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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

What Did Floyd See?

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Posted By Anthony Wilson 3:00 PM

Manny Pacquiao was dominant in his unanimous decision victory over Joshua Clottey on Saturday. He did what needed to be done and did it in highly impressive fashion. These days Pacquiao's performances always manage to highlight different dimensions of his greatness.

Against Clottey, I think it was his discipline. The ability of the former wild man who always wanted a fight to break out - and even now, in his more sophisticated boxer-puncher days, still loves to hit people - to stick to the tedious gameplan against a man who seldomly came out of his tight defensive shell. It was another superb prerformance from a man who is as great at his sport as any contemporary athlete (Avi was right).

But I wonder what Floyd Mayweather Jr. (a master himself) thinks of Manny's performance. I have a feeling that Money may find solace in what he saw. Clottey remained upright throughout and was never remotely hurt or in trouble. Of course, most of that had to do with who Clottey is: big, invulnerable, with a nearly impossible-to-break-through high guard.

But in his own way Floyd is almost just as difficult to hit, this we know. And more importantly, for the psyche of a prospective Pacquiao opponent it may have been comforting to see him not violently destroy the man across from him for a change. Pac has not become an actual monster, you can fight him and emerge with your brains intact and your face not battered, bruised, and bloody.

It's not that Floyd necessarily thought this same fate would become him. He should know he's too good for that, that he's been designed for that not to happen to him.

But monsters are inherently scary. They seem invincible. And for someone who cherishes his undefeated record like Floyd does, the thought of facing an opponent who appears so unbeatable - even if in your mind you know that no one is unbeatable, that no one is a monster, and that from a tactical standpoint he sets up very nicely for you - can be very unsettling.

I propose this because during the post-fight wrap-up Max Kellerman said that Floyd's drug testing demands were another way of him saying that he couldn't believe anyone could be as good as Pacquiao, and that he didn't want to face that Pacquiao - a guy who was making people question (encourage in the case of de la Hoya and (especially) Hatton) if his recently vanquished opponents should retire he beat them so badly.

I know there are more than a few who agree with this interpretation.

And if it is indeed accurate, I think it's worth wondering if Floyd feels differently now. Not if he doesn't think Manny is dirty, but if he's just not as concerned about it anymore. We already know Floyd has a significant stylistic advantage over Pacquiao, that on paper he seems to have the Filipino icon's number.

But when you see a guy beat people in the fashion Pac had been doing lately, I can see how it would cloud your thoughts and affect your judgment more than anything else if you're actually thinking about getting in the ring with him.

Manny was about perfect on Saturday night, but for the first time in a while he wasn't frightening. He cruised to victory, but I wouldn't say he seemed invincible.

Point is, question is: Would Floyd now, potentially, be willing to relent on his demands?

I know he's taken a very hard stance and at this point pride is very much involved (all of this is true on both sides). But there's a lot of money at stake here. Would Floyd betray his pride for $25 million guaranteed? He's a businessman first, right?

Just throwing it out there. Something to think about.

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