Not only did Floyd Mayweather satisfy the boxing world by finally agreeing to fight Manny Pacquiao, but he also answered many of his vocal critics. For years, there have been those who’ve said the overriding reason Mayweather hasn’t signed on to the bout is because he’s afraid of Pacquiao.
Mayweather has not been shy about calling himself "The Best Ever," touting an undefeated record. Few of his opponents have offered him much of a challenge, and Pacquiao is likely the biggest threat to his winning streak. During the recent round of negotiations, Top Rank CEO and Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum referenced Mayweather’s record as a reason why the mega-fight had never happened.
"He doesn't want to fight southpaws," Arum told The Denver Post. "The worst possible opponent for him is Pacquiao.
"He's afraid to lose."
Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, has a lot of confidence in his fighter, predicting that PacMan will knock down Mayweather on May 2. Just days before Pacquiao beat Chris Algieri in November, Roach indicated that Mayweather never took the fight because he was fearful of Pacquiao.
“He’s scared of us now, and he’ll be even more scared of us after we destroy this guy Algieri,” Roach said at a press conference. “So Mayweather needs to show some balls and step up to the plate.”
It isn’t just those in Pacquiao’s camp that have said Mayweather is afraid the Filipino icon will hand him his first-ever loss. Rapper 50 Cent used to consider Mayweather his best friend, before the two had a falling out. Shortly before the fight became official, the entertainer echoed the sentiments of Arum and Roach.
â€” Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) February 9, 2015
It’s certainly possible that Mayweather has been nervous that Pacquiao will be the man that finally beats him. Pacquiao had been pushing to make the fight happen for years, while Mayweather continued to offer up different reasons why the two couldn’t come to terms on a deal. In the weeks leading up to Mayweather’s announcement that he would take on Pacquiao in his next fight, multiple reports said it was up to the undefeated boxer to make the bout official.
But despite evidence that Mayweather had been dodging Pacquiao, the 37-year-old has had some legitimate reasons to postpone a potential bout. When the fight was almost made for the first time in 2009, Pacquiao refused to undergo drug testing done by the United States Anti-Doping Agency. Mayweather is also the bigger PPV draw, and the two sides previously had difficulty agreeing on a split of the purse.
Arum’s presence also has been a major reason why the fight took over five years to finally get done. Mayweather had refused to do business with his former promoter, and even when the contract was finally signed, Arum sill created issues. Top Rank leaked the announcement, even though the agreement reportedly stated that Mayweather would announce the deal.
On May 2 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, all of the talk will finally end when the two boxers meet in the ring. While Pacquiao might prove to be Mayweather’s toughest opponent in years, the champ is favored to remain unbeaten.