Pacquiao Plays Pacman: How to Catch Back Up to Mayweather
INTHE KINGDOM OF MONEY - Not so long ago, SenatorManny Pacquiao was the undeniable king of the global ring.
Not so long ago, Pacquiao against BrandonRios (pictured above, in Chris Farina-Top Rank photo) would have been a biggerfight than Floyd Mayweather Jr.versus Canelo Alvarez.
Not right now.
Public (as in paying customers) perception could be reaching a point, at leastin the US, where Pacquiao's tenure atop the pound for pound rankings fades into memory while Mayweather isstillon the rumbling rise.
The Pacquiao - Mayweather rivalry, a pick 'em situation for years, hasin recent moonsswung so far in Mayweather's direction that now "Money" says the only way a fight between them will occur is if Pacquiao leaves Top Rank and fightswith Mayweather as the promoter.
For Pacquiao's loyal legions, it's bad enough that Mayweather has seemingly wrapped up public consensus on who reigns asthe superior artist fistique.
Even worse Manny's followers these days, most subject matter relating to Pacquiao concerns his inevitable, and often already presumed, decline from the elite ranks of boxing's topperformers. While perspective is bound toget more positiveas the Rios promotion spins, it seems like Pacquiao's brand has lost market shares.
OutsidePacland, Alvarez has done an excellent job of replacing Pacquiao as a Mayweather rivalin the prevailing public eye of North Americanfans who, between Mexico and the States,generatemost pay per viewrevenue, thetype revenue of which superfights are made.
Understanding today's apparent need for eye-catching, though often misleading, website headlines, Pacquiao's fans still must wonder what's up whenprimary topics concerntrainer Fred Roachsuggesting Pacquiao will retire if Rios stops him.
If Rios stops him?!?! Maybe Roach can sell a fight with the best of them, but to evenmention that possibility seems a bit strange, candor aside. It may say a lot about where Pacquiao is in his own head these days, and about how his inner circle perceives him.
It seems clear Pacquiao needs toshake things upif he's to regain thetype status he once held. Not that he has to.
Pacquiao has already earned arare andcovetedexistenceamong thatmicroscopic percentage ofhumanity who experience life at the very top of our food chain. By most accounts,he's a very decent fellow, an admirablealpha-type who not only achieves greatness and riches, but who shares good fortuneto help peoplebeyond just family andfriends.
Pacquiaocould haveretiredyesterdaywith justifiedpride in well lived life. Still,one trait that makes exceptional people is the motivation in productivitylesser mortals can only gaze upon with wonder.
If Pacquiao wants tobow outat the very top, there are numerouspossible routes to that end,startingwiththeconventional wisdomof beating top contenders until there's nobody else left for Mayweather, oruntil a fightismandatory.
Fighting Rios is a decent move,an excellent promotionin terms of risk reward and getting back on track, but not so much in terms of prestige.Many people figure Rios isan obvious foilfor Pacquiao's style.
Anything short of a huge windoesn't regain anyground onMayweather. Pacquiao's work is cut out for him.
Pacquiao must also erase the debacle of his KO to Juan Manuel Marquez, who Roachsaid is Team Pacquiao's priority, but that isn't likely to happen soon, if ever, according to Marquez.
Since the Marquez blast out, Gennady Golovkin has probably seized himself a sizeable share of the mauling market, too. Even (gasp!) the heavyweights Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko are rated above Pacquiao by most rational observers.
Some key factors like promotional tangles or available opponents are out of Pacquiao's hands, but if he's as concerned with his place in history as previously professed, he better make some big moves pretty quickly or he could find it's too late. As ridiculous as that may have sounded two years ago, two years from now it could be a proven fact.
Mayweather's contests are superfights simply by his presence alone these days. It used to be that way for Pacquiao too, before Marquez and Timothy Bradley (whether you think Bradley won or not) harshly reaffirmed Pacquiao's status as a mere mortal.
