It is a fight that has been talked about over the last 5 or 6 years.
It almost came close only to vanish in thin air.
As the years went by, prospects of it happening also waned.
But things now appear to be shaping up for what could be the biggest fight – money-wise – in all history of individual sports.
An insider intimated that the Floyd Mayweather Jr-Manny Pacquiao could happen in the fall next year – November.
And it will likely happen at the Madison Square Garden or the 45,000-seat Yankee Stadium in New York – the old Mecca of boxing – where boxing greats are made and unmade.
Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Robinbson, Henry Armstrong, Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran, Marvin Hagler and even our very own Gabriel ‘Flash’ Elorde all appeared in the best and historic boxing arena ever in the US.
And Rocky Marciano – the guy whose 49-0 professional Mayweather is trying to break – was a favorite of New York although he came from Boston, Massachusetts.
If it happens, and is likely to be announced soon, the fight could potentially break all-time record purses as well as pay-per-view buys and gate receipts.
So what made or will make both Mayweather and Pacquiao agree to a possibly US$1-billion boxing blockbuster hit?
For one, it is the most compelling fight that can equal, if not surpass, all great boxing rivalries. No, make that all other fights.
Second, the two have run out of competition. Competitive competition, that is.
Third, it is the biggest money there is out there to make for both of them. And, for that matter, all the rest of sports history in a single event.
Fourth, for the sheer economics of it aside from the individual purses. Over the last 2 years, both fighters have seen their marketability slide over their failure to face each other. Their PPV numbers are down and the PPV carriers, including two of the biggest Cable TV producers, can no longer continue to guarantee their purses without recouping their expenses.
Fifth, time is running out and Father Time is catching up with both fighters. But although they are both past their peak, they still have the competitive juices to make a memorable and unforgettable fight.
Sixth, and the most important, the boxing fans all over the world are still clamoring for it.
And seventh, I need to watch that fight.
Yes, mark that event in your calendar because once it happens, it may never come again.
Even if they fight a couple of more after their first date next year, those rematches could no longer eclipse the drama, excitement and compelling story of a rivalry-that-never-was but is now shaping into a fight that is never-too-late-to-happen that will come in November.
Last night, I received a text from a lawyer-friend telling me to make the necessary hotel arrangements again in the Big Apple!
Two significant events will happen on November 23.
It will be D-day for 8-division boxing champion Manny Pacquiao as he tries to re-stock himself for a possible clash with Floyd Mayweather Jr in his last few remaining fights.
Pacquiao returns to the scene where he picked up the pieces after his shock defeat to nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez.
Fighting in Macau for the second time in as many years, Pacquiao will be a heavy favorite against the New Yorker with Argentinian roots Chis Algieri.
As in the past, all media attention will again be focused on him. Pacquiao, over the last decade, has become a great equalizer when in comes to television viewing – at least for those who cannot afford to pay live cable TV feed. Regardless, he becomes a unifying figure when he fights for his own glory – and country.
One only wishes coverage over his fight will not drown the one inglorious crime in all history of journalism in the world.
On the same day five years ago and practically the same hour he fights Algieri in Macau, some 32 members of the local media here in Region 12 and 26 others were wailing, crying and begging for their lives.
Their cries were forever muted – silenced – with a prolonged staccato of automatic fire.
At least 14 of those journalists had covered Pacquiao.
They were victims of the Ampatuans whose patriarch, Andal Ampatuan Sr, Pacquiao used to play ‘mahjong’ with when the Filipino boxing icon was still a confessed high roller.
That blood-soaked date in Philippine history – November 23 – came days after Pacquiao recorded his last knockout victory against Miguel Cotto.
Pacquiao paid visit to the wake of the General Santos City-based journalists and media workers who lost their lives and console with their families when he returned triumphantly. He also handed out cash assistance even if some of the victims were sympathetic to the other camp in local politics. By that time, Pacquiao had already filed his certificate of candidacy. He was then running for a seat in the Philippine House of Representative.
A lot has changed since then. Pacquiao is now a congressman, albeit almost part time only. He is well on his way to further political heights and could one day become senator.
But there are things that have not changed.
Among them, justice continues to elude the victims of the Ampatuan massacre.
On the day the whole nation watches him as journalist pay homage to their departed colleagues, will Pacquiao pay the victims of his former ally and friend tribute and dedicate his fight for them?
Pacquiao has confessed he is a changed man. Will that extend to the way he dedicates his fight?
After all, the media and the press have also greatly created the image he is now cultivating for himself.
Somebody said the presidency is about the kid from the squatter taking on the oligarchs.
Huh! Nothing is farthest from the truth.
One guy is no longer a squatter. He now belongs to the same elite class. Just because you are born poor does not mean you cannot transcend your class origin. Your current class will not always be the same as your class origin.
This is all about resolving contradiction among the ruling elite which, under the present Philippine setting, they do through elections.
