At present, though, a direct showdown between the two headlining boxers remains unscheduled, beyond a tentative, tenuous, hopeful rumor that something might materialize in 2012.
As the foot-dragging drags into yet another year without a scheduled matchup, boxing fans fall into one of two camps: those who are restless and those who have lost interest.
Among those two groups, there are Mayweather backers, there are Pacquiao backers and there are fight fans. The Mayweather camp believes their man’s defensive style will punish the aggressive Pacquiao, while Pacquiao’s folks think his relentless style will shock Mayweather. Fight fans just want to see these guys box before Mayweather, 34, and Pacquiao, 32, get too old for the bout to mean anything.
Although the payoff would be massive for both fighters, the irony is that it could prevent huge paydays thereafter for both men. The market in boxing has never been great for 30-somethings with nothing left to prove, and in the current environment, the demand for a defeated Mayweather or Pacquiao would be underwhelming. Even a victorious Mayweather or Pacquiao, with no remaining worthy competition, could find it hard to land another bout that generates tens of millions of dollars.
These are concerns for the boxers’ promoters. Boxing fans only care about seeing a battle of the best, and for the last few years, Mayweather and Pacquiao have been undeniably the best.