Floyd Mayweather, Jr. (42-0, 26 KOs) may face the most difficult fight of his life in the coming year or two, but it not even be in the boxing ring. He faces multiple streams of criminal and civil litigation from assault and domestic abuse charges to accusations of defamation related to his rants about Manny Pacquiao's (53-3-2, 38 KOs) alleged Performance Enhancing Drug (PED) use. Floyd Mayweather's fight for his freedom is likely to be much tougher than any clash he could possible participate in as a boxer. Even if he should happen to lose in the ring, he'll still have the right to come and go as he pleases and say what he wants to whoever he wants to say it to. Losing in the criminal courts, on the other hand, could lead to a stiff jail sentence, incarceration, and a sudden halt to Mayweather's boxing career.

Manny Pacquiao is on a whole other plateau in his life, facing only minor strifes in civil court outside of the Mayweather debacle and riding a wave of pupularity. He's only battling accountants and handling petty legal disputes over his singing career as his colleague faces possible prison time. Pacquiao is well loved, supremely respected, and set to retire soon on the top of his game. He wants to give back as a politician in the Philipines, and it's likely he will not fight beyond 2012. Though the welterweight division still has plenty of hot shot boxers who could someday rise to rival Pacquiao's boxing legacy, he's the best of the best at the moment. Floyd Mayweather's the only fighter it makes sense to put him up against next, barring a miracle victory from Juan Manuel Marquez (53-3-2, 38 KOs) on November 12th. It would also likely be the most significant pay day possible for both men in the sport and could seal the winner's legacy as the best of the best for a lifetime and beyond.

Floyd Mayweather took the WBC Welterweight Title from Victor Ortiz (29-3-2, 22 KOs) in a fight that was full of controversy, and having that hardware now is just one more incentive for Pacquiao to fight him once and for all. The way that fight ended also widened the good versus evil gap between these two boxers. Floyd's bad boy image is at an apex while Pacquiao's enjoying hero status, and though Pacquiao may be ready to retire soon he may never live down the "what if" critics if he doesn't ink this fight. It's a win-win situation for both men if they can agree to a bout, but the odds of it actually happening will go way down if they can't come to terms soon. There's one more year on the table for both fighters to get this party started, but once 2013 rolls around Manny's going to be immersed in the politics of his home country and ready to run for a higher position in the government. Depending on how long he can delay his criminal trial, Mayweather might not make it through 2012 without having to report to prison if found guilty in the domestic violence case involving his former girlfriend.

The week after the November 12 Pacquiao vs. Marquez III fight will likely involve both the Mayweather and Pacquiao camps working out potential conditions for a super fight. If it's not the very next fight for both men, the chances of it happening at all wil fall sharply. Mayweather's already shopping arund a May 5, 2012 date for his next fight to allow for plenty of time if it will in fact be against Pac-Man. Although Pacquiao's made some waves backing out of previous negotiations due to blood test conditions, Mayweather's borne the brunt of accusations that he's ducking the Filipino champ lately. One New York Radio Show Host "Rude Jude" was so adamant about Mayweather's ducking skills that he inspired the undefeated fighter to call into the station and verbally confront the host. The back and forth was surely entertaining, but it also seemed to be telling. Mayweather never once made the argument that he'd be happy to fight Pacquiao and was working on making it happen. Whatever negotiations are in motion may be secretive at this point, but Floyd's reluctance to go out on a limb and promise to do whatever it takes to make this fight is not encouraging.

The civil case Pacquia has pending in Las Vegas District Court against the Mayweather camp may be a bigger bone of contention than many fans realize. Chances are, dropping or settling the case will be a condition of any agreement to make this fight happen. Pacquiao may not want to end the case for personal reasons, and it may be a situation where the money is really in the bank for the fighter and his legal team. Press reports on the case show that Mayweather's absolutely ignored the court's orders, refused to apear for depositions, and is in a position to lose by a landslide. Pacquiao spared no expense in having his court opponent followed by private investigators with cameras when Floyd claimed he was too busy preparing for the Ortiz fight to participate in the legal proceedings. There's no telling how much money Floyd could lose if a judge decides to give Pacquiao's team a default judgment. Still, Pacquiao's openly saying in recent interviews that he's ready to fight Floyd. So, if Floyd feels the same way it seems very strange that he's not saying it, too.

At this point, Pacquiao's adamant that he's ready and willing to step up and fight, but Floyd can't even stand up to a radio show host and either say the fight's on the horizon or just shout out a "wait and see." Should there be no indication this fight's been signed for May 5th in the week following the Marquez bout, there's only one thing to say to the man they call "Money." Rude Jude already said it, but there's a possibility Mayweather didn't hear it since he hung up early on the call. So, here's a pair of simple words for the champ courtesy of a radio show host from New York:

"Stay duckin'."


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