Howard’s End: Timothy Bradley vs. Timothy Bradley

The duality of Timothy Bradley once again took front and center under the bright lights of the StubHub Center in Carson. The former Junior Welterweight and Welterweight champion came one step closer to reclaiming a world title last weekend after outclassing a very competitive, but overmatched Jessie Vargas for the majority of their Welterweight contest.

For 11 rounds, two minutes and forty-five seconds, Bradley used all of the skills he had acquired in his illustrious career to keep the younger Vargas backpedaling all night and failing to mount any true offense for a sustained period of the fight. Bradley’s pressure was already enough to keep Vargas mulling whether or not he should engage, but as the norm for Bradley, he couldn’t leave well enough alone and continuously pursued a knockout.

The last fifteen seconds? The best right hand Vargas threw in the fight popped Bradley, and he was gummy-legged when referee Pat Russell erroneously called a halt to the fight when he heard the signal sticks for the final ten seconds. Bradley had emerged victorious on the scorecards, seemingly putting himself back into contention for another major fight, but Bradley is continuing to wage an internal battle that may very well exasperate the end of his career.

For a long period of time, Bradley climbed to the top of the rankings of a very deep Junior Welterweight division using a laser-like right hand, a consistent body attack and his trademark grit. His run at 140 included wins over the likes of Junior Witter, Kendall Holt, Miguel Vasquez, a stoppage win of Joel Casamayor and dominant victories over then undefeated Lamont Peterson and Devon Alexander. Bradley had earned his way into a fight with Manny Pacquiao, and that’s where everything changed.

Bradley should have lost a clear decision to Pacquiao had the judges not seen it the other way. The controversial ending to the Pacquiao fight was no fault of his own, but the trauma it induced on his family and his psyche took his career in a much different direction.

Following the first fight with Pacquiao, Bradley became hell bent on proving a point that a bad decision isn’t what makes him a champion, so he began to fight with his heart more so than his head. Ruslan Provodnikov walloped him, though he managed to survive the vicious beating and won the fight, and he also lapsed into his warrior-daze in the rematch against Pacquiao after boxing very well in the first half of the fight and the aforementioned Vargas fight.

At 31 years of age and well over a decade in the sport, Bradley is playing a dangerous game. He’s taken more mileage in the past two and a half years than he ever did at any moment of his career, and his desire to fight isn’t going to get him much further in a division that is about to experience a renaissance of fighters who are as powerful as they are skilled.

The Bradley we saw last Saturday will not struggle too much against guys like Vargas, Brandon Rios, or even Adrien Broner who only have a single layer to their game. It wouldn’t be out of the question to suggest that Bradley can grind out wins over other top fighters such as Danny Garcia or a forgotten fight with Amir Khan that can still be very viable today, but the landscape as well as his desires will not take him much further than that.

Had Bradley not resigned with Top Rank, the possibility of him being placed in against Shawn Porter and Keith Thurman would force him to go up against fighters who aren’t just stronger than him, but are seemingly more in tune to their own strengths and weaknesses than Bradley is. Bradley commits the cardinal sin of fighting to the level of his opponents when he has shown that he doesn’t have to, and that has come in the best wins of his career.

He outfoxed and shut down both Peterson and Alexander without taking any unnecessary chances. Against Juan Manuel Marquez, he outfoxed one of the most revered counter-punchers of this era. Would we see a virtuoso performance from Bradley against Kell Brook or Floyd Mayweather, who he almost certainly would have to fight at a tactical level? Could his ranting and raving about moving up to fight Saul Alvarez, Miguel Cotto or even Gennady Golovkin at 160 pounds, a fighter who he couldn’t engage with under any circumstances, turn out to be the defining moment of his career?

The internal struggle within Bradley has produced some of the most memorable moments and fights the sport has had in the past decade, and his accomplishments will surely land him in the Hall of Fame once his career comes to a close. That end can come sooner than later, and based on his career as of late, he’s on pace to burn out well before he should.


Howard’s End: Oh, What Could Have Been?

