Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports  |  Last updated 12/10/12

Floyd Mayweather Jr. has spent the better part of the last few years avoiding Manny Pacquiao in the ring, but he has sent plenty of verbal jabs the Filipino’s way. Maybe Mayweather is maturing, because he actually expressed compassion for Pacquiao after Pac-Man lost to Juan Manuel Marquez on Saturday. Mayweather did not see the fight, but he did offer some praise and encouragement for the former champion. “Marquez is a true champion, Manny Pacquiao is a true champion, both of them went out there and put on a good performance, and that’s a good thing for the sport of boxing,” Mayweather told Fight Hype. “I wish Pacquiao nothing but the best. I wish that he can bounce back and he can recoup from this. In the sport of boxing, you have to really dedicate yourself to your craft. You have to really, really dedicate yourself to your craft. I think he’s got so many different things on the outside that he worries about, you know. But it was a good thing that he was able to come into the sport, you know, piggyback off my name, and get a bunch of endorsement deals and make a good living. That’s a great thing.” Maybe Mayweather finally feels relief from the pressure he faced to fight Pacquiao and suddenly feels he can be supportive. Then again, Mayweather also stroked his ego with a backhanded compliment to Pacquiao, saying the Filipino piggybacked off his name. That isn’t at all true; Pacquiao is a hero in the Philippines, has an enormous fan base, and his hero status is independent of Floyd. But Floyd is onto something regarding Pacquiao’s focus. Manny has so many other interests outside boxing– including a career in politics– that it makes one question how dedicated he is to the sport. Even his trainer Freddie Roach has expressed concern about that. As for the $100 million question: Is Floyd interested in finally fighting Pac-Man? He answered that, saying it’s not something Pacquiao should be worried about. “Pacquiao’s focus should be trying to take a vacation, get his mind right, and get a few tune-up fights so he can bounce back,” he told Fight Hype. “I’m not here to talk bad about Pacquiao. I feel bad for him, honestly. I really feel bad for him. There’s a difference in the ways you can get knocked out. See, when a guy gets knocked out and he can get up, they sit him on his stool, they rub his back, he go home and ice himself, you know, he go to the hospital and get checked out and he’s okay, that’s one thing. But when you gotta wake a guy up with smelling salt and he got a concussion and he gotta go to the hospital over night, that’s crucial. I mean, that’s close to the death.” Sounds like we’re not going to be seeing Floyd vs. Manny any time soon. And after the way Saturday’s fight went, there might even be more of a public interest in a fifth Pacquiao-Marquez bout anyhow. “My prayers go out to the Pacquiao family. I know he loves the sport of boxing, so hopefully he can bounce back.” Admit it, those are words you never thought you’d hear Mayweather say.

This article first appeared on Larry Brown Sports and was syndicated with permission.

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