fight against Margarito would definitely be a winnable one. But what is speaking loudly here, and is perhaps the biggest thing that is keeping the fight from happening is Floyd’s own assumed name, Money.

Simply put, why not fight Margarito first for the glory and Pacquiao next for the money?

Oscar De La Hoya made the mistake of choosing the supposedly “easier” fight with Pacquiao because he knew the match-up would be a bigger draw. Again, it seems Mayweather Jr. is looking at a fight with Pacquiao instead of a Margarito fight because he figures that this would be the biggest paycheck available with minimum effort.

Maybe he should watch a rerun of the Pacquiao – De La Hoya fight and re-evaluate the meaning of “minimum effort”?

In the meantime, to be fair to all concerned – especially to Ricky Hatton – maybe it is better and wiser for Mayweather Jr. to wait in line along with the growing number of fighters who are scrambling to win the Pacquiao sweepstakes and get a crack at the Filipino firebrand.

After all, Manny Pacquiao the current pound-for-pound champion has earned the right to choose whoever he wants to fight next.

Irrespective of glory, money, or both.

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