#PacNelo Is Coming

“Boxing is a business” is the phrase fighters, promoters, managers, and even fight fans use to justify about 85% of the matches that we get to see on TV nowadays–incidentally, that’s also the approximate percentage of fights that are either blatant mismatches, a bore to watch, or showcases for coddled up-and-comers. It’s also a phrase that is used to explain about 100% of the fights that fans want to see and don’t get made.

Why did Canelo Alvarez chose Amir Khan over Gennady Golovkin for his first middleweight title defense? Because boxing is a business. Why did Nicholas Walters refuse a high six-figure payday to face Vasyl Lomachenko? Because boxing is a business. Why won’t Adonis Stevenson and Sergey Kovalev ever trade punches in a sanctioned bout? Because boxing is a business. Why do talented fighters like Mikey Garcia, Andre Ward, and Guillermo Rigondeaux, among many others, go through long periods of inactivity without any ring appearances at all? Because–all together now!–BOXING IS A BUSINESS!

Alas, “boxing is a business” might also become the reason why Manny Pacquiao–supposedly about to embrace retirement following a revitalizing win over Timothy Bradley last weekend–ends up lacing them up again, and sooner than we anticipate. After his redeeming performance on Saturday night, which partially made up for last year’s #MayPac fiasco, many would like to see the Pacman continue fighting. In that category you can count his promoter, Bob Arum, as well as his beloved trainer, Freddie Roach.

Pacquiao looked revitalized against Tim Bradley
Pacquiao looked impressive against Tim Bradley.

When asked about it in the ring immediately following the reading of the scorecards, Pacquiao confirmed he will step away from boxing because that’s what he promised his family he would do. Then he repeated this same statement in the post-fight press conference. But not only did Pacquiao sound less than convincing on both occasions, there’s also the fact it’s hard to believe someone who stands to profit so handsomely from fighting — and someone who spends so liberally when he’s not training for a fight — won’t be tempted back into the ring. This is especially so if really big fights are just a signature away.

One such fight would be against Mexican star Canelo Alvarez, whose sole criteria for climbing into the ring these days include: 1) that his opponent’s name doesn’t rhyme with pumpkin, and 2) that the agreed weight limit is set somewhere between 154 and 159 pounds. Sure, #PacNelo wouldn’t be an easy fight to make, but it’s definitely within the realm of plausibility. The main obstacle is the size differential between the Filipino and the Mexican, but this wouldn’t be the first time Manny Pacquiao moves up in weight significantly for a fight. The Dream Match against Oscar De La Hoya saw him move from lightweight to welterweight to earn a shocking stoppage. His engagement against Antonio Margarito was signed at a catchweight of 150 pounds, and on fight night the Mexican outweighed him by 17 pounds. Pacquiao still beat the bejesus out of him.

Freddie Roach has said it would be necessary to cap Alvarez’ rehydration weight to manage his obvious advantage. But there’s reason to believe an agreement can be reached on this point. It’s true Canelo has been adamant in dictating terms for his recent bouts, especially when it comes to weight, but the fact the Mexican is running out of recognizable opponents not named Golovkin may force his hand into accepting a rehydration cap against Manny, particularly if he’s interested in maximizing his revenue and exposure before taking on a risky fight with the Kazakh.

Some point out that Canelo has no choice but to face Golovkin after he dispatches Amir Khan on May 7, mainly because the World Boxing Council ruled that should he not do so, he will be stripped of his title belt. But if a fight between two huge stars in Canelo and Pacquiao is finalized, it’s hard not to envision the WBC twisting intself into a pretzel to accommodate it, even more so considering the huge amount of money the match would generate (a portion of which would, conveniently, end up in WBC coffers).

