One of the best boxers of all time is backing a Mayweather vs. Pacquiao rematch. Here's why that would be bad for the sport.
- Floyd Mayweather talked up then slapped down rumors of a second fight against Manny Pacquiao this week.
- It is a rematch that "Sugar" Ray Leonard, one of the all-time greats of the sport, says "should be done."
- But he's wrong. It shouldn't.
- The 2015 fight was an outright dud not fit for TV, and a do-over means boxing continues to focus on its yesteryear athletes.
- Instead, it should look to the future, and match Pacquiao against Errol Spence or Terence Crawford.
- If and when Spence beats Pacquiao, it would be a passing-of-the-torch moment and usher in a new generation of pay-per-view stars.
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Floyd Mayweather has been retired from professional boxing for two years, but he is seemingly forever linked with a rematch against his old rival Manny Pacquiao.
Mayweather beat Pacquiao in 2015, thwarting the Filipino's best attacks with a defensive masterclass, earning the American an anticlimactic decision win.
The event was a pay-per-view success, the greatest selling fight in combat sports history, but performance-wise it was an outright dud not fit for TV.
Whatever your epitaph, the rivalry could be ressurrected, as rumors of a second bout refuse to go away.
In 2016, Mayweather told ESPN he would fight Pacquiao after the Filipino's recovery from rotator cuff surgery, and in 2018 he said there were plans for a second bout after the pair met at an event in Tokyo.
Earlier this week, a video surfaced which showed Mayweather saying he was heading to Saudi Arabia for Pacquiao rematch talks, but the 42-year-old later told Fight Hype that this was actually false and that he was paid $2.2 million to say it.
People would watch, but just because you build a fight, doesn't mean fans will thank you for duping them into coming.
History tells us a Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight wouldn't just be a bust. It would be disastrous for boxing as its focus on yesteryear's fighters fails to usher in the new generation. It keeps the sport firmly in the past, burying any chance of pay-per-view superstars of tomorrow emerging from the shadows cast by previous greats.
Mayweather has nothing to prove. He's 50-0 and three years away from entering the hallowed boxing hall of fame in Canastota, New York. He would be the most famous inductee for generations. That, itself, would be an event.
Pacquiao, meanwhile, continues to teach younger men a fistic lesson. He beat Adrien Broner and Keith Thurman in style this year alone, but there are greater welterweight challenges out there for him.
Terence Crawford and Errol Spence are ranked one and two in the world at 147 pounds, and a fight against Pacquiao would be seen as a legacy or passing-of-the-torch fight so significant, it would enhance Pacquiao's stature in the game should he win, but take little shine off his star should he lose, considering all he has done already.
But if Spence were to win, it would elevate the unbeaten American. It would do to him what Oscar de la Hoya's loss to Pacquiao did for the 40-year-old back in 2008, aged 29. It would put him over, and create a new PPV sensation in the fight game.
Spence, 29 years old with a record of 25 wins (21 by knockout), has years ahead of him to rule. It is fighters like he who are the future.
It's time to consign the mythical, improbable, and pointless Mayweather vs. Pacquiao 2 to the past.