The fight that never happened continued to dominate conversation in an otherwise healthy 2010 for boxing.
A Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr. dream bout remains just that – imaginary – because their representatives twice failed to reach deals on a possible fight between boxing’s best two “pound-for-pound” fighters.
After negotiations failed for a first possible match with Mayweather in March, Pacquiao opted for Joshua Clottey and won a lopsided decision. Talks for another possible fight with Mayweather in November never materialized, and Pacquiao instead fought Antonio Margarito. Despite facing a 17-pound disadvantage, Pacquiao pummeled Margarito’s face throughout the 12-round match and won a convincing decision and his seventh world title in separate weight classes.
Both of Pacquiao’s fights in 2010 were at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Pacquiao attracted more than 40,000 fans in each bout, a welcome sight for a sport that usually holds its marquee fights in Las Vegas.
Mayweather’s one ring appearance of the year was against Shane Mosley in May. Mosley briefly stunned Mayweather with a powerful shot to the head in the second round before Mayweather recovered, played target practice with Mosley’s head the rest of the bout and won a convincing decision.
Mayweather made more news this year for his legal problems, however, which means future fights – including the dream bout with Pacquiao – appear on hold.
The year’s breakout performer was Argentina’s Sergio Martinez. In April, Martinez manhandled Kelly Pavlik, winning a lopsided decision and the world middleweight title. Martinez made his first title defense Nov. 20 and knocked out Paul Williams in two rounds.
The heavyweight division continues to run through Europe. Wladimir Klitschko retained his International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Organization belts with knockout victories over Eddie Chambers and Samuel Peter, and brother Vitali also won two defenses of his World Boxing Council title against Albert Sosnowski and Shannon Briggs.
All four bouts involving the Klitschko brothers were fought before capacity crowds in Germany. And with the division’s third world champion David Haye (World Boxing Association) making two successful defenses of his title in his native England, the United States was shut out of a world heavyweight championship bout in 2010.