XN Sports Boxing Roundtable: Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao

Floyd Mayweather
Floyd Mayweather
Mark J Rebilas USA TODAY Sports

Floyd Mayweather is clearly on his way to the Boxing Hall of Fame, probably as one of the best fighters ever. But the unanswered questions about his future and his legacy keep piling up, and it is clear that we may not get a proper answer for some of those questions within the foreseeable future. In this week’s XN Boxing Roundtable, our resident boxing writer Diego Morilla spars with fellow columnist Allen Levin on all things Money. Check it out.

1. What happens to the career legacies of Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather if this superfight never goes down?

Diego Morilla: Both Floyd and Manny have built Hall of Fame careers in their own right. They have consistently fought the best out there (especially Manny) and have looked great in the process (especially Floyd). Their individual legacies should not be affected by their failure to successfully navigate the rivalry between their promoters, their managers’ (and their own) outrageous financial demands, and all the other obstacles that have kept them from facing each other for the largest collection of marbles ever assembled in the history of pugilism.

But something has to be said about boxing (as a sport, as a business model, as a competitive activity) in regards to its inability to produce the one fight everyone expects to see. If the two best fighters of their era cannot be enticed, forced, or otherwise made to fight each other even though the money is there and the fans demand it, then something will need to change if boxing wants to survive as a sport.

Allen Levin: If Mayweather doesn’t lose any of the three remaining fights that he’s under contract for, he will undoubtedly go down as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters of all time. However, there will be an asterisk on his resume, albeit a small one, but still an asterisk.

Mayweather fought some great fighters during his career in Oscar de la Hoya, Sugar Shane, and Juan Manuel Marquez, but he will always be criticized for facing these guys past their prime. And of course, he hasn’t, and seemingly never will, take on Manny Pacquiao, who was the only fighter in Floyd’s class during this era.

To me, the blame goes to Mayweather for this fight never happening with all of his ridiculous financial and drug testing demands. In my opinion, this impacts Mayweather’s legacy more than Pacquiao’s, who seemed willing to fight his counterpart.

Mayweather may hang up the gloves with an unblemished record while Pacquiao retires with five (or more) defeats, but Mayweather will always be viewed as the guy that always found a way to prevent this fight while both guys were in their primes. The fact is this matchup was heralded as the biggest fight of all time and it never happened. That can’t go unnoticed on Floyd’s resume when it’s all said and done.

2. Who can Mayweather fight outside of Pacquiao that can cement his legacy (if he wins)?

Morilla: Mayweather’s chance to fight a universally recognized middleweight champion came and went with the fall of Sergio Martinez, a small middleweight with a style that would have made Floyd work hard for his victory (which he would have attained, to add yet another undisputed title to his trophy case). Now, with Cotto holding the linear championship and Gennady Golovkin being perceived as the best man at 160 lbs in the world, the picture is not so clear. Sure, a rematch with Cotto for the middleweight crown at the end of his career would draw even more money than a fight with Pacquiao, and almost as much recognition, but Martinez would have provided a much stronger challenge until recently.

Other than that, fights with Danny Garcia (a guy who has proved that he always finds a way to win), Lucas Matthysse (a guy who sent 37 of his 38 opponents to the canvas at least once) and maybe Adrien Broner (yeah, yeah, you bought the whole “lil’ bro, big bro” thing, I know) could be more than enough to cement a legacy that is already strong enough to endure for many years to come.

Levin: Honestly, I don’t think anyone fits the bill as much as Pacquiao does. The only other intriguing fights are a potential rematch with Miguel Cotto at middleweight or possibly a showdown with GGG if Floyd moves back up in weight. Other than that, it would be interesting to see how Canelo matures and develops over the next year.

If he becomes boxing’s next mega star, which Golden Boy is priming him to be, a rematch between the two could be a very entertaining fight. During their first fight, Alvarez was so young and immature that it almost wasn’t fair. But, a fight in the next year may be a different story.

Regardless, nothing really makes up for the absence of a Mayweather-Pacquiao showdown.

3. Who takes over as boxing’s king/top dog once Mayweather/Pac retire?

Morilla: This type of questions always refers to two things: dominance in the ring and success in the box office. We may never see a combination of these two things at the level currently enjoyed by Floyd Mayweather, ever. We may see another Manny emerging from the current crop of Latin American or Asian stables, fighting his way up in the ranks by taking on all comers and producing one exciting fight after the other. But in terms of boxing excellence and box office appeal, it’s hard to see someone rising to that level.

If I had to throw a name in the wind, I’d say Deontay Wilder has some qualities that I am curious to watch as they develop in the future. Andre Ward needs a challenge, a manager that he can work with and some flash in his off-the-ring swag, and you can’t just buy that in any store. But if I had to pick one, however, I’d say that Gennady Golovkin is about 20 English lessons away from becoming boxing’s next big thing. If he isn’t already.

Levin: I alluded to this in the previous question, but I think the next top dog in boxing has to be Canelo Alvarez.

At just 24 years old with a 44-1-1 record, Canelo has already accomplished so much. Not only that, he has simply demolished his competition.

With Oscar de la Hoya promoting him as Golden Boy’s next “it” guy and with the success that he has already had, the sky is the limit for Alvarez.

The best part about Canelo is that he always wants to take on the best competition and doesn’t shy away from any fight. He should reign over boxing for the next 10-12 years.

4. What is the best fight in boxing outside of May-Pac?

Morilla: In this context, “best” and “biggest” are not interchangeable synonyms. Cotto-Alvarez and J.C. Chavez Jr. vs. Carl Froch are the two fights I’d like to see happening next year. I could wait another year for Golovkin-Ward, sure. And who says it can’t be a rematch? Garcia-Matthysse II would be awesome, and so would be Broner-Maidana II. But then again, if I had to go with the absolute best pure boxing matchup, I’d say Leo Santa Cruz vs. Carl Frampton is the one that I am drooling about. And that’s only because I am saving the Roman Gonzalez vs. Juan Francisco Estrada unification bout for dessert.

Levin: To me, the best fight outside of Pacman-Mayweather is undoubtedly Miguel Cotto vs. Canelo Alvarez.

With Cotto looking revived since hiring Freddie Roach, he is now a top notch fighter once again. He looked absolutely dominant in his 10th round TKO win over Sergio Martinez in June and appears to be on the top of his game. This fight at middleweight or junior middleweight would be one for the ages: Two hard-hitting champions that have die-hard fan bases from their respective countries.

If this fight happens, and it very well could in 2015, it would be one for the ages.

author avatar
Diego Morilla
Diego Morilla is a boxing writer since 1992. His work has been extensively featured in some of the most prestigious boxing media outlets in Latin America and the U.S., including ESPN.com, The Ring, Latino Boxing, MaxBoxing.com, Lo Mejor del Boxeo, PSN.com, HBO Sports and newspapers such as El Mundo, Primera Hora and El Vocero, among others.