Mayweather-Pacquiao: The Gathering

Boxing fans (again) were (foolishly) plotting Manny Pacquiao's next move before he'd had a chance to towel off after Saturday's win. (Chris Farina/Top Rank)
Boxing fans (again) were (foolishly) plotting Manny Pacquiao’s next move before he’d had a chance to towel off after Saturday’s win. (Chris Farina/Top Rank)

I’m not ready for this.

Seriously, I have stuff to do. I just finished the dishes, there’s yardwork that needs tending to, and I don’t have nearly enough caffeine in me yet. I’d like to sit down to watch the rest of OKC-Indiana and maybe even catch the tail end of the Masters if possible, but the garage is a mess. Plus, I’ve got my own old-man-hoops game later tonight. Lots to do, lots on my mind. But now Twitter (oh-so predictably) has me all wound up.

It’s too early for this. It’s too late for this.

Manny Pacquiao had barely gotten the wraps removed from his hands after taking apart Timothy Bradley Jr. to earn a unanimous decision in last night’s rematch before the silliness started. Because boxing fans have yet to learn the art of the celebratory riot — nice work, by the way, Storrs; you guys are all class — fight followers have been conditioned to always look ahead. Naturally, boxing nation turned its lonely eyes to Floyd Mayweather Jr.:

Actually, folks hadn’t bothered to wait for Bradley’s head to stop spinning before starting the festivities:

No one, it seemed, could help themselves:

My brain hurts. I’ve never been more tired of a single topic. I can recall exhaustive rounds of peek-a-boo with my kids that seemed more likely to end in a clear resolution. But just for the hell of it, let me try to sum up #MayweatherPacquiao in the simplest way I can think of: It won’t happen. And if it does, we’ll likely wish it hadn’t.

Pacquiao is 35 — two years younger than Mayweather — but is undoubtedly the more shopworn fighter. He had a good night against Bradley, and it’s tough to argue that he isn’t among the top 10, or at least 20, boxers on the planet. But his once-frenetic activity level — the hallmark of an in-his-heyday Pacquiao — has been consistently down in recent years. And his power is no longer an amber-alert threat, if it ever really was at 147 pounds. Pacquiao has just two knockouts in 10 fights at welterweight — and none in eight fights dating back to 2010.

Fans can turn their noses up at it all they want, but Mayweather’s crafty, defensive style ages far better than Pacquiao’s damn-the-torpedos bravado. (If it were otherwise, Julio Cesar Chavez would be headlining with Bernard Hopkins next weekend.) Mayweather still has his reflexes, and he has no peer in terms of ring intelligence. Imagine a pack of piranhas methodically snatching small bites from the belly of a barracuda until all that remained were bones. That’s Mayweather-Pacquiao.

It didn’t have to be that way, of course. Pacquiao stood a better chance in a theoretical Mayweather fight three years ago, around the time this saga began. But it no longer matters why it never came off, or who’s fault it is. Blame Manny. Blame Floyd. Curse Bob Arum. Whatever. All that matters now is that Mayweather, boxing’s top draw, has the leverage — and he doesn’t need Pacquiao. Until Floyd starts thinking more about history than about padding his piles of money and undefeated record, that won’t change. Um, don’t hold your breath.

If Pacquiao ultimately decides that the significance and challenge of facing Mayweather is more important than splitting the spoils equally with him, maybe he’ll draw a hard line with Arum and insist that the fight gets made. Maybe. And maybe my chores will finish themselves.

Until then, my buddy Eric Raskin, I think, has the best last words on the subject:

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