Great­est ever? Not yet, May­weather

The ex­cuses are all gone; it’s time to step up, get in the ring with Pac­quiao

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS BRIEFING -

LAS VE­GAS — Floyd May­weather Jr. lives in what he calls his Big Boy house, a $9.5 mil­lion golf course man­sion he likes to show off when­ever HBO trots out its “24/7” show to pro­mote his fights.

If you’ve ever spent $59.95 for one of those fights, you helped pay for the house. Noth­ing wrong with that, though it’s not likely to get you an in­vi­ta­tion to the pool par­ties out back that al­ways seem to get the neigh­bors talk­ing.

But now it’s time for May­weather to leave the pool and head for the gym. Time to drop all the ex­cuses and stop all the pro­cras­ti­nat­ing. Time to fi­nally fight Manny Pac­quiao. The date is al­ready set; the money al­ready there. The is­sues that stopped them from fight­ing in March no longer seem to be such big is­sues. Yet May­weather re­mains a re­luc­tant war­rior at best. And no­body can seem to fig­ure out why.

“I’m as baf­fled as any­one,” pro­moter Bob Arum said.

May­weather hasn’t of­fered much in­sight him­self, telling The As­so­ci­ated Press on Sun­day that he was en­joy­ing be­ing on vacation and en­joy­ing hang­ing out with his fam­ily and friends. Mak­ing an­other $40 mil­lion or so, he said, would have to wait. “I’m not in­ter­ested in rush­ing to do any­thing,” he said.

Maybe he ought to be. Be­cause it’s be­gin­ning to look to a lot of boxing fans like May­weather just doesn’t want to fight Pac­quiao.

He cer­tainly didn’t want to fight in March, but at least then he had an ex­cuse. May­weather wanted Olympic-style blood test­ing and re­fused all ef­forts to com­pro­mise on the is­sue.

That ex­cuse doesn’t work any­more. Arum, who is Pac­quiao’s pro­moter, says his fighter will ac­cept any blood test­ing May­weather wants done.

Still, the new con­gress­man from the Philip­pines can’t get a com­mit­ment. So now he’s look­ing for a new dance part­ner for Nov. 13.

And for that, the blame rests di­rectly on Money May­weather.

While he plays pool­side, Pac­quiao will be in the gym. While May­weather con­tem­plates his fu­ture, boxing fans may be­gin con­tem­plat­ing why they should keep car­ing about what he does.

It’s cer­tainly May­weather’s right to dic­tate his own terms and not fol­low Arum’s timeta­bles. But fight­ing big fights is what great fight­ers do. And there’s no big­ger fight than May­weather and Pac­quiao. The bot­tom line is if May­weather wants to claim to be the great­est boxer ever, he needs to fight Pac­quiao. And he needs to do it now, when both fight­ers are in their prime.

There will be plenty of time to play in the pool later. Now, it’s time to step up and start act­ing like a Big Boy.

Laura Rauch

TIM DAHLBERG | As­so­cI­ATED pREss Floyd May­weather Jr., left, con­nect­ing with Juan Manuel Mar­quez of Mex­ico dur­ing their non-ti­tle wel­ter­weight boxing match in Las Ve­gas in Septem­ber. Fans would much rather see May­weather prove his claim of ‘great­est boxer ever’ by fight­ing Manny Pac­quiao.

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