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End Game

How Floyd Mayweather’s presence looms over Pacquiao/Broner

By John Zemel   - @intuboxing

This Saturday night features a match up that would be any promoter’s dream. On one side you have boxing’s bad boy, Adrien “About Billions” Broner, a 4-time world champion with no shyness for trash talk or headline making controversy. He’s a top ten draw in the sport, based on both numbers as well as name recognition. Across the ring from him is a man who needs no introduction.  Manny Pacquiao is an icon in boxing, an all time great whose resume is too long and well known to list in an article of this length. He is a true living legend who is at the tail end of his career,  making every last opportunity to see him live all the more precious. Two of the biggest draws in boxing fighting for pride, legacy, and something else. No, it’s not the WBA Regular welterweight championship belt, though that is technically what’s at stake. There is something at the end of tunnel for these men, something more valuable than almost anything in boxing: a Floyd Mayweather matchup.

Floyd “Money” Mayweather is the opponent every fighter hopes to have a chance to fight one day, but he means even more for these two. Even years into retirement, he remains the biggest draw in the sport. He owns six spots on the list of top ten gates in boxing history and had four of the five biggest selling PPV events ever. He would be considered the number one adversary on every fighter’s lists from potential earnings alone, but he has a special history with these two men. Adrien Broner always looked up to him and has been quoted as calling Floyd his “big bro.” He is famously the only fighter to whom Mayweather ever took on the role of mentor, and they had a unique relationship until their eventual falling out that spilled onto the internet in the form of twitter disses. Manny Pacquiao has an even more extensive and well documented history with the man they call “Money” that could be its own book, let alone its own article. To sum it up in one sentence they are the two greatest and most popular boxers of their era and their fight against each other still stands as the highest grossing boxing match of all time, generating upwards of $600 million.

Mayweather may not be at the arena in person this Saturday, but you better believe that his presence will be felt. Just ask Pacquiao’s longtime trainer, Freddie Roach, who told BoxingScene.com, “I’m sure Mayweather will wanna fight the winner of this fight. That’s why we definitely have to win this fight.” As the inaugural guest on Fox’s “Inside PBC Boxing,” Manny Pacquiao was asked more questions about Mayweather than his actual opponent on Saturday. In regards to a potential rematch, he said “I want the rematch because I never thought that I lost that fight. I mean, I always think that I won that fight. To have a rematch is to answer those questions in our mind.”

Whether inside the ring or out, to be Floyd Mayweather is to always be a step ahead. If anyone thought it was a coincidence when he and Manny met up at a Clippers game last week, I wonder if they thought the same the last time the two men met at a basketball game. It was in 2015, in Miami, and later that year they finally had their long anticipated matchup. Every moment is an opportunity for promotion if you’re Floyd Mayweather, and this was no different. 

This weekend presents an opportunity for two future hall-of-famers to strengthen what are already memorable legacies. However, the most important figure in this fight won’t be between the ropes. Pacquiao told the New York Times last week “That’s the thinking in my mind and my heart - that there will be another [Mayweather] fight.” He’ll have to get past another man fighting for the same opportunity.