D. Gulley for the Shop Report with my picks for the 2015 NBA Conference championships. Let’s get right to it.

Western Conference Finals

(1) Golden State Warriors (67-15) vs (2) Houston Rockets (56-26)

Let’s quickly get the obvious out of the way.  The Warriors bring 2015 league MVP Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and a high tempo offense.  The Rockets counter with MVP runner-up James Harden, Dwight Howard and an ever-resilient Rockets team with inside-outside versatility.

Now let’s get to the unknown…

The Warriors have been surprisingly the best team in the league from wire to wire in the regular season with a first year coach Steve Kerr.  Offense gets the glory but defense wins championships, and the Warriors are a thickly veiled defensive juggernaut.  Teams shoot worst overall against the Warriors than anyone else, and teams shoot fifth-worst from 3 point land, thank Andre Iguoldala and Harrison Barnes for this.  Both the Warriors and Rockets collect rebounds as effectively as one another, which gets lost under the lights of the shooting prowess let by Curry and Thompson.  The Warriors are sixth in the league in steals, which turn into extra possessions, and extra points. Most surprising is the Warriors are second in the league in blocks while Dwight Howard and Josh Smith and company are a respectable tenth in the league.  Consider this, the Warriors went through the Pelicans featuring Anthony Davis, and the “Grind House” Grizzles, teams with an inside presence if nothing else, and beat them soundly to advance to this point.  Clearly, the Warriors can win the inside game, now they must face a team with both an inside and outside presence featuring Harden and Howard.  A lot of attention gets made to James Harden’s disinterest in playing defense, but he averages nearly 2 steals per game and 1.5 in the playoffs.  Needless to say, Harden is the straw that stirs the drink for the Rockets’ offense, and Dwight Howard is the ice that keeps it cool.  The dual threat of an interior and exterior presence that will test the dexterity of the Warriors defensively.  The Rockets, however, survived a pressure cooker of facing elimination and winning, coming from a 3-1 deficit against the Clippers.  This is a tremendous effort, enough that lacking home court advantage is not a problem for the Rockets.

All in all, the Warriors have what it will take to advance to the NBA Finals because the depth of their offensive contributions and stealthily stellar defense.

PICK: GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS

Eastern Conference Finals

(1) Atlanta Hawks (60-22) vs (2) Cleveland Cavaliers (53-29)

The Atlanta Hawks arrive with the Eastern Conference’s best record but not the conference’s best talent (arguably).  I’m certain they beg to differ.  Unfortunately, team sports are most identified by singular star power, and the Hawks are the case in point.  But 60 times this season, their opposition recognized just who they were.  On the season, the Hawks lack a single 20-point scorer, with power forward Paul Millsap averaging 16.7 points followed by center Al Horford with 15.9 points.  Small forward DeMarre Carroll at 17.1 points actually has the Hawks’ highest scoring average in the playoffs.  Night in and night out, Hawks veteran shooting guard Kyle Korver proves to be a problem for teams that don’t account for him.  Only the Golden State Warriors have more assists on the year than the Hawks, that means everyone is a part of their success; the whole is greater than the sum total of its parts.  It is in this fashion that he Hawks have been referred to has the Spurs-East.  And it will take every bit of the collective effort to beat the Cavs.  What’s special about both the Hawks and the Cavs is that they do not send teams to the charity stripe a lot, as they are second and first respectively in free throw attempts allowed.  Key for the Hawks is that they force turnovers and are fifth in points allowed, this is where they’re most Spurs-like.

Now about they’re opposition…

The Cleveland Cavs are as bi-polar a team as you can get.  Due to trades and injuries, they are not at all the same team that started the season and held a losing record at one point in January.  Featuring LBJ, arguably the best overall player in the league and Kyrie Irving emerging as a dual first or second option on offense, they are easily the toughest matchup the Hawks will face in the playoff run (save a potential matchup with the Warriors).  What stymies most of the Cavs competition, is that they refuse (or fail) to allow Lebron James to be a factor while containing the others, making him as deadly a threat as ever.  This is compounded by Timofey Mozgov at center and J.R. Smith at guard who are capable third and fourth scoring options at all times.  Last, and most certainly not least, Iman Shumpert embraces on the ball defense which he has been lauded for since he arrived in the league only 3 seasons ago.

