Floyd Mayweather has long been critical of rival Manny Pacquiao’s choice of opponents, especially when that opponent happens to be someone he has beaten in the past.
To date Pacquiao has fought Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton and Shane Mosley after they fought Mayweather and were lesser fighters than when Floyd beat them.
Returning from his short lived retirement in 2009, Mayweather fought lightweight king Juan Manuel Marquez, a fighter Pacquiao fought twice unquestionably closer to his peak and most effective weight than Mayweather did.
So although Mayweather’s accusations do hold a modicum of truth, they can cut both ways, and after all it isn’t as if Pacquiao has fought only Floyd’s leavings.
In the same time frame that Mayweather beat the aforementioned three opponents that Pacquiao later fought, he fought a total of four times, the other opponent being Marquez.
Pacquiao in the same period fought nine times.
Some amount of cross over in opponents then is bound to be expected given the discrepancy between the two in activity.
The reality of the situation is simply that at any weight there are really only ever a handful of viable opponents for any top fighter to take on within a given time span.
Throw in promotional issues, inactivity of certain fighters and acceptable opponents constantly entering and leaving the running, and in the rare situations where there are two genuine top fighters in a division, they will tend to fight many of the same opponents.
The Klitschko brothers for example share four common opponents.
Mayweather is also perhaps unaware that whatever criticisms he levels at Pacquiao could be returned in kind.
Mayweather’s next opponent is Victor Ortiz, at one time a sparring partner of Pacquiao’s.
After Ortiz one of the favorites to fight Mayweather next is Amir Khan, a current team mate and sometime sparring partner of Pacquiao’s.
As it happens neither Ortiz or Khan are what most would think of as sparring partners in the sense that they are not employed by Pacquiao and are both champions and excellent fighters in their own rights.
The facts remain however, they did both spar with Pacquiao.
Similarly the opponents Mayweather beat before Pacquiao fought them, while diminished, didn’t decline from the brutal beating Mayweather gave each of them, far from it. He won decisions against De La Hoya and Mosley and finished Hatton in the tenth.
De La Hoya and Mosley were arguably past their peaks anyway when Mayweather fought them. Hatton’s decline likely had a lot more to do with his weight issues between fights than anything else.
While Pacquiao is fighting Mayweather’s leftovers then, Mayweather will be fighting Pacquiao’s sparring partners.
An absurd claim to make in either case, but one that can be made for either fighter.
Of course Pacquiao didn’t build his name solely on fighters Mayweather had already beaten. And Mayweather won’t be fighting sparring partners in the true sense of the word against either Khan or Ortiz.
So long as there continues to be a bitter rivalry between Pacquiao and Mayweather though these are exactly the kinds of statements that one side or the other will make.
Lucian Norton, Pitt: “Mayweather would have a point if those are the only fights Pac had, but the Cotto fight was what established him as a star at welter anyway”
Oscar De La Hoya backing Ortiz to beat Mayweather then fight Pacquiao
David Haye undecided on future, eager for immediate rematch with Klitschko
Paulie Malignaggi eager to spoil Devon Alexander’s welterweight debut
Amir Khan not impressed with Kell Brook’s victory over Lovemore N’dou