There use to be a time where everybody knew that Adrien Broner was going to be something special. At that time, Broner had tore through the desolate 130 and 135 pound divisions, then moved up to Welterweight and won a word title against Paulie Malignaggi. Whether you appreciated him or not, there was no taking away his accomplishments and his potential to do more.

Broner reserved the right to do that himself, and has now fully exercised that right with his conclusive loss to Shawn Porter over the weekend. Yet to better understand the present and to also forecast the future, a step into the not-too-distant-past reveals all.

Two years ago, Broner defeated the aforementioned Malignaggi to claim a piece of the Welterweight title and was at the height of his powers. His time to climb the mythical pound for pound list was upon him as he had the chance to face off against the very tough and very rugged Marcos Maidana, a much stronger and bigger foe than the feather-fisted Malignaggi. As the fight neared, there were reports that Broner was nowhere near fighting shape and came in extremely heavy for the fight camp.

Broner would also make sure he spent as much time as possible acting a fool, praising his “big brother” in Floyd Mayweather whenever possible and showed much more determination from living off his riches than in his actual training. The night of the Maidana fight came, and an ass whooping came with him. Maidana was supremely conditioned and motivated, using his size and physical style to expose Broner’s flaws that were very well hidden against the lesser fighters he fought in the lower weight classes. Two knockdowns and twelve rounds of pain later, Maidana took Broner’s title and his undefeated record in a victory so devastating that it continues to haunt Broner to this day.

Broner could still sell, so his team decided to take this as a wake up call and made the move to get Broner away from the larger fighters and placed him where he was better suited at 140 pounds. There, they would work on correcting his flaws against low-tier foes in hopes of regaining momentum lost in the Maidana fight. Despite winning three fights at 140, Broner still was overly conservative on his punches, getting hit too often and still acting a fool outside of the ring. Nothing had changed, nor was anything fixed.

The fight with Porter came as a now-or-never fight with a handicap placed in his favor. Porter, a former Welterweight champion who use to campaign at Junior Middleweight, had to drop to 144 for the fight and also took a slightly smaller cut of the purse. Through it all, Porter remained a professional and focused as the task at hand. Broner though? Not so much.

In the months leading into the fight, Broner took every chance he could to disrespect his opponent and his father and found enough time to not train to get pulled over in a DUI stop. The week of the fight, Broner blew off the last media call before the fight and whispers once again circulated that he was in poor condition and could potential blow the weight handicap made just for him.

The night of the fight came, and for all of Broner’s bravado and noise, Porter hideously overmatched him. Broner clammed up against the bright lights he boasts are lit by his greatness and his offense only resulted in roughly landing seven punches per round. When Porter wasn’t mugging Broner, he just spent whatever time Porter wasn’t punching by clinching him and venting his frustrations with illegal punches, one that ultimately costed him a point late in the fight.

At the end of the night, the writing was on the wall for Broner in a manner that was so clear even he could see it. His claims that him and his family are financially secure and his claims of being a big shot in defeat were half-reality, half-delusion. Once again he was given an opportunity to truly shine at the highest level of the sport, and once again he was humbled in dramatic fashion by someone that brought the discipline and respect to their game that he so sorely lacks.

Broner didn’t sound like a fighter who lost a fight, but instead a fighter who openly displayed his own insecurities and self-doubt. If Broner does not change, the blueprint to beat him has been out since the fight with Malignaggi and used to great success by Maidana and Porter; it will certainly be used again, but this time from a lesser fighter he will prey for some twisted form of redemption.

There will not be any more speculation of how far he can climb, only a matter of certainty that he’ll certainly fall hard. The biggest “problem” of this scenario is not a matter of “if.” We’ve been given plenty of evidence that it is only a matter of when.

Howard’s End: Enough is Enough

To paraphrase the late Robin Williams, people don’t watch the sport of boxing to observe the sport of boxing, they go to watch two people beat the hell out of each other.

Tactical fighters are not a rarity in the sport. Their guile and cunning ensures not only a longer shelf life in the brutal sport, but their longevity makes them a more viable product to sell to the fans. Even the most skilled fighters though know that in order to obtain the riches they so choose, even they have to fight against their grain a little bit and give people a reason to watch.