Key to this series is understanding the moment, and the emotions therein.  This is an advantage that the Cavaliers have because of Lebron James – like him or not.  Tangibly, the ability to rely on a clutch scorer, or volume scorer is yet another advantage that the Cavaliers hold, though the Hawks have been successful at times in their regular season matchup.  The Cavs bring more to the table than the Hawks and I would therefore be pleasantly surprised to see the Hawks emerge in this series.  Alas, this is about what I expect, not what I would be surprised to see, therefore look for the Cavs to win.

PICK: CLEVELAND CAVALIERS

We’ll surely be back with the NBA Finals preview, stay tuned.

The is D. Gulley for The Shop Report

NFC Championship

Green Bay Packers (12-4) @ Seattle Seahawks (12-4)

The winner of this game is far less ambiguous than many would like to believe.  But since there’s only one other matchup this week, it appears that many are compelled to stretch every scenario on how the Packers can upset the Seahawks.

To the advantage of the Packers, they’ve faced a tougher schedule since November than the Seahawks including the playoff matchup (based on records – which at deceiving at times) began and including playoffs.   The Packers turnover margin at -15, is lower than the Seahawks at -12.  This means that both teams force more mistakes than they commit.  Where do the Seahawks have an advantage?  The thing about the tale of the tape is that, like the weather, it sets the likely conditions, but it is truly a coincidence when the weather is exactly as it’s laid out to be.  We’re not dealing with the weather, we’re dealing with the defending champion Seahawks who have played up to their level of expertise, not the level of their competition.  Also, the Packers don’t defend the run well, and this will be their demise, as all the other intangibles for each team are a push.  Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson will use this to their advantage.   The Seahawks can also play the slow game – low scoring affairs and the Packers cannot.  The Packers don’t win if they score less than 24 points and the Seahawks D is potent enough to keep the scoring low.  Conversely, the Seahawks have 5 wins  scoring under 20 points.  Notice, that none of this factors in a possibly less than mobile Aaron Rodgers.  Pick the Seahawks to win this matchup.

PICK: SEAHAWKS

AFC Championship

Indianapolis Colts (11-5) @ New England Patriots (12-4)

This is where The Shop Report is in discord – Barbershop J likes the Patriots and D. Gulley likes the Colts.  I’ll tell you why but first I’ll acknowledge my irrational decision making.  Looking at the schedule, the 2014 Colts won and lost to all the teams they should.  I cannot find an upset on their schedule for or against them.  This doesn’t bode well for a playoff team, because the post-season always includes the best of the best.  Upon closer examination, the win over the Broncos last week actually fits this narrative.  Furthermore, the Colts don’t have the best defense, and stopping the run will prove troublesome.  The body of work that the 2014 Patriots have compiled is remarkable, capped by a comeback from a 14 point deficit against a rival in Baltimore last week.  I’m not sure what the stats say, but TE Dwayne Allen is the team leader in TD receptions which means that the Colts have a variety of options in the read zone should they get there (and they will, often).  The Colts are amazingly resilient, having the ability to overcome Andrew Lucks turnover tendencies (he’s more Brett Favre than many people realize).  And still, Tom Brady hates pressure – the type that does not come from the situation but from the play-to-play attacking.  If the Colts can win, they will do so by keeping Tom Brady busy and calming Luck down.  I think it’s the clutch performances that I’ve seen the Colts display that have me picking this team to shock the world and advance to the Super Bowl to lose against the Seahawks.  Same goes for the Patriots if my intuition does not serve me correctly.

PICK: COLTS

Up until the NFL gave the Cowboys a late christmas present by picking up the flag thrown against rookie linebacker Anthony Hitchens against the Lions in the Wild Card,  I wanted to see the Boys get it all this year. I don’t now. I think that “falsity” (my word) cost the Lions not only the game, but the momentum as well.  Nothing says ebb and flow like NFL football, especially in the playoffs. Do the Boys have a chance? Yes. Boys’ defense has played well under Marinelli this season by simply rallying to the football every snap. I could care less about his calf injury, rallying to the football is only a nice sentiment when facing Aaron Rodgers. And all this talk from the national pundits about the weather is stomach turning. They cry about the game being to soft, but add to the softness of it all by going on and on about the weather. How bout we let the teams line up and just play football!!

