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Old 09-06-2010, 06:10 PM
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Question Fans losing interest in Pacquiao vs. Mayweather after Floyd's racist diatribe?

Fans losing interest in Pacquiao vs. Mayweather after Floyd's racist diatribe?

* September 6th, 2010 2:13 pm ET

Pacquiao and Mayweather now not essential?
Photo: Fan Art, Pacland

As far back as two years ago the biggest question in boxing was rapidly becoming whether Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, as the two best pound for pound fighters in the world, would ever meet in the ring. Even to the point that demand for the fight seemed to be as big as ever more recently after two failed attempts to put it together had come and gone.

Many predicted that the fight could not only break the all time pay per view record held by Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya, but give the entire sport a much needed shot in the arm, and prove that there was still a big market out there for boxing despite the distinct lack of truly popular fighters right now.

Initially there seemed to be blame on both sides for the negotiations not leading to anything, but more recently that perception has shifted. Fans of either fighter will still insist that the other is to blame for nothing happening, but the casual fans previously not favoring either are now tending to point to Mayweather as the cause of at least the latest breakdown between the two sides. And for his part, Floyd freely admits that he is taking time off and isn't thinking about fighting at the moment.

More damaging than that though was the now infamous Ustream rant in which Mayweather let loose his customary torrent of abuse and insults at his rival, but this time crossed the line into racial slurs on several occasions.

The hastily put together and rather disingenuous looking apology a few days later didn't seem to do him any favors either, in fact if anything this only further hurt his public image, especially amongst those he insulted in the first video.

The rant also certainly turned many fans off to the idea of the fight between him and Pacquiao ever happening. So much so in fact that by comparison Pacquiao's upcoming fight against Antonio Margarito, heavily criticized only weeks ago, is now rapidly gaining acceptance.

At this stage even if Margarito turns out to be past his best, and even if Pacquiao blows him out of the water in only a few rounds, at it will now be seen as an impressive feat by most. Perhaps partly because it wasn't until the pair were pictured side by side on their recent press tour that fans got a true sense of the size difference that Pacquiao would have to overcome in capturing his 8th world title.

Also the reason why Pacquiao and Mayweather were so talked about is because they were rivals, both in their respective primes and both as big as they were ever going to be. Now though with Pacquiao fighting twice as often and the list of viable opponents for Mayweather rapidly shrinking, their rivalry has become less intriguing and in many ways less competitive.

There is a sense that Pacquiao is the only one of the two fighting for his legacy, and that through his inactivity Mayweather will eventually become less relevant, regardless of how good he might be or whether in actual fact he would beat Pacquiao if the two ever fought.

It's not so much that people don't want to see the fight anymore, but that they now don't see it as essential for both fighters.

Strangely enough, the most revealing part of Mayweather's recent self inflicted public relations nightmare was the portion of the video where he said that he would indeed be taking on Pacquiao in the future. Suggesting that terms between the two were more or less agreed upon during the last set of negotiations. Whether he meant this or if anything will come of it is less certain, but given the issues separating the two in the past not many fans will be hoping for too much.

Should Pacquiao pursue a fight with Mayweather and potentially waste his time looking to prove himself as the best fighter of the era, or should be freeze Mayweather out altogether and concentrate on building his legacy against opponents more easily dealt with at the negotiation table?

Tomas Dudek, Pittsburgh: "Pacquiao should leave him out in the cold, and Arum should back him up by not letting any Top Rank fighter go near Floyd either. See how he likes losing his 0 to Martinez or Williams when he spends all the money he made against Mosley"

James Ramsden, Harrisburg: "They still both need each other, Floyd just isn't interested in anything except making money. He fought a lightweight and then a faded Mosley, who only got back to the top by beating Margarito who was unfocused due to losing his plaster wraps"
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