Even the most revered of stylists like Pernell Whittaker and Wilfred Benitez brought an extra dimension of intrigue to the ring with them. Nobody will ever mistaken them for power punchers, but they were entertaining to watch and weren’t afraid to put their foot on the gas when they had a wounded animal in front of them. For as boring as Bernard Hopkins is claimed to be, Hopkins captivated the fans by fighting at as high of a level as his near 50-year-old body could afford, and it was a show to behold.

All those guys got the memo, Erislandy Lara hasn’t.

The supremely talented Cuban defector and WBA Junior Middleweight champion is clearly one of the best boxers in the world, rivaled perhaps only by fellow Cuban Guillermo Rigondeux and Floyd Mayweather. While Lara is deserving of all the praise for his skill, he equally the criticism of how boring he is.

Last Friday, Lara was matched up against the well-traveled (and worn) Delvin Rodriguez in the definition of a squash match. Rodriguez is four years past his best performance, an upset win over Pawel Wolak, and had failed to show any signs of life when matched above his level of competition. There was an ocean of skill between them and nobody gave Rodriguez a feasible chance at winning.

Rodriguez put in enough effort just to earn his paycheck and Lara did nothing to capitalize on his disinterested foe. Despite landing at will with his whole arsenal, even dropping Rodriguez with a hard shot in the sixth, Lara was content to just wait out his foe and made sure that he wouldn’t compromise his victory.

As disinterested as Rodriguez was in the process of defeat, Lara was just as disinterest in the process of victory. The skill gap was so high between them that Lara should have just went out there and pickled Rodriguez just like Cotto did, but he showed needless restraint against his overmatched foe. His unwillingness to impose his superiority in the ring has long been his modus operandi.

In his wins over former world champions Ishe Smith and Austin Trout, Lara followed the same pattern after it was clearly obvious his foes were no match for him. Instead of trying to close out the show against either man, he was willing to backpedal and swat his way to a decision.

Against Saul Alvarez, Lara lost a close decision due to the fact that even though the fight had gone his way from start to finish, he couldn’t emphasize winning the rounds because of his highly selective punch output and he deservingly lost the close decision.

After the Rodriguez fight, Lara made it clear that he wants big fights and called out Miguel Cotto, Mayweather and Gennady Golovkin but nobody is going to make any concessions to see those fights come to light. Forget the politics involved between having an Al Haymon fighter like Lara face off against HBOs long-term investment in Golovkin, or Cotto for that matter. Nobody rushed to see Lara sleepwalk his way through Rodriguez last Friday, and surely less people are convinced he’s due for a Cotto or Golovkin fight.

Far less talented fighters like Deontay Wilder, who is learning on the job despite winning a portion of the Heavyweight title, will command more attention in his squash matches because he might end the fight at any time in shocking fashion. Guys like Robert Guerrero who is showing as much wear as Rodriguez will still bring people out. Even fighters like Andre Ward and Wladimir Klitschko have shown the capacity to put on memorable performances. Let’s not forget how people claim about how Mayweather is a talentless coward or a marathon runner, even though they’re twice as likely as anybody else to drop their hard earned money on his pay-per-views.

Now it’s not to say that every boxing fight has to be a bare-knuckle brawl or a bar fight, the actual art of boxing can be beautiful, but boring is boring and boring is Lara.

For Lara, there may be no motivating factor as long as he continues to win and continues to get dates thanks to his affiliation with boxing’s most powerful entity, but fight fans always have a choice on who they want to watch, and that doesn’t bode too well for a fighter who can do so much more, but definitely doesn’t want to.

Howard’s End: One More Shot at Greatness.

If you had to ask Amir Khan, he’d tell you that there’s nobody more suited to fight Floyd Mayweather than he is. Khan has told anybody willing to listen to him that he’s the right kind of wrong for Mayweather. He has speed, he has power, he has all the charisma and tools to make a fight with Mayweather a rough night that just absolutely has to happen.

