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Manny Pacquiao

Now that the Fight of the Century of the Decade of the Year has been called off, thanks to bickering over drug tests, both Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather have been taking verbal shots at each other. I guess that’s better than nothing, right?

Actually, no, it’s not. While these two millionaires gripe at each other from behind their respective managers and handlers, we, the fight fans, are the ones truly being cheated. Thanks to a definitive lack of true heavyweight star power, Mayweather/Pacquiao represents the one event that will bring hardcore sweet science fans and the everyday gawker who loves being apart of a sporting event spectacle. Now that both camps have effectively torpedoed the only fight that has such crossover appeal, the two fighters are moving on — but not before dropping a few more insults at each other.

First was Mayweather, who blamed Pacquiao for the fight not being made, offered this:

In a brutal statement, Mayweather states, “First and foremost, not only do I want to fight Manny Pacquiao, I want to whip his punk ass.”

Pacquiao, of course, couldn’t take such jabs without a counter punch of his own, which he offered during the first press event to promote his fight against Joshua Clottey, which takes place in the football mall/church built by Jerry Jones.

“[Mayweather] didn’t want to fight me,” Pacquiao said, shrugging his shoulders. “I think maybe Mayweather is scared to lose.”

While these back and forths make for entertaining reading, they pale in comparison to the build-up of a fight of this magnitude. While both fighters will undoubtedly make incredible paydays for their next fight, the fact they are still “ducking” each other hurts the fans and the sport itself.

In an age where a mega-fight like Pacquiao/Mayweather could very well put the sport back in the same spotlight as MMA — Aside: while MMA is probably more popular among fight fans, the real money is in boxing. Always has been and probably always will be. For instance, Miguel Cotto made $12 million from his fight with Pacquiao. When’s the last time a losing MMA fighter collected such a purse? What about a winning fighter not named “Brock Lesnar?” — the petty antics of both fighters only hurts.

I mean, what other sport do two of the best actively avoid each other or make borderline over-the-top requests, while further damaging their sport’s reputation and alienating their fans? Professional wrestling? Perhaps, but even there, the belt holders still “compete” in the Pay Per Views. By my count, that puts them ahead of the current state of boxing.