We hereby offer a road map for Pacman's return to unsurpassed gloved-up glory. The following itinerary, in fights and lifestyle,couldvault Pacquiaoabove Mayweather's elitestatus.
First, Pacquiao should rebrand like the former "Pretty Boy" did and adapt a new trademark monikeralong the lines of"Money.”
Manny "Platinum" Pacquiao? Pacquiao could say things like "He was the Pretty Boy, I'm the Pretty Man,” but that could be a socio-political minefield.
He could, take a leave of his congressional duties, return toManila’s maze ofcockfights and betting parlors.Start going to strip clubs, making it rain. Along those trails, he would go by "The Rainman.”
On the other hand, if Pacquiao wanted to further embracea religious theme, he could step up his already reported substantial donations of time and funding. Assume the mantle"Pac-Manna" in homage to that biblical bread. It never hurts to get as many people praying foryou as possible.
If Pacquiao wanted to keep his efforts inside the strands, he could balloon up to heavyweight and call out a Klitschko. Call the fight "The Climb to Conquer the K2 Mountain" and fight in Switzerland, where the brothers have each performed recently.If that sounds too absurd, consider that not far back, David Tua wasn't completely of the running to meet Vitali. If Pacquiao stuffed 70 more pounds on his frame, he'd look something like Tua.
It could bethere's absolutely nothing Pacquiao can do to regaina reputation at Mayweather's level beside winning against himin the ring,so Pacquiao and his fanswill justhave to accept that.
Not so long ago, Mayweather was vehemently criticized for avoiding a Pacquiao showdown. Maybe Mayweatherwas simply being correct in demanding topbilling, compensation and control, and proclaiming himself the prime attraction.
These days, any concernsabout performance enhancement testing have certainly shown Mayweather was not playing paranoid abouthigh tech doping stipulations.
Maybe Pacquiao's time atboxing's summit was really just keeping the throne seatwarm for Mayweatherall along.
Or, maybe the following, nearimpossible scenario comes to fruitionandPacquiaois back underconsideration as the very best of all time.
First, Pacquiao has to KO Rios within three one-sided rounds, a la Gennady Golovkin, without getting hit in return.
Next, Pacquiao filmshis own toiletvideo, and dedicates it toAdrian Broner, dubbing him the "Potty Mouth.”
Then, he challenge Bronerto fight immediately, since Broner is probably improving as Pacquiao ages.Awin over Broner, more likely the sooner it happens,would putPacquiao backon Mayweather's playing field, and add promotional fodder if Pacquiao sufficiently silenced Mayweather's protege.
At that postfight press conference, challenge Golovkin, who is also improving and even more dangerous, to a catch weight fight at 152 pounds. Dub Golovkin "The Big Bluff" and announce the bluff is being called, atan exotic gambling site. If Golovkin takes the bait, Pacquiao could leverage himself into unexpected advantages, a la the concessions Sugar Ray Leonardbought, dirt cheap with hindsight,fromMarvin Hagler.Even a draw here could put Pacquaio ahead of Mayweather,by virtue of Pacquiao's prior achievements.
The sameformula for Golovkin goes for Sergio Martinez, except for Martinez the catch weight could be 155.
Finally, meet and defeat Andre Ward or Carl Frochat a catch weight of 160 for their belts, in their home towns. If Pacquiao pulled off a clean win against either, he'd not only move way up among the Hall of Fame's very best, he'd probably boost his chance at the Filipino presidency.
So, if Pacquiao wants to be consideredequal or even superior to Sugar Ray Robinson or Muhammad Alias the bestever, all he has to do is accomplish each of the previous far-fetched suggestions.
Even if Pacquiaoachieved the near impossible, there would be naysayers and nitwitsdenying his greatness. That's the nature of our beast.
How great Pacquiao is today,or can be tomorrow, isstill to be determined.
Whether he was great already is already apretty stupid question.