Canelo will need a big name if he wants to keep avoiding GGG
After Khan, Canelo needs a bigger name to keep avoiding GGG

To recap: a fight with Manny would not only allow Canelo to garner tremendous exposure, it would also net him a truckload of money. Additionally, it would also represent a winnable fight against a modern legend, one whose name would look fantastic on the Mexican’s Boxrec page. That Pacquiao also happens to wear a significantly smaller shoe size is just a fringe benefit. If that weren’t enough, the icing on the cake is that short of Mayweather coming back from retirement to grant Canelo a rematch, Pacquiao is the biggest fight the Mexican could take while keeping GGG in the backburner until next year–something which has almost certainly been Oscar De La Hoya’s plan all along. Moreover, fighting and defeating Pacquiao would boost Canelo’s appeal and earnings potential, thus increasing his leverage at the negotiating table when the time comes to do business with Golovkin. At that point, Canelo’s undisputed status as the sport’s cash cow would perhaps overwhelm the Kazakh’s aversion to catchweights. On the other hand, a potential Canelo loss to Pacquiao could be easily pinned on the catchweight and weight cap. Problem solved.

If Canelo fights Pacquiao, Golovkin may miss out on his shot at the Mexican for good
If Canelo fights Pacquiao, Golovkin may miss out on his shot at the Mexican for good

For Pacquiao, the incentives are different. First, a megafight with Canelo would provide Manny with another huge pile of cash, something he burns through with alarming speed as he seeks to augment his political standing in the Philippines. Plus, by fighting Canelo, the amazing Filipino would be aiming for an incredible sixth lineal title, and should he somehow become the middleweight king, Manny’s legacy would hold something significant over Mayweather’s, his loss to Floyd notwithstanding. This matters because all the attention and accolades that would befall Manny in light of such a historic feat might be enough to stoke Floyd’s jealousy and competitive fire so that he feels he has no option but to get back in the ring.

And before you dismiss this train of thought as too far-fetched, just remember the driving force behind Mayweather’s career in his latter days: be the center of attention at all times, at all cost. Also, don’t forget Floyd Mayweather himself already set a precedent to the above scenario back in 2009, when he cut short his retirement in the wake of Manny’s stoppage of De La Hoya. He would surely be willing to come back to boxing for a tremendously lucrative rematch against a guy he already easily defeated.

Would a victory over Canelo earn the Pacman a rematch against Floyd?
Would a victory over Canelo earn the Pacman a rematch against Floyd?

Ever since losing to Mayweather last year, Manny and his team have voiced over and over their desire for a second go-around with Floyd; a fight with Canelo could be the Pacman’s golden ticket to it. Pacquiao would lose very little in defeat to Canelo, a much bigger and stronger opponent, whom he would face in the twilight of his career. But were the Pacman to beat Canelo in the same way he beat Margarito or even Bradley last Saturday, the drums would surely beat louder for MayPac 2 than at any point since May of last year. The stage would thus be set for a rematch to the most lucrative prizefight in history. Unlikely? Sure. Impossible? Not by any stretch. When “The Theater of the Unexpected” has been replaced by “Boxing is a Business”, the only certainty we can count on is the commanding allure of the almighty dollar. If recent history is anything to go by, no one is beholden to that allure as much as the sport’s brightest luminaries.

–Rafael Garcia

8 thoughts on “#PacNelo Is Coming

  • April 15, 2016 at 5:43 pm
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    Is this article about Canelo vs khan, Canelo vs Pacman or about how much Garcia wants to blow an overrated Ggg? My goodness show Canelo some respect, he has fought real world champs and many of them. GGG has yet to prove him self in a big fight and has been ducking Ward for years!!

    Reply
    • April 15, 2016 at 6:20 pm
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      Hi there Mr. Cranky Pants,

      Thanks for reading my article.

      To address your first concern, the article’s about a potential Canelo vs Pacquiao fight. Not your fault you didn’t get that, being that it was indicated in the title and all. Totally my bad.

      To address your second concern, if suggesting how and why taking a Pacquiao fight to make a shit ton of money qualifies as “disrespecting” Canelo, then I guess that’s what I did.

      Finally, can you do me a favor and explain how Khan proved himself to earn a shot at Canelo, but GGG didn’t? Because this one’s going to keep me up at night.

      Again, thanks for reading.

