Despite all the talk about the horrible training camp, about Margarito’s hand wraps and about all the distractions in Pacquiao’s life outside the ring, the Filipino had little problem winning his eighth world title.
Immediately, the reaction of every boxing fan and analyst in the world was that a bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr. is all Pacquiao needs to cement his legacy as the best boxer on the planet and one of the best to ever live.
That is simply not true.
Watching Pacquiao withstand a barrage of punches from the larger Margarito, only to explode with a flurry of his own, it was clear that Pacquiao needs no one to ensure his greatness. There were times when it seemed like Pacquiao would put himself in the corner or up against the ropes simply to work himself out, as if this giant spectactle in front of tens of thousands in attendance and millions watching on television was not much more than a training session.
It was, in a word, brilliant.
The fact that Pacquiao was able to let up after Margarito’s facial injuries got out of control without sacrificing the bout was just another example of his mastery in the ring.
It really doesn’t matter who Pacquiao faces, because there’s nobody who can compete with him. Not even Mr. Mayweather.
If Mayweather wanted to fight Pacquiao, he’d have done so by now. But he doesn’t. He’s undefeated in his 14 years as a pro, and he wants to keep it that way. He could lay claim to being the best in the world with a victory, but he knows that getting that win might be impossible.
So Mayweather will continue to act like it’s Pacquiao that doesn’t want to fight him. He’ll keep thinking he’s the best, and he’ll feel endless joy whenever someone says that Pacquiao needs to fight Mayweather in order to put the shine on that legacy.
For Mayweather, the saga of a potential Pacquiao fight has been the only reason he’s been relevant over the past couple of years (well, that and the restraining order against him filed by his ex-girlfriend and the racist rant he posted online).
Pacquiao, meanwhile, is a member of the Filipino Congress. He spends his free time singing on late-night television. He sells cologne (a rather weird concept for a man who makes his living sweating in a ring). He’s a world champion, and he has a lot more going on than Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
Even in the immediate wake of his victory Saturday night, Pacquiao didn’t seem concerned at all about Mayweather. That should tell you about all you need to know.
Does Manny Pacquiao really need to fight Floyd Mayweather to lay claim to being the best fighter in the world? Share your thoughts below.