Upon the complete dismantling of Victor Ortiz by Floyd Mayweather Jr. on the 17th of September in Las Vegas, we are once again mired in a never ending discussion. Who most deserves the title of “Pound for Pound” best professional boxer? Most pundits would agree that at this particular time there are really only two viable contenders for this crown: Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao.
Floyd “Money” Mayweather is an undefeated, vilified welterweight with an impressive record of 42-0. At the age of 34, Floyd “Money” Mayweather seems to defiantly play by his own rules when it comes to who he fights, when he fights and his obliviousness to age. Additionally he seems to revel in his bad boy image and glamorous lifestyle that is best explained by his nicknames “Pretty Boy” and “Money”.
Coming back after a 16 month layoff to score a controversial 4th round knockout against Ortiz to claim his 5th championship in 5 weight divisions, Mayweather further solidified his bad boy image after getting into a heated post-fight confrontation with longtime HBO fight analyst Larry Merchant that had the 80 year old Merchant so enraged that he proclaimed he would kick Mayweather’s ass if he were 50 years younger.
After Mayweather angrily walked away from Merchant’s traditional post-fight interview, Merchant went on to proclaim his belief that Mayweather was afraid to answer the tough questions that he knew were forthcoming concerning his refusal to fight Manny Pacquiao. Mayweather has refused to fight Pacquiao unless he agrees to Olympic style drug testing leading up to a 14 day test free window prior to the fight and has intimated that Pacquiao is secretly a performance enhancing drug user. Pacquiao has agreed to a 24 day test free window prior to the fight suggesting that any drug testing performed could possibly weaken him. He has categorically denied these accusations of PED use and has filed a defamation of character law suit against Mayweather in response.
Unlike Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao is an unassuming likable champion that is a national hero in his homeland of the Philippines. With a phenomenal record of 53-3-2 in a career that has seen him defeat the likes of Oscar De La Hoya, “Sugar” Shane Mosley, Miguel Cotto and Ricky Hatton, Pacquiao’s record speaks volumes for his right to be considered boxing’s “Pound for Pound” best. He was named the Boxing Writers Association of America’s Fighter of the Decade in the 2000’s and is boxing’s first 8 division world champion. Not only is Pacquiao one of the two best fighters in the world in any weight class, he also serves as a Congressman in the Philippines and could quite possibly have a long and promising career in politics should he choose to pursue such an undertaking once his hall-of-fame career is complete.
So who indeed is the best? Is it the brash undefeated Mayweather or the beloved Philippine Senator? Will the speed and power of Pacquiao or the speed and counter punching skill of Mayweather be triumphant? Depending upon whether or not Pacquioa agrees to Mayweather’s adamant demand for Olympic style drug testing leading up to any proposed fight, we may never know. It’s all a matter of opinion for now and everyone seems to have one including yours truly.
For what it is worth, I personally believe that the hand speed, defensive skill and ring savvy of Floyd Mayweather Jr. will be more than enough to defeat Manny Paquiao. Up until this point nobody has proven that they can beat Floyd Mayweather Jr. Like him or not this is simply fact. The man has defeated everyone that has stepped into the ring with him including every notable on Pacquiao’s list of conquered.