The sheer volume of articles which have inevitably surfaced about a potential Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao super fight since the Filipino announced his comeback, with a ruthlessly efficient performance against Brandon Rios.
The vast majority of them have only really catered for the two main topics of; who would win and will the fight happen.
However, I have read some fascinating articles which have covered the contentious issue of why the fight has yet to materialise, despite it being the most anticipated match up in decades.
But not many times can I recall Floyd Mayweather Jnr’s fear of failure cited as the force which has separated the two men up until now. Now let me state, categorically, that I do not think Floyd Mayweather is scared of Manny Pacquiao. He isn’t.
But, I think his fears of failure are far more rational where the 34 year old Filipino is concerned.
Mayweather has known, as early as 2008, that Manny Pacquiao is the only man capable of damaging his undefeated record. And I truly believe that he still recognises Pacquiao as the only viable threat to his legacy. Irrespective of what he says in public, privately he knows Pacquiao still possesses the devilment that could spell disaster for his undefeated record.
On the other hand, Floyd also knows he has the skills which could expose Pacquiao. He would quite rightly be regarded as a betting favourite, if not a racing certainty, if he was to finally face Pacquiao. But it is this tiny element of doubt, which I think transforms Mayweather’s fear of failure from being his most positive motivational tool into his most crippling insecurity, where Manny Pacquiao is concerned.
He wants to be remembered in history as the greatest boxer to ever lace up a pair of gloves, so must be absolutely terrified of tainting his legacy with a defeat. Pacquiao has no such worries.
On the contrary, he would probably approach the fight free of trepidation, seeking comfort in the fact that he has already battled back from adversity on numerous occasions.
A loss would be a disaster for Mayweather. From a sporting perspective, the historical significance would be akin to the falling of the Twin Towers.
Whilst for Pacquiao, it would merely merit a shrug of the shoulders and statement to the effect of, ‘sometimes in boxing you win, sometimes you lose’ issued with characteristic humility, of course.
For better or worse, his defensive flaws define him just as much as his devastating speed and power do. His exciting style means he will be a box office attraction until he retires. The flipside though, is that he will also remain vulnerable to defeat until that day.
In contrast, Mayweather is totally reliant on his aura of invincibility to sell fights. His unblemished ring credentials compensate for his cautious, and at times, pretty tiring performances in prize fights. After all, how many times have we heard boos reverberate around the arena in a Floyd Mayweather world title fight?
Now this has as much to do with his opponent’s inability to force Mayweather to actually throw punches in order to defend himself, as much as it owes to his, at times, conservative approach.
But the Mayweather hype machine would malfunction if he were to cede his crown as an unbeaten fighter.
Again, Pacquiao has no reasons to be plagued by such fears- he was brutally knocked out just last year, and is still suffering the backlash from boxing fans and commentators around the world.
One of Pacquiao’s most endearing qualities, and greatest glories, is how he rises every time he falls. He lost his unbeaten record many years ago, suffering two knockout losses in his homeland before he ever stepped foot onto American soil.
Then, after arriving in the USA like a storm across the pacific, he struck terror into his opponents until, in 2005, he was finally stopped in his tracks by Erik Morales, who threatened to derail his career by exposing him as a one handed brawler, who could be backed up by bigger men in the heavier weight classes.
After that sobering defeat, he went on a 15 fight, six year unbeaten streak, dispatching many of the top names in the sport including two knockouts victories to gain revenge over Morales, as well as scoring wins of over Hall of Fame candidates; Oscar De La Hoya, Juan Manuel Marquez, Marco Antonio Barrera, Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton and Shane Mosley.
However, his world once again came crumbling down when his face crashed onto the canvas after being viciously knocked unconscious by Juan Manuel Marquez in their 4th fight, which lest we forget, followed on from his controversial point’s loss to Timothy Bradley.
Mayweather Jnr, on the other hand, has never had to deal with adversity in his boxing career. No knockouts. No defeats. He barely ever loses rounds. But by engaging in conflict with Manny Pacquiao, he has everything to lose.
Even though he is probably 99% confident he would win, he cannot eliminate that 1% of doubt that he could lose.
So if the ‘Greatest Fight that Never Was’ remains just, then I feel Floyd Mayweather’s fear of failure will be among the most decisive factors which contrived to keep the two men apart.