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Lowell Cohn: Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao bout would have come too late

  • In this combination of file photos, U.S. boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr., left, prepares to spar at a gym in east London on May 22, 2009, and Manny Pacquiao, right, of the Philippines, weighs in for the junior welterweight boxing match against British boxer Ricky Hatton, May 1, 2009, in Las Vegas. (AP Photos/Alastair Grant and Rick Bowmer, File)

Boxing promoter Bob Arum says Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. will fight each other in 2015. Arum may know what he’s talking about.

Fight fans have waited years for this fight. I have waited years for this fight. It should have happened in 2007. Maybe 2008. Mayweather and Pacquiao are the best fighters in the world. Who would win?

It’s a deep question. It’s a serious question. It’s an important question. But Mayweather is 37 and Pacquiao is 35, and this fight has a certain fish smell to it. Or is it milk gone sour?

In the old days, when boxing was a relevant sport — before UFC crushed it — eight champions ruled eight divisions. Simple as that. Each division had 10 ranked contenders. Simple as that. Fighters worked their way up the rankings toward a title shot. At least that was the theory.

Today, boxing does not have a theory. Boxing is a collection of big fights between big names. Mike Tyson’s later career was a big-fight career — not his fault. No one knows about rankings or even champions anymore. Name the heavyweight champion of the world? Where have you gone, Joe Louis?

Mayweather vs. Pacquiao is a big fight that is not a big fight. It is a ripoff fight because it is too late. And it’s all Mayweather’s fault.

I resist calling Mayweather a coward. Anyone who risks his neck in a ring is no coward. But, of all great fighters in the history of boxing, Mayweather comes closest to coward.

He could have fought Pacquiao at any time. Pacquiao was willing. But Mayweather created an obstacle. He wanted drug testing. He implied Pacquiao was taking performance-enhancing drugs.

I have no knowledge of Pacquiao’s pharmaceutical history. But I know boxing. The man who makes the conditions, the man who makes the excuses and creates the obstacles is the man who doesn’t want the fight.

That was Mayweather. Always has been Mayweather. Mayweather didn’t want the fight when it was a valid fight.

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