On Nov. 6, Smokin’ Joe Frazier, one of the greatest heavyweights of all time, passed away after a battle with liver cancer.
Frazier will always be known for the three epic battles he had with Muhammad Ali. Smokin’ Joe handed Ali is first professional loss on March 8, 1971, a fight which was dubbed the “Fight of the Century.” Frazier didn’t stop there. He entered the ring with Ali two more times, including the “Thrilla in Manila” in 1975. Ali won the last two bouts of their epic trilogy.
To put it simply, Joe Frazier was never afraid of the big fight.
That’s why it’s sad to see that the biggest fight in today’s boxing, a fight between the pound-for-pound best boxer Manny Pacquiao and undefeated Floyd Mayweather, has yet to happen.
They flirt with the idea, but never seal the deal.
Mayweather booked the MGM Grand for May 5th with hopes of taking on Pacquiao. Personally, I think it was all a ploy to take Pac-Man’s focus off his upcoming opponent, Juan Manuel Marquez.
When Pacquiao won his third, yet another controversial decision to Marquez, it would have hopefully put an end to their relationship in the ring and let Pacquiao move on to Floyd. But Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum, now wants a rematch with Marquez for May 2012, further pushing off any discussion of a tremendous fight.
As Mayweather and Pacquiao continue to avoid an iconic showdown, not to mention an enormous payday, it seems this will never happen, which would hurt both in the end.
To have two of the best in boxing never meet in the ring would be a real tragedy. No matter how good Mayweather and Pacquiao’s careers look when they hang up the gloves, both will never be complete without at least one 12-round clash.
For instance, Mayweather always boasts that he is the best because he has never used performance-enhancing substances and has maintained a perfect 42-0 record. But that perfect record means nothing without that fight with Pacquiao. I would have more respect for him if he called it quits with a 42-1 record, if that one loss came to Pacquiao, rather than him getting a 43-0 record beating up on guys below him.
After all this time of Floyd seeming to dodge the fight, now Pacquiao seems to be the one.
Pacquiao’s career is coming to a close sooner than most people think. He is a Congressman in the Philippines and is passionate about that work. It’s only time until he dives fully into politics.
Right now, Pacquiao is looking for a fourth fight with Marquez, which might not happen because Marquez is contemplating retirement. That may be the only hope for a Cinco de Mayo main event between the sport’s best. This better happen fast, because reports are now surfacing that Amir Khan may take the May 5th fight with Mayweather, further delaying what is sure to be a memorable night.
I just hope it happens once.
Terrence Payne may be reached at email@example.com