Pacquiao vs Floyd Mayweather: The Fight That Never Was 2009-11
By Henry Walter
Boxing has had so many great fights throughout it’s long history. Great fights between great fighters at their peaks are usually the ones which capture the attention of the wider public and solidify the status of the sport.
People can almost always remember exactly where they were when the big fights took place. Yet it could be argued that every potential great match up that doesn’t occur hurts the sport almost as much as the ones that do. Natural fights that don’t happen represent missed opportunities for fighters to take themselves and their sport to an even higher level.
Perhaps the biggest example of an obvious fight not occurring is the bout between a prime Manny Pacquiao and his arch rival Floyd Mayweather.
Boxing politics, the two men were with rival promotional companies and fought on different channels, egos and even arguments over drug testing scuppered a potential superfight for the ages.
When the fight did finally occur, in 2015, Mayweather was 38 and his opponent 36, ages when many boxers are already retired. With both men past their best the bout failed to catch fire and Mayweather secured a 118-110, 116-112, 116-112 decision in a fight critics jokingly labelled as “Better Never Than Late.”
The fight should have occurred anytime between 2009 and 2011 when both men were ranked first and second in the pound for pound lists and both occupied the same division. The fact that it didn’t hugely damaged the credibility of the sport and robbed boxing fans of a potentially era defining fight for the ages.
The Mayweather-Pacquiao saga consisted of years of failed negotiations and is considered by fans and critics to be a huge stain on the sport. Yet exactly the same thing could be about to happen all over again.
Britain has two men in boxing’s flagship division who both have legitimate claims to being the world champion. Heavyweights Tyson Fury, (30-0-1) and Anthony Joshua, (23-1) both hold major world title belts in the division. Sadly in a mirror of the Mayweather-Pacquiao situation both men fight for different promotional companies and ply their trade on rival channels.
Money, egos and politics once again stand in the way of an era defining fight. Fury-Joshua at somewhere like Wembley Stadium would be something very special. What a shame it would be if their respective promoters squander the opportunity to create a truly brilliant fight.
In recent months all sorts of ridiculous comments about purse splits, venues and channels have been thrown about. Joshua and Fury are both in their primes, both have huge fan bases and both are household names to the wider public. Boxing politics must not squander the opportunity to make this fight and soon.