Ricky Hatton managed to call out Mayweather to the point where it annoyed Mayweather into taking a fight with him, a fight Mayweather subsequently dominated and stopped Hatton late, but there is no mystery as to why Khan’s vociferous wailing hasn’t landed him the fight he so desperately craves.

Hatton was endeared by the public both in the UK and the US, had established himself as the best fighter at 140 pounds and made it very clear that he was the best opponent Mayweather had left to fight after his blockbuster versus Oscar De La Hoya. Khan, for the lack of better words, has been trying to make that claim for the better part of the last four years and is still trying to get his point across.

This Friday, Khan will once again try to convince the world that he is ready and deserving for the Mayweather finale when he finds himself across the hopelessly outclassed Chris Algieri in a PBC main event. Algieri made waves last year after winning the WBO Junior Welterweight title against Ruslan Provodnikov in a fight that featured Algieri running for his life after a brutal opening round and swatting Provodnikov enough times to win an extremely questionable decision. Midnight rung hard for Algieri, courtesy of six knockdowns in a hideous mismatch against Manny Pacquiao last year, which now leads to this Friday night.

Somehow, Khan believes that a win over an opponent that Pacquiao effortlessly obliterated will be enough, but he’s been wrong before.

Circa 2010, Khan was a force of nature and showed the form of a British dynamo that was poised to be boxing’s next pound for pound star. After being acquired by Golden Boy Promotions and set up with Freddie Roach following a disastrous 90 second knockout to an ill-advised handpicked opponent in Bredis Prescott, Khan didn’t take too long to run roughshod all over the Junior Welterweight division as Hatton did years prior.

His reign of terror included dominant victories against former champions and division hopefuls alike, as well as knockout wins over Paulie Malignaggi and Zab Judah. The prized win of his reign at 140 was over Marcos Maidana in a wild fight that saw the delicate chin of Khan survive a vicious late-fight assault from the tough Argentine to win a close decision. With Mayweather/Pacquiao stalling nearly two years in, Khan was becoming an increasingly logical choice to fight Mayweather and he started shouting his claim to the fight.

Things fell apart for him not too soon after. A tough decision loss to Lamont Peterson preceded an even tougher fourth round knockout loss to Danny Garcia, and in the span of seven months between December of 2011 and July of 2012, Khan saw his chances against Mayweather diminish as he quickly set to rebuild.

Khan separated from the offense-heavy Roach and paired with Virgil Hunter, who has taken full advantage of Khan’s prodigious boxing talent and has gone on a four fight win streak. Algieri, should he fall to Khan, will be the fourth former world champion in a row that Khan has defeated since linking up with Hunter and converting his buzz saw offense to a “punch n’ clutch” style to better protect his chin.

There was so much promise for Khan and his prodigious skill, and while still having one hell of a career, chasing Mayweather through hellfire and brimstone is preventing him from securing the greatness he feels is awaiting him. A Mayweather fight isn’t guaranteed, especially after a fight he’s all but expected to win, but Khan hasn’t exactly shown a great willingness to establish himself alongside his peers.

Garcia and Maidana still loom as top fighters, perhaps closer to another mega-fight than Khan at this point. There hasn’t been much of a peep from Khan when presented with a chance to challenge the new faces of the Welterweight division such as Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter or IBF Champion Kell Brook, who has been as rabid in calling out Khan as Khan has for Mayweather. Unfinished business with Timothy Bradley or Peterson could be addressed and settled once and for all. This can be Khan’s legacy instead of a potential loss to Mayweather at the end of his career.

Khan believes that his window to truly become great will close this September unless he is on the opposite side of the ring of the man he has chased for nearly half a decade, but he couldn’t be any further from the truth. The accomplishments that will crown Khan as a king is all around him, and if Mayweather has one foot out the door and is ready to let the new generation fight among themselves for dominance…maybe Khan should be just as ready to challenge them as he is the man he may just never catch.

Howard’s End: The Bright Lights and Blurred Lines of Gennady Golovkin.