Packers vs. Cowboys: Boys’ have the offensive firepower (for once) to role with the Pack, and don’t have to rely solely on the arm of Tony “oh-no” as has been the case in years past. Dez Bryant is just as formidable as Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb combined. With a little more healing time under his belt, rushmaster Murray is ready to match anything Eddie Lacy may be ready to bring. The difference in this one will be Rodgers ability to fit the ball into tight windows versus Dez having to climb the ladder to grab one of Romo’s over-throws. That is okay once in awhile, but not for a steady diet. PICK: Packers

Talk surrounding the deterioration of Peyton Manning’s skills from the “experts” is quite concerning and confusing at the same time. On one hand, Manning is still one of the best, but it’s doubtful that he is the same. Huh?!!  Anyway, I think it has far less to do with his supposedly diminishing skills at it does his less than stellar post-season performances that pale in comparison to his historical regular season accolades. As great as Manning is, there is cause for concern whenever his teams get to the playoffs. It’s no accident that many would hesitate to bet on a Manning-led Broncos squad that has home- field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Broncos vs. Colts:  Andrew Luck has what it takes to play QB in the NFL, but i’m not so sure he alone has what it takes this week against the Broncos. Any defensive unit with D Qwell Jackson on it is suspect to say the least. Colts running game is what wins this contest, not Luck. Averaging a paltry 100 yds per game in the regular season, the Colts are second behind the Carolina Panthers this post-season in the run department at 114.0 per game. As I mentioned earlier, Manning is not a sure bet at home; an vastly improved defense can be. Broncos were 3rd in total defense in the regular season. This game comes down to the Broncos D vs. Colts run game. PICK:  Colts

This is a contest that is no contest at all. I think Cam Newton’s development as a ” Passer” is still in need of much work, and is overshadowed by his unbelievable physical gifts. That’s why I was a little surprised to hear all the national pundits ” OverPraising” the Panthers victory over the Arizona Cardinals in the WildCard round.  If the NFL is truly a Quarterback driven league, how much credit can be given the Panthers when the Cardinals were down to their ” No String”  QB Ryan Lindley? The same Ryan Lindley who was quarterback at San Diego State while in college. To be honest, I didn’t know San Diego State still had a football program, and you didn’t either. Bottom line, the way the Panthers win over the Cards was celebrated was unprofessional and unsportsmanlike to say the least.

The Seattle Seahawks are most definitely on the other end of the spectrum. Wilson is still Wilson, and the Hawks D may not be what it was in terms of the impact of last year’s SB run, but it still has ball-hawking Earl Thomas, ” The Chancellor”, Richard Sherman, and a foundation that allows for all the stars lights to shine, but not so much so that they outshine the team’s!!  Hawks have a chance to go down in the NFL record books should they somehow pull off what is a rare feat and repeat. I say Cam and co. get a huge serving of humble pie. PICK:  Seahawks

Man oh man, did the Steelers ever miss the services of Leveon Bell against the dreaded North rival Baltimore Ravens. It wasn’t the clash that it normally seems to be when these two get together, but it wasn’t tennis either. I thought the Steel curtain pedigree would eventually win out, but Joe Flacco’s pedigree (in the post-season) was to rule the day; and rule it did. Say what they want, the one team in this post season (any post-season for that matter) the vaunted Patriots did not want to see is these Ravens. Why?  Because home field advantage can be a disadvantage when facing off against the Ravens.

Ravens @ Patriots:  Brady vs. Dumervil & Suggs is what this matchup will ultimately come down to. Brady has a knack for taking lesser-knowns and making more out of them than the law should allow, and knowing how, and when to use ” The Gronk”  should the situation arise. Ray Lewis is no longer the anchor of a defense that is known for being formidable, but Suggs and Dumervil seems to have picked up the slack quite nicely. Brett Favre may have gotten most of the fanfare, and Desmond Howard the MVP (SB XXXI), but is was the pass-rushing ability of the late Reggie White that set the tone. Because the Ravens have probably the best pass-rushing duo of any team left in this year’s post-season, I pick: Ravens.

