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Floyd Mayweather: Is the 'Money' man's stock free-fallin' faster than a Tom Petty melody?

Lee Cleveland Updated
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The popular song Free Fallin' is the opening track from Tom Petty's 1989 solo album, Full Moon Fever. And while interpretations of the song's meaning vary, I think it describes Petty's changing feelings about an ex-girlfriend he broke up with awhile back.

At first, perhaps too consumed by his burgeoning success, he felt no remorse. But now, years later, his realizes he made a mistake and is lamenting decision, knowing he'll never get her back.

If Floyd Mayweather doesn't fight Manny Pacquiao this summer, will he, like rocker Tom Petty in the above scenario, regret his decision years later?

His reputation is already beginning to 'free fall' (pun intended) pretty quickly.

In addition to the $50-80 million he'd be turning down for not agreeing to partake in what would be the biggest fight in history, Mayweather stands to lose the respect and credibility he's work so long and hard to attain.

The public has been clamoring for Mayweather vs Pacquiao since 2009 and, regardless of who is to blame, the masses view Floyd as the biggest deterrent to this fight happening. And in their defense, Mayweather continues to make demands and excuses.

Yesterday, the consensus pound-for-pound champ hinted Pacquiao wasn't pay-per-view worthy, insisting two of Manny's last three fights have woefully under-performed at the box office, perhaps suggesting Manny wasn't a large enough draw to receive 40 percent (or perhaps even 30 percent) of the purse split.

But fight fans, including many of Floyd's supporters, are getting tired of the 'old song and dance' routine. As a matter of fact, Floyd Mayweather's reputation is even taking a beating among non-fans of the sport.

Several of my friends who don't follow boxing or have any affinity for the sport, have called or sent emails, chastising Mayweather for his apparent
refusal to fight Pacquiao.

Even my doctor, who doesn't know who Manny Pacquiao is and has probably never seen a boxing match in his life, recently asked me, "What's up with this guy, Mayweather? Why won't he fight the other guy?"

And several days ago, Floyd was heckled while attending an NBA game. The crowd chanted, "We want Pacquiao. We want Pacquiao."

If Mayweather doesn't fight Manny Pacquiao he should use some of his millions to hire a firm to perform damage control. His stock in boxing and professional sports in general is falling faster than a Tom Petty melody and he's risking his legacy and credibility by presumably attempting to swindle his way out of the biggest fight in history.

The public has a selective memory, doesn't it?

When the topic of Evander Holyfield vs Mike Tyson is discussed, everyone mentions the infamous ear bite but few talk about how Holyfield, as a massive underdog, masterfully outboxed and out-slugged the menacing Tyson before the referee mercifully saved Iron Mike from further punishment in Round 10 in their first match.

Will people, 10 or 20 years from now, remember Floyd more for his sidestepping of Manny Pacquiao than for the illustrious career he's had?

Few in boxing history are as accomplished as Floyd Mayweather and it would be shame for him to live in the shadow of his denial to face Pacquiao.

Like Petty's heartbreak over an ex-girlfriend, the 'free-fallin' Mayweather will surely be heartbroken one day if he refuses to fight Manny.

... But it'll be too late to do anything about it by then.


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