Boxing fans all around the world are still waiting for the day that “Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao will sign a contract, set a date, and fight in the middle of the ring. What we do know is that a fight between the two of them won’t happen before the summer ends. Mayweather is scheduled take on Puerto Rican star Miguel Cotto on May 5th. After which, Mayweather will begin serving a 90-day jail sentence for a domestic dispute that will likely keep him inside until the end of August. Manny Pacquiao is scheduled to fight unbeaten rising star Timothy Bradley on June 9th. Seeing as both men have fights already set and would want at least 10 weeks of training to prepare once Mayweather is a free man again. We’re looking at November or December if a fight was going to happen before 2012 ends.
For the past 4 years, there’s been a lot of posturing, name calling, contract disagreements, allegations of performance enhancing drugs, promoter issues, and most lately called the biggest issue; money. Mayweather has been the biggest draw in history with his last few pay-per-view outings against Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosley, Ricky Hatton, and Juan Manual Marquez. Yet with the exception of Marquez, Pacquiao has been more impressive decimating the competition in the ring. Add in the fact that Pacquiao was ranked #1 pound for pound in the world, just as Mayweather is now, and you’ve got a big argument on whether the split should be 60-40 in one guy’s favor, or down the middle at 50-50. However, from the articles I’ve read and listening to commentary during fights, both fighters stand to make $40-$50M dollars before pay-per-view dollars come in. So for us poor and middle class people who are fans of the sport; we really don’t see money being an issue, since we’d all love a one day payday of even just $1M.
Which brings me to the Ultimate Fighting Championship, affectionately known as the UFC. Dana White, president of the UFC has been instrumental in bringing the sport of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) into the mainstream. Once scrutinized for bare knuckle fights with little rules and coming under fire by government officials. The UFC become an accepted member of mainstream sports like baseball, football, basketball, and most closely boxing. Both boxing and MMA are combat sports, but inside of the MMA ring; elbow, knee, leg strikes are legal along with punches. Add in throws, locks, submission holds, ground and pound, and you’ve got a whole lot more to worry about as a fighter and a whole lot more to watch and analyze as a fan.
There have been arguments about who the better fighters are, but that argument is pretty unfair. In their weight class there isn’t any MMA fighter I’d put my money on beating Mayweather or Pacquiao in a boxing ring. But comparatively, I’d surely be betting against the two of them in the UFC octagon. However, if the two were the top two fighters in the UFC, they’d have already been in the ring. How do I know this? Aside from the fact that I follow the UFC as closely as I follow boxing, Jon “Bones” Jones is my perfect example.
Jones is the undefeated UFC light heavyweight champion (the loss on his record is from a DQ against Matt Hamil for 12-6 elbow strikes). But his reign as champion began when he fought and knocked out then champion, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. His next fight and first title defense came against former light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. His next fight and second title defense came against former light heavyweight champion Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida. His next fight and third title defense will come against former light heavyweight champion “Sugar” Rashad Evans, on April 21, 2012. In the time that Jones has won the title and defended it, Evans has fought Jackson, and Machida has fought Jackson, and before Jones was champion, Machida and Rua fought twice for the title both winning once, and Machida knocked out Evans to take the title from him. Did I mention there’s only one championship title in each division in the UFC, as opposed to 5 major title organizations and a spoonful of smaller organizations in boxing? So you see, if Mayweather and Pacquiao were in the UFC in the same weight division, they’d have already fought.
Also, the major difference is that in boxing, fighters don’t sign to a promotion like the UFC, which houses most of the highest ranked fighters in every division, in the world. It is the largest MMA organization and fighters who want to be considered the best in the world in 9 out of 10 instances have to fight there. It is a position that has made Dana White extremely popular and extremely unpopular, depending on who you ask. Conversely, Floyd Mayweather can largely choose who he wants to fight and can sign a contract in his own favor because he represents himself. So if he doesn’t want to fight the number two or three guy, he can pick the number 9 or 10 guy who he’s more likely to beat. The same goes for most other boxers who weren’t/aren’t signed to a promoter like Bob Arum. Oh yeah, this is another issue in the hold on the mega fight, because Arum is Pacquiao’s promoter, and Mayweather has issues with Arum. So in boxing you have more ho-hum, back and forth conversation about why fights don’t happen, whether legitimate or not. In the case of Mayweather and Pacquiao, the two biggest names in boxing, you get these issues and fights don’t happen. Fans suffer and we’re left to wait, hope, and continually wonder who’d win. In the UFC we find out, because fighters don’t get a damned choice. If you’re champion like Rashad Evans was, you were fighting the undefeated badass at the time Lyoto Machida whether you wanted to or not. And if you were “Shogun” Rua, you were fighting the undefeated badass Jon Jones whether you wanted to or not.
As you may or may not see by now, I’m pretty passionate about combat sports and I could go on about this forever. So I’ll just end with this. Whatever the issues are that have kept Mayweather and Pacquiao from fighting need to be put aside. While the next two fights for these guys are against quality opposition, they’re just filler fights to onlookers. Unless someone losses, which Mayweather has never done, and Pacquiao hasn’t done since 2005. The fight that doesn’t happen that would have happened in the UFC a long time ago, keeps pissing us off. We want this. Mayweather, Pacquiao, boxing please. We’re literally begging for this fight.
Until next write…