It’s Mayweather’s call
SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - September 21, 2018 - 12:00am

Floyd Mayweather may have beaten Sen. Manny Pacquiao on points in Las Vegas in May 2015 but he’ll never live down the fact that in boxing history, the Filipino holds the record of winning eight world titles in eight different weight divisions, three more than what the Money Man captured.

Pacquiao’s record will likely never be equaled nor surpassed. His collection lists the WBC flyweight, IBF superbantamweight, Ring Magazine lineal featherweight, WBC superfeatherweight, WBC lightweight, IBO superlightweight, WBO/WBA welterweight and WBC superwelterweight championships. Pacquiao could’ve made it 10 titles but skipped the superflyweight and bantamweight divisions when he moved up from flyweight to superbantamweight. Still, taking eight belts from 112 to 154 pounds was an incredible feat that not even Mayweather ever imagined to accomplish. 

Mayweather gained the WBC superfeatherweight, WBC lightweight, WBC superlightweight, WBC/IBF/IBO welterweight and WBA/WBC superwelterweight crowns, scaling from 130 to 154. What’s missing in his trophy room is the WBA welterweight belt that Pacquiao now wears.

When Mayweather and Pacquiao bumped into each other at an outdoor electronic music festival in Tokyo last Sunday, they barked at each other like two war dogs looking to settle unfinished business. As Mayweather ranted and said fighting Pacquiao once more would be “easy work,” the reigning WBA welterweight champion stood his ground, reminding Money who’s got the belt and it’s not the man from Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Was their meeting an accident? What is the probability that these two boxing legends would meet before over 100,000 revelers at Odaiba Park? Wasn’t it a perfect opportunity to announce to the world that they’ll do it one more time? Mayweather actually announced his “un-retirement” when he declared, “I’m coming back in December.” He’s un-retired at least thrice before so the new announcement was no surprise. If the money’s right, Mayweather won’t hesitate to come forward and walk straight to the bank. (Related story at left)

Las Vegas-based international matchmaker Sean Gibbons was at Odaiba Park when the “accidental” meeting took place. Was it a coincidence? What are the chances of Gibbons being on the same stage at the right time and the right place? “My being there wasn’t planned and at the last moment, (Pacquiao’s assistant) Joe (Ramos) told me we’re going to the Ultra Japan concert,” said Gibbons. “Wow, I need to go do that. That was what I went for. The rest was just pure crazy how that went down. Just like Floyd and Manny in Miami at that basketball game years ago. I’ve been a boxing guy for 32 years. All I do is try to move fighters into the position they need to be. Then, they take over from there. I’m blessed by the Senator to help.”

Gibbons was recently quoted by writer Lance Pugmire in the Los Angeles Times as saying, “These guys can come back and do the biggest pay-per-view and gate of the year without being on either of the biggest fight days of the year in May or September … Floyd showed it last August (against Conor McGregor), if you’ve got the right fight, the date is irrelevant.”

From Tokyo, Mayweather went back to the US supposedly to get the paperwork moving to finalize the Pacquiao rematch. Meanwhile, there was talk going around that Mayweather plans to suggest a fight for Pacquiao against a contender in Las Vegas on Jan. 12 and if the Filipino wins, then the next step is the rematch. But a highly-placed source said there is only one fight on Pacquiao’s mind – the rematch with Mayweather. Now the rumor is Mayweather will be flying soon to Manila to make the final announcement on the return match with Pacquiao.

Although Mayweather defeated Pacquiao on a unanimous decision in 2015, the verdict wasn’t that conclusive. Two judges Burt Clements and Glenn Feldman had it 116-112 for Mayweather while the third judge Dave Moretti seemed way off with a score of 118-110. Some sportswriters at ringside felt Pacquiao was robbed. Pacquiao later disclosed that he re-injured his right shoulder in the fourth round and fought the rest of the way virtually one-handed. He had injured the shoulder in training a few weeks before the fight. Even with one hand, Pacquiao gave Mayweather plenty to think about. With two good hands, it could be a different story in the rematch and that possibility is what’s driving the fans’ imagination, regardless of both fighters’ age.

Since their 2015 fight, Pacquiao has won three of four fights, losing only to Jeff Horn on a controversial decision. Last Last July, he stopped Lucas Matthysse to wrest the WBA welterweight crown.

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