Arena: Mayweather, Pacman rematch seems inevitable

Published 12:02 am Saturday, May 9, 2015

Floyd Mayweather says there will be no rematch for Manny Pacquiao, who he now calls a “coward,” this coming a few days after telling Stephen A. Smith that he’d absolutely rematch Pacquiao. And on and on we’ll go for the next six months to a year, until we hear the two are going to throw down yet again and make a boatload of money for it.

The first Mayweather/PacMan didn’t leave many people at all satisfied, but the days following the fight left me feeling that the rematch is already well in the crosshairs of both Mayweather and Pacquiao’s camps. The shoulder injury being trumpeted up gives a plausible reason as to why the fight didn’t deliver, and reason to believe if the two fought again, maybe Mayweather wouldn’t come out looking so good. Leading into the fight, the talk was how Mayweather had plenty of advantages fighting “on his home turf” in Las Vegas. Maybe he’d go Muhammed Ali and take the fight to Pac’s neck of the woods next time?

Regardless, I expect 1. The rematch to happen and 2. Floyd to win a decision after 3. Pac pushes the action, Floyd evades everything and 4. the haters get mad. In other words, rinse and repeat.

While I had split emotions on the Saints Day One draft picks, I thought the rest of their draft was close to a slam dunk. They addressed the secondary and really, really addressed the linebacking corps, and added a ton of athleticism at every level of their defense.

When New Orleans played Seattle in the 2013 postseason, the one thing I could never get past had nothing to do with the Legion of Boom, Russell Wilson or Marshawn Lynch (though all, obviously, presented a ton of problems), but the fact that Seattle boasted a linebacking corps that could outrun the Saints’ wide receivers. It’s hard to win individual matchups consistently when you’re not as big OR fast as your opponent, but that’s the special kind of horror Seattle presents to many opponents.

But the Saints seem to have taken it to heart: two of their linebacker selections ran a 4.5 in the 40, while the third led the nation in sacks. While linebacker has become something of an undervalued position in recent years — so many teams use multiple receivers as their base personnel now, so LB is largely a part time position for many players — having guys who can make explosive plays in the middle of the field can obviously set you apart from the rest.

New Orleans will be gifted with a very soft projected schedule — as will the rest of the NFC South this season — and I think defensive improvement is inevitable.

What will likely determine their fate? Health — this is always the biggest answer when it comes to success on the football field — and the emergence of a few younger receivers. By not drafting a pass catcher or signing one in free agency following the Jimmy Graham trade, the team has given a major vote of confidence in Payton’s offensive playcalling, the ability of Drew Brees, and the unheralded receivers beyond Marques Colston and Brandin Cooks on the depth chart.

The team should have more capability to protect its passer and harrass the opposing quarterback, though, and that alone should lead to more success.