      Sincerely,

      Blowhard Garcia

      Reply
      • April 16, 2016 at 12:22 am
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        Thanks for telling it like it is. I WAS a Canelo fan, I cannot stand him and DLH any longer, doing what it so obvious, and hiding behind the lies just to gain an advantage and more money, this is a special kind of greed. They will never get my money again, last PPV I paid was Canelo vs Floyd, not doing it any longer. I hope GGG gets to fight this fraud once and for all and stop all this greed.

        Reply
  • April 15, 2016 at 9:15 pm
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    I would pay to see Pacnelo!

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  • April 15, 2016 at 11:14 pm
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    Sure why not? Anything to avoid having to fight GGG.

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  • April 17, 2016 at 5:36 pm
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    GGG has not been ducking Ward for years, as one commenter said.

    I also don’t think the WBC will let Canelo slide on the title to fight PAC. They have a written contract with k2 and Golovkin, and the WBC has been sued in the past, they could open themselves up to another huge lawsuit and bad PR.

    However, I do think Canelo will vacate the title and look for easier fights.

    I’m not sure PAC/Canelo doesn’t better than Canelo/GGG, so if money is the sole gain, it would be silly. The reason I say this is because fans seem to be growing sick of Canelo and GBP fast.

    Canelo has been fighting guys that are smaller or inactive and he always has some kind of advantage. GGG should never bend to him. He should force the WBC to either show its true colors, which will delegitimize them, or force Canelo to fight.

    If Canelo vacates, his standing in the sport will slowly sink, it’s happened before.

    While GGG will continue to gain a following. Hell he just picked up Jordan, he is bound to get decent fights soon with or without Canelo.

    GGG should do a press conference and call Canelo what he is, a coward aiming at fighting blown up 140 pounders.

    Reply
    • April 18, 2016 at 12:22 pm
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      Good points, Tim.

      Can’t really accuse someone of ducking a fighter who a couple of years ago campaigned one division above, and now does so two full divisions above.

      The beef so many have with Canelo right now is the same they had with Cotto last year. Canelo claims to not be a middleweight, but nevertheless keeps hogging the lineal title along with the WBC belt. That’s just acting in bad faith, and in no way corresponds to the definition of a “champion”. He can fight at whatever weight he pleases, but a title is supposed to impose certain obligations on the titleholder. Canelo is not even trying to comply with those obligations. If he’s not a “real” middleweight, then please vacate and let real middleweights get their shot.
      The only interesting question surrounding Canelo right now is not whether he’ll fight Golovkin in the second half of the year (he won’t), but whether the WBC will actually strip him. It would be a ballsy move considering how popular Canelo is, and how much money the WBC stands to lose if they push him away.
      I believe Canelo vs Pac would make more money than Canelo vs GGG just based on the fact Pacquiao remains a much more popular name than GGG. However, now that I think about it, Canelo could probably get away with asking for the lion’s share vs GGG, but not vs the Pacman. This could alter his potential payoffs significantly.

      Reply
      • May 2, 2016 at 5:17 am
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        Thanks for the comment. Few writers engage their readers, I like that. I’ve written boxing articles a few times, and I too will engage. I’m a trained journalist, just finished grad school and I’m thinking of writing again. This site is great, because you seem to let people engage the reader. That’s is the way it should be.

        As for your comment, I agree with most, except the PAC v Canelo numbers.

        PACS last fight did horrible. And Canelo and Cotto did reasonably well, but didn’t break a Million. I don’t think PAC v. Canelo breaks it either, because it’s a mismatch. Plus, PACS comments in the media turned many people off him. With the Mayweather blunder, I’m not so sure Manny is the same draw he used to be. He’s hardly discussed anymore. GGG, well, you hear his name all the time.

        But then again, I also don’t think it will happen. Canelo would have to come down in weight and PAC would want a rehydration limit.

        As for Canelo v. GGG, I think it’s the biggest fight that can be made. GGG has a large fan base, but they were not willing to pay for Lemiuex when it was a mismatch. Canelo on the other hand will be a fight that brings people. Also, both fighters have major endorsements now. And the media will hype the fight like no other.

        Reply

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