In boxing, it’s always about what’s next and in the immediate aftermath of Manny Pacquiao’s ultra-impressive split decision win over Keith Thurman Saturday, talk quickly turned to the idea of Pacquiao signing on for a rematch with his forever rival, Floyd Mayweather, who just happened to be sitting ringside.
The 40-year-old Pacquiao turned back the clock with a close, but clear and convincing victory over Thurman in their welterweight showdown in Las Vegas and after the legend looked 10 years younger, Pac Man will have plenty of options to choose from for his next fight. But the chorus from commentators, casual boxing fans, and even the two fighters across social media are clamoring for Pacquiao, who looked way better than expected against a younger and well-respected opponent, to square up with the 42-year-old Mayweather one more time.
As a boxing fan and someone who gets to write and cover some of the biggest fights, it’s easy to point out there a ton of other legitimate and entertaining matchups to be made, watch, and write about before Mayweather-Pacquiao 2. But since boxing is it’s own worst enemy with its cesspool of politics, promotions, and fugazi belts that rarely delivers what fans really want, the idea of a rematch between two olds will dominate headlines and the collective imaginations of casual sports fans who only check in on the sport occasionally. Mayweather-Pacquiao 2 is a hypothetical fight right now since Floyd is officially retired and hasn’t given any indication that he wants to fight again—unless the price and the opponent is right. And while we can’t ignore the fact that Pacquiao was injured that evening in 2015, let’s not forget that pay-per-view fight ended up being a dud. What makes you think it’s going to be something special five years later? Especially since Mayweather hasn’t actively trained for a legit boxing match since 2015 and has only expressed interest in fighting MMA guys since.
If we’re going to get hyped about a hypothetical fight, we’d rather daydream about the matchups that would pit the sports’ superstars in historic matchups with way more on the line than just the massive payday Mayweather-Pacquiao 2 would really only end up being about. So here are five fights we need to see in boxing way before two past their prime fighters lace ‘em up to steal another $100 from us all.