Except on three occasions.
When political power was snagged and snatched away from the people in the 1896 Philippine revolution when the Magdalo group of Aguinaldo assassinated Andres Bonifacio and in 1986 EDSA Revolt when again another faction of the elite seized power. It was repeated in 2001 with yet another popular uprising that unseated Estrada. Sadly, it ended with the same result.
In all three occasions, it was the protest movement that galvanized popular support.
Unfortunately, never have the people seized actual political power – in elections or otherwise.
In an election when the poor have no choice, it is all about character.
And in the current issue that tests the character of that man, he is being unmasked and exposed of his true self.
Confessed presidential candidate Jejomar Binay has never been put under close public scrutiny as he is now, with just 20 months before the 2016 presidential elections.
Either he never saw it coming or his convenient silence got the better of him when his allies were under fire and got embroiled in the biggest corruption scandal to hit Philippine Congress – the PDAF and DAP issues .
With Senator Jinggoy Estrada effectively gagged and many other allies facing plunder charges for their involvement in the Janet Napoles scandal, Binay is now left alone to ward off accusation of corruption leveled against him.
How Binay would now have wished those PDAF and DAP issues did not spill over him.
As things are now playing out their way, Binay should have anticipated he was also a target all along with the bullseye right on his chest.
The PDAF and DAP issues would have been excellent opportunities for Binay to break ties with the Aquino government and launch the perfect platforms for his presidential bid.
But because many of those who were dragged into the corruption mess were his party mates and potential allies in the 2016 presidential race, Binay went slow.
One wonders if his deafening silence when his allies were under siege was a calculated ploy to hide his own skeletons.
Binay is hurting. And it is hurting most his presidential ambitions.
It began with simple overpricing of several buildings in Makati where he and his family have reigned supreme since 1986.
Then it spiraled into a humongous monster that is threatening to pull him down.
While it has not yet been proven that he owns vast tracks of lands in Rosario, Cavite, public perception is that Binay has accumulated – amass – wealth that he successfully hid until the Senate blue ribbon sub-committee began unearthing them.
His adamant refusal to appear before the committee to give his side over the controversial Hacienda Binay and Makati building issues is not helping him either.
As the Senate investigation wears along, Binay is dangerously treading the path of political perdition.
With the exception of Joseph Estrada, no early presidential aspirant who has been leading in surveys a year before the election since the EDSA Revolt of 1986 ever made it to Malacañang.
Binay and Estrada almost have parallel political careers and both ended up facing corruption scandals. The difference is that Estrada was already a sitting president while Binay is still trying to claim that seat.
But nobody who has been accused of the magnitude of corruption Binay is facing ever made it to the presidency. Binay, in fact, is the first presidential aspirant to hold the distinction of a presidential contender accused with such massive corruption issue.
New Yorker Chris Algieri will be a longshot when he goes up against perennial fan-favorite Manny Pacquiao.
Despite being undefeated, Algieri will be heavy underdog against the ‘older’ 35-year old Pacquiao who will be defending his World Boxing Organization welterweight title.
Many boxing analysts say the 30-year might just have enough ring intelligence to offset Pacquiao’s overall ringmanship. And if he uses his decided height advantage, he could inflict Pacquiao another decisively, if not close, loss.
And he might have the tool to do a Morales déjà vu when the Mexican outfought, out-punched and outwitted Pacquiao to score a unanimous decision in their first fight in 2005.
Watching Algieri keeps his opponents at bay with his left jobs reminded me of Morales. He matches it with an above average footwork and the ability to adjust to the situation – round per round.
His main weaknesses are in the power department and relative inexperience. Algieri has only fought 20 times and although he has yet to suffer a loss, he only has stopped 8 of his opponents.
Not an impressive record when you are facing arguably the best ‘small welterweight’ in the planet today.
Until he carelessly got caught by the Hail Mary punch of nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez, Pacquiao ran a string of 21 incredible fights without being sent to the canvass – and those fights are against the heaviest punchers in their respective divisions. That fact does not bode well for Algieri.
Pacquiao also does very well against taller opponents. Ask Oscar de la Hoya and Antonio Margarito who are as tall if not taller than the 5’10” Algieri. Those two are also heavy punchers although not as quick as Algieri. That fact does not augur well against Algieri.
Pacquiao has also long ago solved the Morales jab puzzle when he twice demolished the Mexican in their rematches en route to TKO victories. His main weapon may not be enough to pull an upset. That should worry Algieri.
Algieri may be quick, but not as quick as Timothy Bradley and Shane Mosley to be able to run away from and frustrate Pacquiao. Algieri has kissed the canvass before – against Ruslan Provodnikov, a Pacquiao sparring partner. It could be a short trip to dreamland for Algieri.
Pacquiao, whose last stoppage win was against Miguel Cotto exactly 5 years to this month, may be ripe for another knockout win.