By now, everyone knows about Filipino icon and multi-division world champ Manny Pacquiao taking on Errol Spence this coming August 21.
It’s an incredibly gutsy move by the 42-year-old Pacquiao, who is easing out the boxing door, into retirement, with his legacy as one of the all-time greats very well established. The man could’ve fought anyone in his last couple of fights, but he chose Spence, who is regarded by many as the top welterweight in the world and, at the very least, one of the two best.
He totally didn’t have to bring the big, strong, prime Errol Spence into his life, but did so anyway.
Now, let’s turn to Pacquiao contemporary great and long-time arch-rival Floyd Mayweather and what HE is up to.
On June 6, the 44-year-old Mayweather, who’s been retired since stomping the UFC’s Conor McGregor in 2017, will be facing YouTuber Logan Paul in an exhibition pay-per-view.
So, yeah, there’s kind of a big difference between Manny’s world and Floyd’s world right now.
While Manny readies himself for a true battle with one of the present tense greats, Floyd is still fuming over getting the cap snatched from his head by Logan Paul’s brother, Jake, at a recent press event.
All of this begs the question of legacies and of which fighter trumping the other when it comes to legacy left behind in the sport.
Mayweather holding a win over Pacquiao in direct competition makes a strong case for Floyd over Manny in the legends’ legacy competition. But post-prime Mayweather over post-prime Pacquiao is not necessarily the be-all, end-all factor in the “who has the greatest fighting legacy” debate.
Since the two faced off in 2015, Mayweather’s only fights have been against Andre Berto, Conor McGregor, an exhibition blow-out of a Japanese featherweight kickboxer, and now this Logan Paul fluff event.
Pacquiao, meanwhile, has beaten Keith Thurman, Timothy Bradley, Jessie Vargas, Lucas Matthysse, and Adrien Broner. His lone loss in the post-Mayweather run was against Jeff Horn via what many see as a very controversial decision. And now, of course, he’s signed on to face Spence.
If he manages to score the upset over Spence, there will be a very strong argument for changing that modern date greats pecking order and placing Manny over Floyd, regardless of what happened back when the two fought. Even a dignified loss to Spence could make that argument, honestly, as he’d get much credit for just signing on to try and topple the 11-years-younger two-belt welterweight champ.
Mayweather, meanwhile, is clearly not trying to add on to his competitive legacy anymore. Now, it’s all about the victory lap for him, using his name to build up his retirement nest egg even more with nothing but easy money fights.
That’s totally okay. Floyd has every right to enjoy his retirement however he likes and pick up paydays wherever he wants. He just shouldn’t expect to remain no. 1 of his generation if the no. 2 keeps adding heft to his own legacy.
And can you imagine if Mayweather somehow gets clipped and stopped by the nearly 20-years-younger and 40 lbs.-heavier Logan Paul? Or even if he has a tougher time than expected against the YouTube personality and novice boxer? That would be a disaster for the Floyd Mayweather legacy.
Mix that in with a Pacquiao upset victory over Spence and there’s definitely a direct path to Pacquiao overtaking Mayweather, definitively, as the top fighter of this modern era. Something like that was not much of a realistic possibility a few years back.
Yet here we are at that point, just a couple of tweaks in reality away from that happening. There are some murmurs among fans and media that it’s already happened.