Sunday, January 24, 2010

Did Pacquiao make a mistake by not fighting Mayweather?

By Jim Dower: Although Manny Pacquiao and his team feel that they did the right thing by not agreeing to take random blood tests within 24 days of the failed March 13th fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr., I think Pacquiao may have made a mistake by not sticking it out and continuing to negotiate with Mayweather to make the fight happen. It seemed like Pacquiao and his team hastily moved away from the fight rather than trying to split the difference of 24 days.

If anything, they might have been able to get Mayweather to agree to have the random blood tests stop at three weeks. It would have been worth trying. Instead, Pacquiao and his promoter Bob Arum opted to fight Joshua Clottey, a fighter who just lost to Miguel Cotto by a 12 round decision in his last fight. If Pacquiao hadn’t just finished dominating Cotto in a 12th round knockout in November then I could maybe ignore the loss by Clottey.

However, it’s hard to get excited about seeing Pacquiao fight someone who was just beaten by Pacquiao’s last victim. I can understand the interest for Pacquiao fighting Clottey, since both fighters compete with Top Rank promotions and it’s an ideal situation for them to not have to share the promotional duties. But I think Pacquiao and his team really missed the boat on this one by not sticking it out and trying to work something out with Mayweather.

At the very least this fight deserved it. This wasn’t a case of Pacquiao fighting a rematch with Marco Antonio Barrera in a fight that really made no sense to be taking place. Mayweather is considered by many to be the best fighter in boxing, and if Pacquiao wants to take the mantle away from him, he needed to have his management team explore every avenue possible to make the bout happen.

Boxing fans really can’t understand how a fighter and his team could walk away from payday of $25 million to $40 million. That just seems hard to understand. You can say that Pacquiao doesn’t need money, but I do think he cares about wanting to take on the best opponents. If not money, then I know Pacquiao cares about wanting to fight the best.

I think it looks bad in walking away from this fight. And choosing Clottey doesn’t make things better. If you’re going to walk away from the Mayweather fight, at least take on someone like Shane Mosley or Paul Williams. I know the welterweight division has few credible opponents but I think someone better than Clottey surely could have been found.

I don’t care about Clottey’s ranking. I don’t see him as the number #1 contender by the WBA and WBO since he was beaten in his last fight and beaten by Antonio Margarito in 2006. This fight is about as interesting as watching Pacquiao fight David Diaz again. But even the Diaz fight seemed more appealing to me, because at least he had a title in his possession at the time that he fought Pacquiao unlike Clottey.


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