2013: Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao - Grand Finale - Boxing

2013: Mayweather and Pacquiao's Grand Finale
By Michael Carpenter Harris II, Doghouse Boxing (Jan 30, 2013) Poster by Chee

Floyd Mayweather - Manny Pacquiao

When you talk about boxing there are two stars that are far and away the biggest and the brightest the sport has to offer, Manny Pacquiao and Floyd "Money" Mayweather Jr. No other boxer can claim to rival the popularity and respect those two have garnered since the retirement of Oscar De La Hoya. It was Floyd Mayweather Jr., who was an undefeated superstar who defeated Oscar De La Hoya for his 154 pound title while also inheriting Oscar’s mantle as pay per view’s top attraction. Floyd retired soon afterward instead of facing Oscar De La Hoya for a second time which, ironically, left an opportunity that Manny Pacquiao took full advantage of by stopping Oscar on his stool at the opening of the 9th round in 2008.

That chain of events catapulted Pacquiao’s name into the stratosphere alongside Mayweather to generate a buzz for a fight that reverberated for 5 years to see who everyone considered the best fighters on the planet face each other for world supremacy. I say 5 years because after Pacquiao stopped De La Hoya in spectacular fashion in 2008, he was also stopped just as spectacularly on a fateful night late 2012 by a resurging Juan Manuel Marquez. Floyd had his own troubles in 2012 dealing with a fierce and determined Miguel Cotto. It was a fight where Cotto performed a lot better than many analysts expected and Floyd seemed to struggle at points and got hit with multiple clean shots. Floyd still displayed his technical brilliance but people in boxing circles are now wondering if Floyd is slipping a little faster than some believe? According to reports, Floyd also had a very difficult time serving out short prison sentence. Is Floyd a totally different fighter now? Is it really over for Manny Pacquiao? These questions and more will be answered in 2013 where we will probably see the final year of competition for one or both of these mega stars who are carrying our sport into its next era.

Manny Pacquiao’s meteoric rise has only recently been match by his swift and violent fall after losing consciousness at the last second of the 6th round after absorbing an overhand right from Marquez. Despite being so loved a figure in boxing circles for his hard punching style and capturing the heart of an entire country, after Pacquiao’s loss, his career obituary was written by many media pundits and the image of a fallen Pacquiao, in many ridiculous and compromising positions, circulated social media in mockery of a fighter revered for his bravery and courage as much as his hard charging style. Consequently, Floyd Mayweather jr. was widely ridiculed for not taking the Manny Pacquiao fight sooner. Floyd was robbed of his dance partner and possibly the biggest payday of his career. The fans don’t believe Mayweather really wanted to fight Pacquiao anyway and sacrificed the money and respect he could have gained by fighting Manny rather than to risk losing, which only enrages fans even more.

They face almost opposite problems: while Pacquiao’s fans are looking for one more virtuoso performance against Manny’s archrival to date…Marquez, Floyd fans are looking for a rival who can give Floyd a challenge that will test his remarkable skill set in a way that forever puts him in the all-time great category. Critical decisions and business deals have been made that have already set in motion the chain of events that will bring this scenario to its dramatic conclusion: Manny has asked for an April tune up fight outside of the United States that it doesn’t seem like he will be able to get, there is talk that Manny may go to Marquez’s backyard in Mexico for their final showdown while Manny’s family, friends, and many media outlets are calling for his retirement. Meanwhile, Floyd Mayweather is now 36 years old and coming off a less than stellar performance where he was pushed a lot farther than usual, rotted in a jail cell for a few months, and took another year long hiatus after his fight with Cotto. Will Manny Pacquiao be vanquished for a second time by Juan Manuel Marquez in the heart of Mexico City before all of Juan’s’ adoring fans? Or can Manny Pacquiao stem or even totally reverse the tide of his declining career with yet another awe-inspiring performance that redeems and breathes life back into his legacy and his career for 2013, maybe even recreating the demand for an epic showdown against Mayweather again? Can Floyd Mayweather find a legitimate challenger to his status as pound for pound king who is not named Manny Pacquiao? Has Floyd slipped too far and gotten too old to beat a young lion even with his amazing skill set and no one has caught on yet? Will Floyd fail to challenge himself in the eyes of fans and the media and be overshadowed in this era by a fighter who was more active? Will Floyd Mayweather Jr. finally live up to the promise of his all-time great potential and become the boxing icon of this era? All these loaded questions and more will be answered in the coming months and only one thing can be promised is that boxing history will be made in the process.

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