By John F. McKenna (McJack)
When WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquaio (54-3-2, 38 KO’s) defeated WBO/WBA lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez last Saturday night via highly controversial decision ironically it seemed to settle questions many boxing fans had about WBA welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. (42-0, 26 KO’s).
Prior to Saturday nights fight between “Pacman” and “El Dinamita” there had been a non stop call from boxing fans for a matchup between Pacquiao and Mayweahter. Many boxing observers and fans had accused Floyd of ducking the “Lil Fella” as the Mayweather camp is fond of calling Pacquiao.
Pacquiao had some astounding accomplishments in his march up through weight divisions all the way up from 106 pounds to where he fights today at 144 pounds. He won 8 division championships along the way and was named “Fighter of the Decade” for the years from 2000 to 2009 as well as winning “Fighter of the Year” for the years 2006, 2008 and 2009. He has also been almost universally acknowledged to be the best Pound for Pound fighter in the world for a number of years.
But things have a way of changing quickly in boxing and as the saying goes perception is everything. As in the movies boxers are most remembered for their last performance. And Pacquiao’s performance against Marquez was no where close to what boxing fans had come to expect from Manny. Most boxing observers and fans feel that “Pacman” lost to Juan Manuel Marquez, a fighter “Money” Mayweather handled with ease, pitching a shutout in their bout in 2009. The ease with which Floyd defeated Marquez would lead a reasonable boxing fan to assume that he would do the same to Pacquiao. The Pacquiao balloon has been punctured and deflated leaving his legions of ardent fans to wonder themselves whether or not he even belongs in the same ring with Mayweather.
The chorus of Pacquiao fans accusing Mayweather of ducking Manny has gone silent almost overnight. Even Pacquiao promoter Top Rank CEO Bob Arum is not keen on Manny fighting Floyd anytime soon, saying instead he would like to a arrange yet another fight with Marquez. But after 3 controversial fights most boxing fans are of the opinion that Pacquiao – Marquez IV would be equally controversial with no definitive winner.
It appears that Pacquiao – Marquez III may have settled the question of who reigns supreme in boxing by proxy, without Mayweather squaring off in the ring with “Pacman”. The reasoning is that if Manny cannot legitimately defeat Marquez in the ring without assistance from the ringside judges how would he ever be able to defeat Floyd Mayweather Jr. ?
No one can answer that question. Mayweather is again rated the best Pound for Pound fighter on the planet by ESPN. Pacquiao is holding on to his # 1 ranking by The Ring, but just barely and that is primarily because Mayweahter has been relatively inactive fighting only twice in the last two years.
Mayweather’s legacy will remain intact if the long anticipated match with Manny Pacquiao never comes to fruition and even if he were never to fight again. The Manny question seems to have been answered in most boxing fans minds.
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