WHILE fight fans around the world continue to hope that a much-awaited megabuck fight between undefeated pound-for-pound No.1 Floyd Mayweather Jr. and eight-division champion and Fighter of the Decade Manny Pacquiao will, at long last happen despite being about four years too late, the back-and-forth negotiations don’t appear to have progressed very far.
In fact, World Boxing Council president Mauricio Sulaiman was perfectly right when he warned the other day that if the fight doesn’t happen soon, people will get fed up and look elsewhere for the excitement that boxing provides.
From our point of view, they really don’t have to look too far because we sincerely believe that a Pacquiao fight with former training companion and sometime sparring partner Amir Khan would probably be a more exciting fight .
Amir Khan will come to fight because he needs to add some further luster to his career, while Mayweather is bound to run the moment he tastes the power of Pacquiao if he has the guts to get into the ring with him.
Mayweather’s fears mainly center on his not wanting to lose his unbeaten record as he chases the record of the late heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano, although Marciano fought the best in his time, while Mayweather picks and chooses his opponents so he could maintain his undefeated record.
Floyd may keep his unbeaten record, but there is an inherent blemish in that he hasn’t fought the men he should face, foremost of whom is Manny Pacquiao.
Amir Khan, on the other hand, has also challenged Mayweather but to no avail because he believes the speed of Khan would be too much to contend with, even as Mayweather has slowed down in recent years and doesn’t have the legs he once had that were, with his shoulder roll, a key to his defense.
Although Pacquiao’s longtime adviser Michael Koncz says they have not put an end of January deadline to wind up long, drawn-out negotiations with the camp of Mayweather Jr., contrary to a report, quoting him as saying “the issue is very sensitive. We are giving this until the end of the month,” the fact remains that both he and Top Rank promoter Bob Arum haven’t sounded too optimistic about getting the fight done.
Koncz gave us a clue when he said if no progress is made and Pacquiao needs to fight twice this year, “we have a backup plan” although he provided no details.
That back-up plan includes a fight with Amir Khan, who Koncz contacted before Amir scored an impressive victory over Devon Alexander, although Koncz claimed it was only to wish Khan the best of luck in his fight against Alexander which, quite honestly, is far-fetched because when did Koncz ever call a fighter to wish him good luck, unless he was someone from the MP Promotions stable.
Khan himself has clearly indicated he would love to fight Pacquiao and we believe that if the fight is held in the UK, it would draw a much bigger crowd than Mayweather would attract at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, where he is comfortable fighting and won’t step out to face anyone, anywhere else.
That’s one of the reasons he turned down a stunning $120 million offer from a group from Abu Dhabi, forcing them to pull out the offer in disgust and to blast Mayweather.
But to us, the striking difference between Mayweather and Pacquiao and Khan is their priorities in life and their care and concern for the poor and the disadvantaged.
Taken against the backdrop of Mayweather flaunting his wealth, showing off his fancy cars and his private jet, the compassionate actions of Manny and Amir have made Floyd look sick.
While Mayweather flaunted his wealth which he often does, Pacquiao was at the Habitat For Humanity office in the financial district of Makati, where he made an initial donation of P5 million to build homes for the poor which underscored the difference in the human qualities of Pacquiao and Mayweather.
One of the biggest businessmen in the country, Fernando Zobel de Ayala who is chairman of the Habitat for Humanity Capital Campaign steering Committee told congressman Pacquiao during a casual conversation prior to the event where Pacquiao spoke during a fellowship, “We thank you and we are proud to have a Christian ambassador like you,” while philboxing correspondent Aquilo Zonio reported that Habitat for Humanity CEO Charlie Ayco told Pacquiao “while you were preaching I was watching your hands. It came across my mind that from fighting now you’re using these hands to help build people’s lives.”
When Taliban militants killed more than 140 school children in Peshawar, Khan who is a British citizen with a Pakistani heritage, visited the site, paid his respects and promised to help the families even as he risked the ire of the rebel group as he met with top government and military officials. He also has a foundation that helps starving children and recently stimulated economic activity and provided jobs as he began constructions of a building that will house a banquet hall and restaurants in his hometown of Bolton.
Aside from providing homes for the homeless, Pacquiao is known to push for a stop to human trafficking, the protection of the environment and several other commendable campaigns, even as he is building a place of worship in Sarangani province, indicating it is an edifice to honor God, from whom all blessings flow.
Mayweather may be undefeated, but Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan have beaten him to a pulp in terms of their touching humility and their care and concern for their disadvantaged fellow human beings, which is the measure of a man.