Gennady Golovkin is, without a doubt, boxing’s most explosive fighter. The WBA Middleweight champion has defended his title 14 times, winning each fight by knockout, and he has captivated the boxing world with his vicious performances and destructive punching power.

There is little doubt that Golovkin is only going to be getting bigger. HBO has all but announced him as the face of boxing on their network alongside Saul “Canelo” Alvarez as they prepare to match their premium content with that of the emerging free TV market, and everybody has bought in to the Golovkin hype. Though Golovkin is as entertaining as it gets and people want to see more, one has to wonder if quantity will overshadow quality.

We’re getting one, but not the other.

Willie Monroe Jr. was victim #14 in Golovkin’s title reign, and his second KO win this year. Nothing against Monroe, but when the general consensus was that he could potentially last into the later rounds only to be certainly stopped doesn’t really say much about his legitimacy as an opponent. The same can be said almost every single opponent in Golovkin’s reign of terror at 160 pounds.

Since 2012, Golovkin’s fought a who’s-who of middle tier fighters and also-rans and has disposed of them just like he was supposed to. Not once has anybody looked ahead to a Golovkin fight and said that “He’s in for a tough one,” or “I don’t know how this is going to look.” There is no intrigue, or even expected competition, just that Golovkin is going to knock the hell out of the guy who he is fighting. As it stands right now, that will be a continuing trend as long as HBO is able to broadcast Golovkin’s exploits.

None of that is Golovkin’s fault, nor is it his fault that the Middleweight division is a desolate wasteland not unlike when Bernard Hopkins long reigned as the Middleweight champion nearly 20 years ago, but it just seems that if a less exciting fighter compiled the wins he has now, the kudos wouldn’t be as voluminous.

Golovkin is much, much better than what the Middleweight division has to offer him. There is not a soul at 160, or even the elite at 154 like Erislandy Lara, Demetrius Andrade, or even Alvarez that will trouble him in a straight up fight. Because he is so obviously superior to everybody there, why can’t it be a priority for Golovkin to potentially equal the activity on the networks with some real challenges at 168 against the likes of George Groves, recently crowned champion Badou Jack or even against the aging mainstays like Carl Froch or Hopkins?

Why not a true testament of skill and brute force with a clash against HBO’s other ratings superstar and Light Heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev? Or, God forbid, a fight with Andre Ward in which we could possibly see an emotionally torn Max Kellerman switch his allegiance multiple times in fight while Roy Jones and Jim Lampley lament over the agony of watching anything other than a physical brawl.

Also, Oscar De La Hoya publicly announced last weekend that he intends to keep Alvarez away from Golovkin for at least two years, presumably in protective custody, putting the kibosh on what could very quickly become the next big fight in boxing after Alvarez crushes Cotto…that is if Cotto manages to beat Daniel Geale next month.

Perhaps HBO learned their lessons from when they so heavily invested in Jermain Taylor, Kelly Pavlik and even Andre Berto for the better part of the last decade. While they were quick to push those men as the respective representatives of the future of boxing, they quickly saw their investments look less and less attractive once they started facing sterner opponents and didn’t have a contingency plan for when they ultimately fell apart.

Unlike them, it could be possible that there may be a endgame in play.

As mentioned previously, De La Hoya made it clear that Golovkin/Alvarez is a no-go for at least two more years. At that time, Golovkin would be in his mid 30s and closing in on Hopkins’ record for the 20 defenses of his Middleweight title, which ironically was accomplished with a knockout of De La Hoya, and perhaps at the right time for Alvarez to take him out.

Alvarez/Golovkin would be a “years in the making” super fight with historical implications, an unnecessary passing of the torch narrative as Golovkin and Alvarez are practically contemporaries, and a win/win for HBO. Not to mention, that the younger Alvarez would have more left to offer them than an aging Golovkin, though they would be able to squeeze everything they could out of either as they’ll continue to have options on them in the future.

All we know is that Golovkin is here to stay, and while we can enjoy the ride just as much as we have in the past few years, here’s to hoping that what we could get will end up being just as good as what we already have.

The Salty Spit Bucket Notebook: Manny Many Excuses!

