While Manny Pacquiao is stuck between a decision regarding his November fight, Floyd Mayweather is locked behind bars, hidden from the public’s eye, hidden from the world of boxing and speculations and everything we’re used to see him in. The worst thing about the whole situation? The prospect of seeing the two fighters in the ring together isn’t that intriguing anymore.

Just think about it – The highest paid athlete in the world, is behind bars. Mayweather isn’t an example of how well of the sport of boxing really is. He’s self promoted and stands above everyone in terms of the interest and money he generates, with his personality and personal issues a big part of why he is so interesting to watch. He’s immensely popular for being undefeated and his skills in the ring, and immensely hated for everything else.

If boxing hasn’t taken enough hits over the years, the decision in the Pacquiao – Bradley fight was another nail in the never closing coffin. Boxing will never really die, and it has that special something MMA will probably never have, but personalities and charisma can’t hold the sport forever.

Integrity and believing that what we see in judges results isn’t influenced by outside, unrelated factors. Knowing that the judges who score the fights know a thing or two about boxing is just as important. There’s not a lot of trust from boxing fans towards those making the calls. At one point or the other, that’ll start hurting even the biggest of PPV kings.

No matter how many times the negotiations fail, there’s always the hope that Mayweather and Pacquiao in one ring will happen. But Manny Pacquiao, as it becomes clearer and clearer, is past his best. He did out-box Bradley for most of the fight, but that killer instinct and ability to get the quick knockout against inferior opponents is gone, or hidden very well. Maybe it’s his faith-related issues which have pulled him away from going for the kill, or maybe it’s just age.

Floyd Mayweather looked very good against Miguel Cotto, clearly winning the decision fight. Cotto’s no slouch, and they did fight in 154 instead of the Welterweight region, but Mayweather proved once again that he’s the most skilled fighter in the world and can put on a show when he feels like it. It may expose him just a bit against good fighters like Cotto, but he has enough to pull through and more in that kind of fight as well.

But he’s in jail, and no one knows how he’ll be when he gets out. Not just the amount of time he needs to get back in boxing form. Most people now project that Mayweather won’t fight in 2012, instead taking the slow way back into shape before a big 2013. Maybe with a double-header against Manny Pacquiao.

We should be excited about that option, but something feels a little bit too late about the whole idea. That somehow, someway, the window of opportunity for the biggest fight in the history of boxing has closed. Whatever we will get, if we get it, in 2013, won’t be the real thing, the thing it could have been.

Images: Source