Fighting Floyd Mayweather Jr., finally, gives Manny Pacquiao the opportunity to rewrite the history of boxing; to change the perception of this generation and era in the sport. He’ll just have to be the first to beat Mayweather, which isn’t a simple feat.
Forget about the human being Floyd Mayweather is. Just think about the boxing. Sure, he probably lost one of his fights against Castillo. His win over Victor Cruz in his latest comeback, although inevitable, was one of the dirtiest cheap shots ever allowed by an official in the ring, and should never have been allowed. But he’s undefeated and unless Pacquiao (or someone else) does something about it, will end up being remembered, at least by the history books, as the greatest fighter of his time.
Pacquiao might be showing loads of confidence going into the biggest fight of his career which should have happened five years ago, but he’s the underdog. He knows it. Mayweather knows it. Everyone knows it. He’s also heading into the fight with losses to Marquez (knockout) and Timothy Bradley (terrible decision). Although he has gotten his revenge against Bradley and has also beaten other fighters of lessened consequence (like Brandon Rios), it’s easier to notice his decline than Mayweather’s. That is what usually happens with aggressive, offensive fighters.
But Pacquiao is still a force to be reckoned with and the best fighter Mayweather has faced. Mayweather also isn’t the same fighter he used to be, and his difficulties with someone like Marco Maidana in the first fight with the Argentine brawler showed there is a way to punch through his defense, and that power, never Mayweather’s strong suit, is fading as well.
Most of the boxing world will be backing Pacquiao. Sure, there’s a racial tone to this fight as well. As with everything in life, it’s unavoidable. But Mayweather makes for an easy person to dislike, regardless of where he’s from and what he supposedly represents (just himself and the money he’s trying to make). And while not all great athletes have to be role model human beings, Mayweather has crossed that line a very long time ago.
A win for Pacquiao will be an earthquake in the world of boxing. World shattering. Yes, if it’s a close fight, it might open up the opportunity of this turning into a trilogy, the stuff legends are made of, at least in the boxing world. But some dare to dream to see Pacquiao, who hasn’t been exactly handing out knockouts lately, doing it to Mayweather, who has so rarely been clipped or hurt in his career. That won’t just put a loss on Mayweather’s (so far) perfect record. It’ll completely change the way the Mayweather era is regarded.
People want to disrespect him now for some of the choices he has made during his career, but while he’s the reigning pound-for-pound king with a perfect record, he’s untouchable.