ONE of them is still doing it for the real, while the other continues to look for the painless path to riches.
This disparity, in terms of mindset, will likely mean Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao never meet for a repeat of their 2015 stinker and for this we should be grateful.
This year, Pacquiao, the WBA welterweight champion, has managed to thrash Keith Thurman and Adrien Broner, losing few rounds in the process, and is now back near the top of the 147lb division. There is talk of potential fights against fellow champions Terence Crawford and Errol Spence. He remains relevant at the ripe old age of 40.
Mayweather, meanwhile, has boxed only Andre Berto and Conor McGregor, a mixed martial artist, since facing Pacquiao in 2015. He has retired, un-retired and then re-retired and he was last seen stopping Tenshin Nasukawa, a Japanese kickboxer, inside a round on New Years Eve.
That was an ‘exhibition’ fight, so made no difference to either man’s record. Which is precisely why Mayweather hopes to secure a similar set-up against Pacquiao next year.
In a recent video, he suggested he was working on this kind of proposition and hoped, if Pacquiao agreed, they could do the ‘exhibition’ in Tokyo, the scene of Mayweather’s last charade.
Pacquiao, though, is having none of it.
He told Philstar: “Why an exhibition? Make it a real fight.”
Sean Gibbons, the president of his promotional company, added: “All nonsense, I have no idea what my brother Floyd is up to.
“Floyd is Floyd. He goes to the beat of his own drum.”
It’s funny how things work out. Mayweather, though victorious against Pacquiao four years ago, continues beating his own drum, while Pacquiao, the one left to lick his wounds, keeps making noise with his fists and racking up numbers to enhance his legacy. These days one talks about doing it and the other does it.
Just because Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev is next in line to face the winner of the December 7 rematch between Andy Ruiz Jnr and Anthony Joshua doesn’t mean he is neglecting the other heavyweights in the division.
In fact, the IBF number one-ranked heavyweight showed an interest in Tyson Fury’s fight against Otto Wallin on Saturday (September 14) in Las Vegas and says he now understands why the ‘Gypsy King’, the former world heavyweight champion, has turned down opportunities to fight him in the past.
“I watched the fight live. He (Fury) was nothing special. He was only one big mouth,” said Pulev to Helen Yee Sports. “He did nothing. The opponent, the guy was not so big level and it was his first big fight. Tyson Fury has a cut, but I don’t see nothing. Normally he has a KO, but this fight I don’t like.
“He all the time speak, speak, speak too much. And, he don’t respect about other boxers, you know? He don’t show nothing.
“I don’t see anything special or something really amazing or strong.
“Tyson Fury all the time has a big mouth, and then shows nothing. Tyson Fury is only one big mouth, that’s it. A couple of years ago, my manager (Kalle) Sauerland said, ‘Let’s fight with Pulev,’ and he says, ‘No.’ He was free, and he can fight with me, and he say, ‘No, don’t fight.’
“Maybe (he was) scared. I don’t know. You must ask him. I’m ready. I’m here. I have respect for any fighters and all fighters.”
Pulev, of course, already has one Fury on his record – Tyson’s cousin, Hughie. Pulev beat the younger Fury in October 2018 and has since then stopped Romanian Bogdan Dinu inside seven rounds and found himself in hot water for kissing a female reporter during a post-fight interview. The latter, as it turned out, was a far tougher fight than the first.
Still, despite an eventful few months, Pulev, 27-1 (14), remains in touching distance of a world title shot and has still only suffered one defeat in his 10-year professional career (and that came against the great Wladimir Klitschko in 2014). Though 38, he appears near enough to his prime to give the likes of Ruiz, Joshua and, yes, Fury a decent test in 2020.
“Now I’m the number one contender (with the IBF),” said Pulev. “In my next fight I must fight against the winner between Joshua and Ruiz. Now I’m the number one contender, why would I fight Tyson Fury?
“But I don’t have a problem. This fight will be in the future for sure.”
Usually, if you say something is destined to happen in boxing, this most unruly and unpredictable of sports, it ends up being the kiss of death. But best not to mention kisses – of death or of any kind – around Kubrat Pulev.