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Mayweather fears scrutiny if he beats Pacquiao

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Floyd Mayweather Jr. appears to know he has no choice but to fight Manny Pacquiao. (Photo by Will Hart, via <a href="http://www.hbo.com/boxing/img/events/2009/0919-mayweather-marquez/victory/760-315_09.jpg">www.hbo.com</a>)
Floyd Mayweather Jr. appears to know he has no choice but to fight Manny Pacquiao. (Photo by Will Hart, via www.hbo.com)

Floyd Mayweather Jr. appears ready to fight Manny Pacquiao to settle the pound-for-pound discussion in boxing. CNN talked with Mayweather, who seems far more concerned with everyone's potential reactions than he does with the idea of the fight actually happening. Hey, what do you know, Floyd's more concerned with his image than the fight!

"The thing is with Pacquaio I don't see any versatility as a fighter; he's a good puncher but just one-dimensional. The world's going to go 'wow' if Floyd Mayweather gets beaten. That's what everyone is looking to see."

Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s Greatest Hits

Track One: "Everyone Wants to See Me Lose"

Hey, Floyd: This is what you get when you purposely play villain. I'd like to believe that Mayweather still knows that and is continuing to play the role, but I don't think he is anymore. I think he's hurt by the fact that he gets so much flak. I think it genuinely bothers him. I always had the same feeling when Oscar would so desperately try to get the hardcore Mexican fanbase to love him. He needed to be accepted there, and he just never was. Floyd made a lot of money being Bad Guy Money Mayweather, but now he sees this phenom Manny Pacquiao, and he wants that level of appreciation, respect and love. He probably wonders why he doesn't have it. It's no secret why he doesn't have it. The two of them really couldn't be much more different.

(Bonus Track: "I don't see any versatility as a fighter," from the man that fought the much lesser-regarded Ricky Hatton, as one dimensional a top fighter as there's been in a long time.)

"If I beat Manny Pacquaio do you know what they are going to say?"

Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s Greatest Hits

Track Two: "Things People Will Say About Me (People Are Mean to Me)"

"'You are supposed to beat him, you are Floyd Mayweather, you are the bigger man'. If I knock him out they'll say 'you're supposed to knock him out he's been knocked out before'."

Floyd. Floyd. Floyd. Seriously, Floyd. No one's going to point out Pacquiao's knockout losses to Rustico Torrecampo and Medgoen Singsurat. They were a boxing lifetime ago. Manny Pacquiao is not that fighter anymore. But of course, to you, losses are the most important and horrifying thing ever. You don't have any! Greatest of all time, man!

In fact, forget this Pacquiao joker and his three losses. Just fight Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. -- you'd even have to move up in weight for that one! That'd take cojones. He's never lost. Chavez > Pacquiao. Hey, Hatton still has less losses than Manny. Fight Hatton again! I think Baldomir is still fighting. Get him for a rematch! Last two proper welterweight champions square off again! I mean, I know he has lots of losses, but that didn't stop you before, did it?

"I'm in a no-win situation..."

Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s Greatest Hits

Track Three: "I Just Can't Win"

"...and when I beat him no one is going to be surprised because he's been beaten before; whatever I do to Pacquaio has been done before - he's been beaten on three occasions. And if I knock him out I don't want the world shouting because he's been knocked out twice before."

Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s Greatest HIts

Track Four: "Don't Focus On This One Thing I Keep Talking About"

Floyd, I assure you, if you knock out Manny Pacquiao, no one is going to say, "Oh well, Pacquiao got knocked out in 1996 and 1999, so in 2010, we should've really seen it coming."

Mayweather sounds like a child being forced to do something because punishment will be forthcoming should he not. "Fine, mom, I'll take out the trash, but then you're just going to say, 'Hey, clean your bedroom!' When am I gonna get a break around here?!"

And for the Alliance of Boxing Fans Who Need to Protect Floyd Mayweather, let's just get it all out of the way first: I'm a hater, I only want to see him lose, I'll be so happy if he loses, I'm a hater, I'm a hater, I'm a hater. We've heard it all before.

Boxing fans have spent 15 solid years or so bitching about boxing not being what it used to be. Record-protecting stars like Mayweather are a big reason that's the case. So which is it? Does Floyd have nothing left to prove and should we all accept his mediocre opponent selection because he's so talented and rich and the rest of us must be jealous, or do you want to see the biggest and most important fight in at least two decades?

Mayweather's act is tired. He has to take this fight. If he wins -- and as I've said already, I think these are the only two fighters that can beat each other -- then heap the praise. I know I will. What Mayweather and some of his quick-to-defend fans fail to accept is that we all want to cherish Floyd in his active career, or at least I think most of us do. He's an amazing athlete and like Pacquiao, does things no one else in boxing can do. They've got different skill sets, and both of them are the peak of those skills. But Pacquiao has gone out and taken challenge after challenge after challenge, and has fought his way into the hearts and minds of not just his home country, but boxing fans all over the world. Pacquiao has helped boxing grow, a throwback who came from nowhere to become one of the biggest stars in sports. Mayweather is also a huge star, but he has been protecting his "0" like a mama bear for years now.

There's nothing about Mayweather in the ring I dislike. I think he's a joy to watch perform. He's so talented. But against who anymore? You know why Floyd thinks he always hears, "Well you should have won, so what's next?" Because since the Castillo rematch in 2002, every fight he's taken has been a no-brainer, except maybe Oscar since he moved up so high in weight. Mayweather-Judah was going to be a really interesting fight, until Judah crumbled three months beforehand against Carlos Baldomir of all the damn people.

There has been no one on his record that people thought could really beat him. You might say, "Well, that's because he's so good," and yes, he is so good, but that's not the whole reason. A big part of it has been the fact that he took on the likes of Henry Bruseles and Arturo Gatti, Sharmba Mitchell and the deadly slow Baldomir. There were better challenges out there. They didn't happen. And it wasn't just one thing that didn't happen, it has been several. There's a pattern. What's the constant? It's Floyd.

All that aside, I think we're going to see Mayweather-Pacquiao, and that's what's really important. In some ways, I think the backlash over the Marquez "fight" has made it inevitable. Even if Floyd WANTED to avoid Manny (and I don't know if he does or not), he can't now. If Juan Manuel Marquez was good enough to be an opponent for Mayweather, there's no excuse for him not fighting Manny Pacquiao, who will get him paid more money no matter what the split is, and has proven to be a top fighter up through the welterweight class.