Here’s a cynical and salty look the world of boxing, courtesy of your staff of one at the Bucket…

  • So it looks like Manny Pacquiao’s inability to disclose a shoulder injury is costing him more than his pride and put an even bigger exclamation point on his humiliating loss to Floyd Mayweather. For those who have been in a coma, Pacquiao went in his to his fight with Mayweather last weekend fully aware he was injured and fully aware he would not be able to perform at 100%, but failed to disclose his injury to the Nevada State Athletic Commission until moments before the fight when he asked, and was denied, for a painkiller shot. A class action lawsuit has been filed against Team Pacquiao and a suspension from Nevada looks likely. Not that it matters though, I’m expecting a miraculous recovery from his shoulder “injury” and a trip back to Macau in the near future.

  • While we are still on the subject, this whole situation makes you wonder how concerned Pacquiao’s team is of his well being. Freddie Roach, for all of the Trainer of the Year awards he’s earned and all the things he’s seen in his long career as a trainer, figured a torn rotator cuff would be remedied by taking it easy in training camp. Worse yet was Pacquiao’s adviser (and Top Rank employee) Michael Koncz saying he “checked the wrong box” in the pre-fight medical questionnaire. Roach and Koncz might have missed out on the lawsuit, but they’re just as much to blame.

  • Call me cynical, but I’m not too overly excited for this weekend’s Saul Alvarez vs. James Kirkland fight on HBO. Yes, I know all about the offensive tendencies of both fighters, but it doesn’t take a nuclear powered telescope to see how this fight is going to turn out. Kirkland is the best kind of fighter for Alvarez to dissect and pummel, and unlike Alfredo Angulo, Kirkland won’t have the chin or conditioning to survive once Alvarez starts opening up on him. You think Golden Boy Promotions would risk putting their golden goose against someone with a chance? Especially when a fight with Miguel Cotto is all but certain at this point? C’mon!

  • I predict that Saul Alvarez will need less than 12 rounds to beat both Kirkland AND Cotto.

  • The Al Haymon Mafia is making plans for a big summer. Another round of PBC fights will include the return of Robert Guerrero at the beginning of the month, Deontay Wilder’s first defense of his Heavyweight title follows the next weekend on Showtime and another doubleheader featuring Adrien Broner vs. Shawn Porter rounds out the month. Though the Guerrero card at the beginning of the month will be a squash match against veteran Aaron Martinez and Wilder hasn’t announced his opponent yet, Broner/Porter alone makes it a good mix of quantity and quality for the PBC.

  • Just in case anybody is wondering, Andre Ward is fighting that day as well. Ward signed with Roc Nation sports earlier this year, and is only now coming back to fight the unheralded Paul Smith at a 172 lb catchweight. Ward has been noncommittal in regards to a full move to Light Heavyweight, but what can we expect? The guy just spontaneously decided he wanted to start fighting again. Let’s just hope he doesn’t rediscover Twitter and his couch, a fight with Sergey Kovalev or Bernard Hopkins would bring him back into the pound for pound mix after such a long layoff.

  • I don’t want to ever see Shannon Briggs fight Wladimir Klitschko, but I’d love to see Deontay Wilder knock him out.

  • Leo Santa Cruz is quickly beginning a reign of terror amongst the journeymen and low-tier fighters. Santa Cruz was once one of the hottest prospects in the sport, but the blatant handpicking of the least capable opponents around is making me believe he is more fragile than initially thought. Truth is always in the matchmaking.

  • Mayweather/Pacquiao II? Only if it’s a mixed-gender tag team match with Floyd Sr and Mama Pacquiao.
AP Photo/John Locher

Howard’s End: Manny Pacquiao’s Failed Mutiny.

Five years ago, there was a very realistic possibility that we could have seen Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao at the height of their powers. Though it was heavily unlikely that we would have seen anything different from the one-sided boxing lesson Mayweather dished out on the bewildered Pacquiao, we can’t forget the real reason that fight never took place when it maybe could have been better.

