The year 2020 will go down in infamy as a marker for a changing point for the world and the sport of boxing.
This past week, boxing returned to airwaves as Top Rank began their new summer series on ESPN showcasing fights at the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas with a plethora of safety protocols to help combat any spread of the coronavirus.
Adding to the insanity that is 2020 is a potential bout between two of the most popular pugilists in the sport.
“Manny might want to go a little higher and fight GGG or one of those guys who’s supposed to be the best,” stated Roach. “I would not advise him to go to 160 pounds, no. That would be a little crazy. But putting him at 147 was a risk at one time, and it worked out really good for us.”
Is it possible that we see a matchup between IBF Middleweight champion, Gennadiy Golovkin (40-1-1, 35 KOs) and Pacquiao?
To hear Pacquiao’s longtime trainer mention the Filipino moving up to the Middleweight division to challenge Golovkin is surprising.
The biggest opponent the current WBA Welterweight champion faced was in 2010 when he took on Mexico’s Antonio Margarito at a catchweight of 150 pounds for the vacant WBC Super Welterweight title.
The bout with Margarito took place almost 10 years ago, and for many is the last time a peak, in his prime Pacquiao showed up in the squared circle.
Pacquiao won a wide unanimous decision over Margarito in a bout that should have been stopped due to the damage that was caused to the Mexican’s right eye socket.
The match was still tough on the Filipino as he spent the night of the fight in a hospital in recovery from the damage he sustained from the bigger Margarito.
Pacquiao on the night of the fight weighed 148 pounds, while Margarito weighed at a much stouter 165 pounds, including an advantage in height as the Mexican stood at 5’11 to Pacquiao’s 5’5.
The Catchweight King
Many of the Filipino’s critics have maligned his career for having what is perceived as a vast amount of catchweight bouts.
In total, Pacquiao has had four catchweight fights. He had a string of catchweight fights in November 2009, November 2010 and November 2011.
In November 2009, Pacquiao faced Miguel Cotto at a catchweight of 145 pounds for the WBO Welterweight title.
This bout would seem to be the one that has garnered the most amount of criticism towards Pacquiao as the catchweight was unnecessary with Cotto being a perfect style for the Filipino.
The final two catchweight bouts that Pacquiao participated in were against his greatest rival, Juan Manuel Marquez and Chris Algieri.
Both fights took place at 144-pounds for Pacquiao’s WBO Welterweight title. These catchweight matchups were of little consequence as both Marquez and Algieri were moving up from the 140-pound division.
With 150-pounds being the highest weight Pacquiao has ever fought at, it’s probable that a potential bout with Golovkin would also take place at a catchweight.
The last time Pacquiao moved up two weight classes was in December 2008 when he moved up from the Lightweight division to Welterweight to take on Oscar De La Hoya.
At that time, Pacquiao was 29 years of age, and De La Hoya was 35.
In 2020, Pacquiao is 41-years old, and Golovkin is 38 years old.
Over his last few fights, Golovkin has looked more vulnerable.
In his previous bout, Golovkin was lucky to escape with a unanimous decision over Sergiy Derevyanchenko in a fight that was an all-out war that could have easily been scored for Derevyanchenko.
However, Golovkin’s supposed vulnerability has come against elite Middleweights, such as Daniel Jacobs, Derevyanchenko and Saul Alvarez.
Currently, Golovkin has a mandatory for his IBF Middleweight title against Poland’s Kazil Szeremeta.
In 2018 the IBF stripped Golovkin of their title when he chose to face Vanes Martirosyan instead of his mandatory Derevyanchenko before a rematch with Alvarez.
It seems unlikely that the IBF would allow Golovkin to defend his title against a Welterweight instead of Szeremeta.
For Golovkin, a bout with Pacquiao would only serve him monetarily. A win over a 41-year old Pacquiao at Middleweight would likely only bring the Kazakh criticism instead of praise.
A loss to Pacquiao would be vastly detrimental to Golovkin as his standing historically at Middleweight would be significantly diminished.
A win over Golovkin for Pacquiao would make him a nine-division champion and would be ranked as one of the Filipino’s greatest victories.
A win or loss would depend on whether Pacquiao would be able to take Golovkin’s punches, especially those to the body.
Pacquiao is still good enough to defeat most of the top-10 Welterweights and be competitive against the elite in the division. He would have an advantage in hand and foot speed, but Golovkin, even if he is no longer at his peak, is well-schooled and has the power to send the Filipino into retirement in devastating fashion.
Pacquiao-Golovkin would fall under the same category as fights like Canelo Alvarez vs. Amir Khan, Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor and even Golovkin’s bout with Kell Brook in 2016, where they are more spectacle than sport.
2020 has been one of the strangest years in boxing and human history, helping a potential Pacquiao-Golovkin bout fit right in.