Saturday, February 6, 2010

When the talks for the Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather ended over the issue of Olympic-style random blood testing, many boxing fans and writer included, got disappointed.

No other fight has the gravity of the matchup between the current Pound-for-Pound king and the former holder of the throne since the times of Sugar Ray Leonar, Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns, and Roberto Duran.

It is quite easy to see why fans would want this fight and why the sport of boxing needs this mega bout to happen.

But with the drug testing issue effectively halting the negotiations, Lady Luck has opened great windows of opportunities that are certainly a treat times two for those who follow the sport.

After the failed negotiations with Mayweather and his side, Pacquiao’s camp moved on and quickly found a replacement in tough welterweight Joshua Clottey. Ghana’s face of boxing and former IBF welterweight champion Clottey is certainly a no pushover and does present a tough challenge for the reigning WBO welterweight champion.

It may not be a huge seller compared to a fight that bills Pacquiao and Mayweather, but this proves that Pacquiao takes on all comers and the best available boxer at the time was Clottey. It is utterly pointless to bring in the names of Yuri Foreman, Juan Manuel Marquez, and Paulie Malignaggi as quick substitutes.

The possibility that the Pacquiao-Clottey fight will sell big is huge, despite the lack of popularity points by the Ghana native. One major reason is they will be fighting in the Cowboys Stadium. That and the fact that Pacquiao got a free publicity boost from former US President George W. Bush.

That said, a greater fight looms over the horizon. It is not yet a done deal, but it is the next best thing to a Pacquiao-Mayweather showdown. WBC welterweight titlist Andre Berto withdrew from his face-off with Shane Mosley after tragedy struck Haiti, his home country. Berto lost several members of his family after a killer earthquake devastated Haiti and its people.

With Berto’s withdrawal, cruel as it may seem, has left a sweet offering for boxing fans worldwide. Berto left a void that only Mayweather could fill and may be the opportunity he needs to get the respect he wanted for so long.

A possible collision between Mayweather and WBA welterweight boss and the division’s lineal champion Shane Mosley is almost as great and as big as a fight with Pacquiao. From every perspective, this is Mayweather’s ticket out of the blood testing mess and all that cherry-picking allegations and Mosley’s trail to a huge payday before he announces his probable retirement.

So while the boxing world may never get the fight they want, at least for the time being, we are treated to a sort of elimination tournament in the welterweight house. Four of the world’s best welterweights will clash for supremacy and recognition in the welterweight division.

The winner of Pacquiao-Clottey can set a huge stage of a boxing match with the victor of Mayweather-Mosley. And if that happens, it will be a huge shake up in the welterweight standings. For starters, two major belts will be unified (WBA and WBO). Second, the lineal championship is at stake. Third, there is a big chance that the pound-for-pound rankings will alter should Pacquiao lose to either Clottey or the winner of Mosley-Mayweather.

And all these can happen in a span of less than two months after The Event.

Can it get any better than this?