On the NFC side of thing’s, the bracket is a little less hectic. How many people are expecting the Cowboys to fail? More than what should be the case I bet. The fact that the Boys’ are in it this time of year is remarkable to say the least. There’s some murmurs that the Cards’ Fitzgerald may soon be out in Zona’. that’s too bad, cause he is still a better than, viable option with a decent quarterback. Here’s what’s goin down in the NFC Wild card Round:

Lions @ Cowboys: I like the job Jim Caldwell has done with the Lions this year, but I don’t like the fact he, nor management has done much to get Suh to understand just how detrimental his antics have become. With Megatron Lions have a legit shot, but Cowboys are playin like this is the year that matters more than any other. PICK: Cowboys

Cardinals @ Panthers: Too bad for Arians’ Cardinals that the don’t have a better option at Quarterback. This is the time of year where having one can make all the difference in the world, and I believe the Cards’ will be unfairly bashed as a result should they lose this game at home. Panthers record says they don’t deserve to be here, but Cam says regardless of record, we in!!! And that’s all that matters. PICK: Panthers

Now that the pretenders are out of the way, the stage is now set for the remaining six contenders to duke it out for the right to represent the AFC in Super Bowl XLIX (49).  I know most people will tell you the “Braytriots” are the obvious choice, but it’s the AFC North that continues to be the litmus test come playoff time. How else do you explain half of this year’s playoff contestants from the North?  While you chew on that last tidbit, here are the proclamations to endcap another eventful NFL season.

WILD CARD ROUND:

Ravens @ Steelers: This is a real ‘Clash of the Titans’ if there ever was one. When these two square off, a catastrophe is soon to follow. Both have lost games this season (at home) that made you think they were on the way to dismal finishes, and yet here they are in the playoffs; a place where their pedigree is unquestioned. PICK: I CAN’T;  Whoever wins may end up going all the way.

Bengals @ Colts:  Is it time for Dalton to prove he’s playoff ready?  YES!!   It’s also time for the Colts to show that the Trent Richardson deal was not a mistake. PICK: Bengals, cause Colts have Richardson and DQwell Jackson.

Let’s get right to the action for this penultimate week to the 2014 regular season…

Tennessee Titans (2-11) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (2-11)
Look at the records and ask yourself if you were really interested in my thoughts for the winner.
PICK: OMITTED

Philadelphia Eagles (9-5) @ Washington Redskins (3-11)
No upset here, the Eagles still have much too much for the Redskins and are looking to turn around a two game slide.
Pick: EAGLES

San Diego Chargers (8-6) @ San Francisco 49ers (7-7)
This one is going to be tough, but I’m going to pick the Chargers to end their winless drought on the road thanks to vintage Philip Rivers at QB
Pick: CHARGERS

Detroit Lions (9-4) @ Chicago Bears (5-9)
The Lions are surging, beating the teams that they should for the last three weeks.  Benching Cutler as QB will not bring enough continuity to beat a league leading defense.
Pick: LIONS

Baltimore Ravens (9-5) @ Houston Texans (7-7)
I think this is a win for Baltimore, with the running game as strong as its been.

Pick: RAVENS

Green Bay Packers (10-4) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-12)
Expect Green Bay to win this one, no upset this week.  Aside from the Saints (who could still end up at .500) the Packers have not lost this year to a sub .500 team.

Pick: PACKERS

Atlanta Falcons (5-8) @ New Orleans Saints (6-8)
The only thing worse than a Saints defense is the Falcons, which perplexes me because they each practice against an elite QB week after week.  Pick the Saints to seize and hold the division lead.
Pick: SAINTS

Minnesota Vikings (6-8) @ Miami Dolphins (7-7)
I like the Dolphins to hold serve and win at home given their ability to (usually) shut down opponents passing attack.

