Last night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Manny Pacquiao proved beyond any shadow of a doubt that even on an off-night, he's way too good for the 39-year-old version of Shane Mosley. Pacquiao largely cruised to an easy decision win, even with complaints of his legs tightening up during the fight.
But that's the past now. The next fight for Pacquiao is what matters now. Most likely, it will be Juan Manuel Marquez. But -- and I don't mean to hammer this into the ground -- the only fight Manny can make that truly, truly matters is a fight with the inactive Floyd Mayweather Jr.
There's a question, though, and it's not, "Will Floyd duck Manny?"
The question is, "Does Pacquiao want to fight Floyd?"
Since the question had to be asked, Showtime's Jim Gray asked a post-fight Pacquiao if he wanted the Mayweather fight. Pacquiao responded, "For me, I don't care about that fight. I am satisfied with everything that I have done in boxing. I want to fight because the people want the fight.''
Manny Pacquiao says he doesn't care about that fight. Let that sink in and be 100% fair. Pacquiao has said countless times in his career that he fights for the people. That he wants to put on good fights for the people.
And now, although he's an international megastar and the biggest star in boxing by far, there's a problem with that claim. Because you can make a very reasonable argument that Pacquiao's last three fights have stunk.
The March 2010 fight with Joshua Clottey was a 12-round snoozer. Blame went to Clottey, who didn't fight. The November 2010 fight with Antonio Margarito drew a lot of criticism simply because Margarito is Margarito, the most controversial star in boxing and, at that point, a guy who hadn't won a significant fight in over two years. The fight was entertaining, but only in that Margarito was brave enough to get his face broken in a fight that really should have been stopped, but wasn't.
Last night, Pacquiao and Shane "Old Bones" Mosley put on another 12-round chore. Mosley didn't engage, averaging 21.7 punches thrown per round, landing a paltry 6.8 each three minutes. He twitched, he flicked a few jabs -- to his credit, he landed some good shots now and again, but far too few and between. Mosley fought like a clueless mediocrity, rather than someone with his reputation. Like Clottey, by the end of it all, he seemed content just to be making the money and trying to survive 12 full rounds with the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet.
Pacquiao vs Mayweather is all there is left. Like I said before, I'll watch anything Manny does. But Pacquiao vs Juan Manuel Marquez for a third time does not excite me. Pacquiao vs Miguel Cotto for a second time doesn't, either. And I'm a big fan of Pacquiao, Marquez and Cotto.
I long for a Manny Pacquiao fight that might actually surprise me beyond some fluke miracle or a sudden breakdown of Pacquiao's abilities. Outside of taking a ridiculous risk by fighting someone simply too big, nothing Manny can do carries any danger or excitement to me -- except Floyd Mayweather.
Manny Pacquiao says he does it for the fans. And I believe him. But if he doesn't understand that Pacquiao-Mayweather is 100% for the fans, and the only fight of his that many of us are genuinely intrigued by, then something's wrong with his perception.
I do know this: the 16,800 fans in the MGM Grand last night got sick of the farce sold to them, and they let the fighters hear it. How many more of those can you sell, with the same outcome, until more than loony diehard boxing fans (I mean that in the best way) start feeling like maybe they're being sold a B.S. fight by a bunch of carnies?
Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. better start wanting to fight each other before people stop caring what they do.