Everybody in Pacquiao’s camp knew the risks were too great and likelihood of victory was far too small. Everybody of course, except Manny Pacquiao.

Pacquiao was too gullible to the notion that he was being preserved by his boss, Bob Arum, and was convinced by those surrounding him that they were doing everything they could to make the fight happen. With each passing year, there not only was an excuse as to why the fight wasn’t happening, but almost an immediate Plan B opponent came after talks seemingly dissipated. Pacquiao thought none the lesser and deferred to the collective opinion of Arum and his team, including trainer Freddie Roach that Mayweather was a coward and wasn’t worth the trouble.

Merely hours after Arum and Top Rank gave Mayweather a literal countdown to accept terms to a Pacquiao fight, Antonio Margarito was announced as Pacquiao’s opponent. After the initial negotiations hit a snag due to the request of stricter drug testing, Joshua Clottey ultimately got the call once the hold up presented itself.

It really couldn’t have worked out any better for those involved. Top Rank knew that an immediate Mayweather fight came with the very realistic possibility that Pacquiao would lose in such a way that it would hurt his earning potential, and Pacquiao surely wouldn’t have had the chance to make the $20-$30 million per fight he was seeing if Mayweather spanked him back in 2010.

As the years went by and the setbacks started coming in the form of the controversial fights to Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez, as well as his horrifying KO loss to Marquez, Pacquiao starting wising up to the game. His paltry purse to fight Brandon Rios in Macau combined with similar poor returns against Bradley in their rematch and Chris Algieri had him questioning where his career was headed.

His finances became public thanks to Ben Thompson of FightHype, and he was in a state of financial calamity, owing nearly $70 million in unpaid taxes to the US and Philippines. Former conditioning coach Alex Ariza made his opinion very public about the puppeteering nature Arum presented over Pacquiao’s career, and even Pacquiao’s long time friend and legal counsel Franklin Gacal publicly pleaded for Arum to let Pacquiao fight Mayweather.

Nearing the end of his career and facing an uncertain future fast approaching, Pacquiao finally put his foot down and demanded the fight with Mayweather get made immediately.

Shortly after Algieri, Arum quickly moved against his fighter’s wishes once more trying to re-emphasize to Pacquiao and the public he’d been playing for so long that Mayweather/Pacquiao was no closer to being made than it ever was. This time, it was heretical for a Cinco de Mayo weekend fight, or that rival networks HBO and Showtime had to cross too much red tape to make the fight happen and that Pacquiao’s destructive victory over Algieri was making Mayweather potentially urinate in sheer terror.

Enough was enough for Pacquiao, and was all ears when Mayweather approached him directly with an offer to fight. Finally getting the courage to do what Mayweather and Oscar de la Hoya did before him, Pacquiao told Arum to simply make it happen and so he did.

Fast-forward to last weekend and a dejected and demoralized Pacquiao was unable to land even an aggressive look on Mayweather without eating a jab in the process. Claims that Pacquiao injured his shoulder was failed to be disclosed to the Nevada State Athletic Commission by any members of Team Pacquiao until an hour before the fight, and an ill-advised move to trash the MGM Grand when they could as well as nixing Pacquiao’s grand arrival was peculiar.

Not to mention Bob Arum’s spontaneous meltdown talking to the media in a conference call that lasted merely seconds. The lack of vigor from the boisterous and loud Pacquiao camp was seemingly reduced to a silent resignation. There was no confidence.

Their fears were validated when Pacquiao lost and they saw their investment, which they long protected throughout the years, take a tremendous hit. After such a performance and the haphazard effort Team Pacquiao and Top Rank put into the event, there is very little doubt that they will try to make the most out of their setback and send Pacquiao back to Macau where he may perhaps ultimately end his career while making the maximum amount he can after last weekend.

Watching Pacquiao stumble in an incredibly awkward interview with Max Kellerman, who went full asshole and basically tried to get Pacquiao to say he lost, and his body language in the post fight press conference said it all. Pacquiao finally got hip to the game, and with his newly found enlightenment in the face of a definitive loss, he probably wishes he could go back to the way things were.