Pick: DOLPHINS

Cleveland Browns (7-7) @ Carolina Panthers (5-8-1)
A neophyte at NFL QB Manziel vs a QB returning from a car accident, Cam Newton.  The one thing that the Browns do well is force turnovers, but if the offense doesn’t stay on the field long enough they’ll get what happened last week, a loss.  Same story here.

Pick: PANTHERS

New England Patriots (11-3) @ New York Jets (3-11)
Just like the records indicate, where the Jets struggle, the Patriots excel.  I’m picking the Patriots to win.
Pick: PATRIOTS

Kansas City Chiefs (8-6) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5)
Steelers winning ways will be on full display.  The Steelers will have a tough time with the Chief’s passing defense but the Steelers are far from a one-trick pony.  The Chiefs will soon find out
Pick: STEELERS

Stay Tuned for more Picks!!!

New York Giants (5-9) @ St. Louis Rams (6-8)
The never say die Rams are continuing to surprise teams with their tough defense.  But the Giants are prepared, and with Mr. Beckam continuing to produce, I think the Giants will take this one
Pick: GIANTS

Indianapolis Colts (10-4) @ Dallas Cowboys (10-4)
Home field advantage means to the Cowboys as all of their 4 losses were home games.  Then again, as long as their not hosting beyond the divisional round, they’re doing themselves a favor by knowing how to win on the road.  This week though, the Cowboys will figure it out for the home finale (regular season).
Pick: COWBOYS

Buffalo Bills (8-6) @ Oakland Raiders (2-12)
What the Bills did last week was not a fluke, beating Green Bay was a testament to fearless and imposing defense.  Look for them to finish this game on top.
Pick: BILLS

Seatlle Seahawks (10-4) @ Arizona Cardinals (11-3)
The Seahawks have been winning lately by dictating the opponents offense with the Legion of Boom.  No reason for it to change this week.
Pick: SEAHAWKS

Denver Broncos (11-3) @ Cincinnati Bengals (9-4-1)
Trending against the Bengals is that they’ve lost to Brady, Luck, and Roethlisberger; QBs that can truly pass the ball. Trending for the Bengals is that the Broncos pass defense is also rather porous.  All in all, I think the Broncos will get this one.
Pick: BRONCOS

D. Gulley for The Shop Report

I’ve made the obscure proclamation that I believe that Pacquiao will beat Mayweather in a match, until Mayweather decides to fight him.  Now, it appears closer to becoming a possibility.  But TBE must realize that his legacy, great as it is, needs Pacquiao while ‘Pac Man’s does not.  I’ve been rather hard on Mayweather in the past on this very topic; fight selection.  It’s the only flaw in his fighting style, if fight selection were ever to be considered a component of style.  Nonetheless, Mayweather has created this flaw for himself, at least when it comes to Manny Pacquiao and the best non-fight to have never happen (yet).

The Blame Game is an Equal Opportunity Employer

The following were the most persistent excuses for not having this fight:

    • Manny Pacquiao initially refused to agree to Olympic Style drug testing.
      Fueling speculation that the Pac Man packed something extra behind his punch, Manny initially refused to agree to such terms, which had never been placed on him by any previous opponent (even from his rival Juan Manuel Marquez).  For that matter, speculation of Pacquiao’s use of PHDs was not widespread until the accusations by Mayweather.  Though Manny eventually agreed to such terms, Pacquiao’s refusal for any duration should be a credit – not a discredit – to Mayweather’s claim.  Advantage – Mayweather
    • The two sides could not agree to purse split.
      Even though Pacquiao has relented his rather soft stance on the issue in recent days, he should have never done relented in the first place.  This is Mayweather’s fault exclusively, as Pacquiao never demanded more than 50% of the purse, never.  More on this later… Advantage – Pacquiao
    •  The fight can only be promoted by Showtime
      Here’s an argument that I can both understand and disagree.  Mayweather the boxer also has a heavy hand in his fight promotion and the deal he has with Showtime is the product this arrangement.  Manny Pacquiao is promoted by Bob Arum, one of many nemeses of Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather, and therefore Pacquiao has much less do to with promoting fights as Mayweather.  Consequently, Mayweather the promoter can claim that only Showtime can promote the boxer’s fights but the boxer terribly misguided in thinking that his opponent would not want to be represented by his promotion company. No Advantage – push.

