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Sign the contract, Fraud

Friday, July 16, 2010

 

The ball’s in your court, Fraud – err, I mean, Floyd – Mayweather.

Manny Pacquaio has agreed to abide by your ridiculous, schizophrenic drug-testing standards, so all that’s left is for you, the alleged pound-for-pound No. 1 fighter on the planet, to sign the contract within the next 24 hours and give us what we’ve been waiting for since Christmas – the most highly-anticipated showdown since Super Fight II between Rocky and Apollo.

No more excuses, Fraud.

Two months ago, Pacquaio finally agreed to have blood drawn up to 14 days before the proposed fight against Mayweather – a concession he wasn’t willing to make earlier this year when negotiations fell apart. This was the sticking point during the first round of talks, yet despite the fact Pacquaio is willing to meet Fraud halfway, Mayweather and his camp remained silent throughout June, prompting Top Rank CEO (and Pacquiao’s promoter) Bob Arum to impose a two-week deadline on July 1 for Fraud to make his move.

The two weeks have all but passed and we’ve still heard nothing from Team Mayweather other than the sobering news that Fraud’s uncle and trainer, Roger Mayweather, is facing an upcoming trial date for allegedly attacking a female boxer last year.

Figures. Just when you think the Pacquiao-Mayweather dream bout is finally going to happen, we’re faced with the proposition of Fraud’s most trusted ally enduring a lengthy trial, which more than likely means he wouldn’t be able to train his nephew for this fight, thus giving Mayweather another excuse to pull out faster than cousin Ricky on prom night.

I’m convinced this fight will never happen, mainly because I don’t think Mayweather is as confident as he’s led us all to believe, but mostly because everything is just too perfect right now. As a natural-born pessimist, I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop while Uncle Roger is hoping the soap doesn’t drop in those communal prison showers.

The irony in all this is I actually think Mayweather would win, even though I also think his resume and status as boxing’s pound-for-pound king are a tad bit overrated. As I pointed out the first time I waxed poetically on this subject, I can’t remember the last time I went into a Fraud fight thinking he had more than a 20 percent chance of losing, which is a credit to his overall skill but also an indictment on the opposition he’s chosen to face over the past eight years.

Mayweather knocking out a punch-drunk Ricky Hatton and breezing through a past-his-prime Shane Mosley (even though Mosley temporarily stunned him in the second round) failed to produce a Cialis-like blood rush to the main vein. Pacquiao-Mayweather would solve all the world’s problems, including homelessness and the BP oil spill.

As for handicapping this fight (assuming it might happen one day), I think Fraud’s five-inch reach, hand speed, defense and ring savvy would be too much for Pacquiao to handle – but not by much. You can rule out the possibly of Mayweather scoring a knockout; he stopped trying years ago. As long as he doesn’t get knocked out himself – which, if you saw the way his knees buckled from Mosley’s big right hand, isn’t out of the realm of possibility given Pacquaio’s awkward punching angles – Fraud will almost certainly win a decision.

The problem is I don’t think he wants to mix it up with Pacman, and the more this fight gets delayed, the more Mayweather’s age starts becoming an issue. Fraud turns 34 in February. Pacquaio is 31. A three-year gap isn’t too big a deal at those ages, but it becomes more of a problem at, say, 35 or 36, similar to the way dating a girl 10 years younger than you is far more taboo when you’re 27 and she’s 17 than it is when you’re both over the hill.

Ultimately, if Fraud misses today’s deadline, boxing fans will have no choice but to assume he’s ducking Pacquiao, whereas Pacman is ready to prove he’ll fight anyone literally anywhere, as evident by the fact he and Arum are already in discussions to face disgraced Mexican boxer Antonio Margarito in either Monterrey or Abu Dhabi if Fraud bows out. After getting caught stuffing plaster into his gloves last year, Margarito had his license revoked in the United States, but is still licensed to fight in Mexico.

The fact is Pacquiao has agreed to have blood drawn up to 14 days before the fight after originally agreeing to a cut-off point of only 24 days. Eighteen didn’t work, so he lessened his stance (nevermind the fact he had even agreed to have blood drawn after the fight in initial talks with Mayweather, which is conveniently overlooked by Fraud’s apologists).

At the end of the day, I doubt the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency would actually draw blood from either fighter that close to the actual date. The same agency oversaw the Mosley-Mayweather fight and stopping taking samples more than two weeks before the bout because it didn’t feel it was necessary given how many samples it had already taken – and this was a fight between an admitted steroid user (Mosley) and a well-known user of the pain-killer Xylocaine (Mayweather), which is illegal in several states.

The only suspicion clouding Pacquiao’s resume is the fact he’s tied a record by having won world titles in seven different weight classes, representing a physical growth often attributed to the use of performance-enhancing drugs. Show me some tainted blood samples, or else I’m sticking to this country’s ideology of “innocent until proven guilty.”

Until then, it’s time for Fraud to put up or shut up. The ball’s in your court. No more excuses.

 

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