Wednesday February 1st, 2012

We let ourselves be sucked in, lured -- again -- by the Sirens song of one of the most anticipated fights in boxing history. In the end we are left with nothing, a nation of Charlie Browns duped once more by two greedy and petulant Lucys.

On Wednesday morning Floyd Mayweather told the Nevada State Athletic Commission what we should have known all along: Manny Pacquiao would not be his next opponent. No, next up for Mayweather will be junior middleweight titleholder Miguel Cotto, a sizable pay-per-view draw with a strong Puerto Rican fan base. Mayweather will move up to 154 pounds for the fight, a weight class Cotto has thrived in since moving up following two hellacious beatings at the hands of Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito.

Cotto is a good fighter, in the top two or three viable non-Pacquiao opponents out there. But within minutes of Mayweather's announcement, Mayweather vs. Cotto was trending on Twitter, and the majority of the responses weren't favorable:

@Khleo_T: Mayweather vs Cotto ??? Are you serious?! Come on man

@oguillenjr: What a joke Cotto vs. Mayweather is. Boxing should be ashamed. Stop stealing our money.

@MorganPCampbell: Can't wait to see Mayweather vs. Cotto and Pacquiao vs. a dehydrated junior middleweight or a puffed up junior welterweight. Thanks, boxing.

Let's get started on the Pacquiao-Mayweather blame game. This is on Pacquiao for not being more assertive, for not telling Bob Arum that this was the fight he wanted and there would be no other. Sure, Arum dazzled him with images of a 40,000-seat outdoor stadium and said if you just hold out for a later date, we can cash a bigger check. But Pacquiao would have made north of $35 million to fight Mayweather, and with seemingly no limit on how high the ticket prices could soar, he probably could have made up close to the difference.

This is on Arum, for being unwilling to set aside his disdain for Al Haymon, Richard Schaefer and Oscar De La Hoya, and make a good-faith attempt to cut a deal. Arum was never properly motivated to make this fight, not with millions to be made matching Pacquiao against in-house opponents like Tim Bradley or Juan Manuel Marquez. Yes, Pacquiao-Mayweather is good for boxing, but working with Haymon, Schaefer and De La Hoya isn't good for Arum.

This is on Mayweather, too, regardless of what his propaganda patrol would have you believe. From his bizarre and totally unnecessary announcement weeks before Pacquiao-Marquez in November that he would return on May 5 at the MGM Grand to his recent reported assertion that he would not accept a 50-50 split, Mayweather has driven wedge after wedge between himself and this fight. He knows Arum and knows how his former promoter would react to being dictated a date, location and a venue for this event. He could have operated discreetly and instructed his employees to deal with the shadowy Todd duBoef behind the scenes. Instead he took to Twitter, initiating a public pie fight that he had to know would end badly.

For now we will be frustrated, vent over another opportunity lost. We will tell ourselves we will disengage from this process, let the dream of this mega fight go. But when Mayweather waxes Cotto in May and Pacquiao thumps probable opponent Tim Bradley in June, we will open that door again, hoping, as Arum has suggested, that a deal can be made for the fight in November. Hoping, once again, that this time Lucy doesn't pull the ball away.

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