Boxing analysts believe that a Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr. mega-fight is now more possible after Pacquiao’s controversial victory over Juan Manuel Marquez.
In their trilogy bout at the MGM Grand Saturday evening (Sunday morning in Manila), Pacquiao seemed to lack his usual explosive power and blinding speed as he was consistently getting tagged by right hands from Marquez.
Filipino boxing analysts Ed Tolentino and Ronnie Nathanielsz expressed their disappointment over Pacquiao’s performance, saying the pound-for-pound king seemed to be experiencing an “off-day.”
But Pacquiao’s performance may have another effect: It may potentially convince the undefeated Mayweather Jr. that now is the time to put on the fight most boxing fans have been clamoring for.
“This could be in a way, a bait,” Tolentino said, adding that Pacquiao showed his mortality and vulnerability in the fight.
“I can already imagine Floyd Mayweather Jr. conjuring images of what he can do to Pacquiao, considering he is 2-3 times the better counterpuncher than Marquez,” he added.
Nathanielsz feels that with Pacquiao showing signs of decline, Mayweather will be more enticed to make the fight.
“He may be playing games to try to entice Mayweather, to say ‘I’ll fight you now, because I feel he’s going down,'” he said.
Negotiations for a potential Pacquiao-Mayweather mega-fight have twice collapsed over issues of Olympic-style random drug testing.
But members of Pacquiao’s camp, including promoter Bob Arum, have said that there are no more issues regarding blood testing.
Mayweather also recently announced through his adviser Leonard Ellerbe that he plans to make a return to the ring on May 5, 2012, and is planning to put on “the biggest fight ever,” leading boxing fans to hope that he may finally fight Pacquiao.
Given Pacquiao’s performance, Mayweather may be more eager to take the fight this time.
“I have a feeling Mayweather will now look at that fight and say, ‘kaya na ‘to,'” Nathanielsz said.
Other boxing analysts expressed the same opinions.
“After the way Pacquiao looked, how could Mayweather not want the fight?” Dan Rafael of ESPN said.
“Here’s hoping Floyd Mayweather will decide Pacquiao now vulnerable and quit running from him and agree to fight him in May,” ESPN’s Skip Bayless tweeted.
“Please don’t tell Mayweather, but Pacquiao such a boxing genius that he used that fight as a tune-up to lure Floyd into ring,” Bayless added.
Golden Boy Promotions president Oscar de la Hoya is already favoring Mayweather over Pacquiao should that fight ever happen, based on his observations on the fight.
“I think this shows how superior Mayweather is,” de la Hoya tweeted.
Pacquiao said that he will be willing to fight Mayweather, saying, “Let’s get it on. Let’s make the fight happen and give the people a good fight.”