Certainly, there could be many more, but there merely white noise when compared to these three fickle ideas that impede the biggest prizefight in sports history.

Mayweather initiates the value of the fight…

Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather is the best pound for pound fighter in the world.  Critics deride his purported ‘cherry-picking’ of opponents but there is a measure of consistency in each of his fights: Mayweather’s supreme skill.  Compubox numbers show better than I can tell that Mayweather is arguably the most highly skilled tactician ever seen in the sport.  He both lands and evades punches more often than all of his opponents.  What Compubox and no other statistical analysis cannot show is how Floyd always adjusts to a fighter during the fight.  Floyd Mayweather is Shang Tsung personified; if his default strategy is somehow not effective, he will use his opponent’s strengths against them (reference his matches against Ricky Hatton, Oscar De La Hoya and Shane Mosley).  This is why he’s unquestionably the best pound-for-pound and his matches, snoozers that they can be at times, are still a sight to see.  Fans, haters and everyone in between can actually watch a fighter show you how to box and protect yourself.  There is no part of his style that would be a risk to emulate, unlike volume punchers who are high risk-high reward (see Manny Pacquiao).  47 victories, no defeats, and always firmly in control of any situation makes him the ulitmate prize-fighter.  Among the many rewards for a prize fighter are many millions of dollars, which is something that Floyd so eagerly enjoys mentioning.  Add to this his arrogant persona, which makes many seethe to see him beaten and you have a certifiable drawing attraction.  This is why the boxing world is waiting to see what’s next for a fighter who has offered so much already and has one, possibly two, more achievements left to accomplish.

…but Pacquiao sustains the value of the fight

As previously stated, we are already aware of what Mayweather brings to a match, well too aware in fact.  When explaining why the two haven’t met, Floyd always regurgitates his body of work, undefeated streak, the win-loss record of Pacquiao and his earning power for each fight.  Yet these are the reasons why he hasn’t fought the next best fighter of his generation?  Manny Pacquiao’s body of work includes winning titles in 8 weight classes.  This feat can also be a latent reason for Mayweather’s PHD accusation lobbied against Pacquiao, as the record outdoes Mayweather’s titles in 5 different weight classes.  He is not undefeated, obviously, but two of his five losses to date include a controversial decision to Timothy Bradley, and a knockout loss to a rival Juan Manuel Marquez who was knocked down earlier in the fight and behind on the judges’ score cards until he rocked the Pac Man.  Nonetheless, he avenged the loss to Bradley and owns the career matchup over Marquez in four fights (which is why we don’t need to see this again).  Pacquiao is nothing if not exciting, and for fans of the action more than the sweet science of boxing, he delivers ten-fold.  He’s a volume puncher who’s increasingly becoming a smarter boxer.  Most significantly, Manny Pacquiao doesn’t have the stigma of dodging opponents in their prime.  Pacquiao didn’t wait long to meet Erik Morales once arriving in the weight class, and avenged his loss in their March 2005 bout only 10 months later.  Pacquiao scored a TKO against Miguel Cotto in 2009 a full 18 months before Cotto met Mayweather.  Aside from Ricky Hatton in 2008, none of the common opponents that Mayweather met first were in their prime (Oscar De La Hoya in 2007, Rafael Marquez in 2009 and Shane Mosley in 2010).  All told, the pound for pound rankings in the eyes of the public have remained Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao respectively, but it has been Floyd Mayweather pushing the discussion further down the road by fighter selection.

The peculiar mind of a multi-millionaire

Strangely, stretching the machine behind this super-fight makes some sense in Floyd’s case.  The frustration of the boxing world behind the non-fight thus far is because Manny has been recognized for years as the last guy left.  This would imply that as previously mentioned, Floyd’s body of work is largely completed if and when the fight happens.  And if so, then what?  Imagine if Mayweather and Pacquiao would have met in 2010 when originally planned, and Floyd won.   What interest would the public have in any of the subsequent fights; what about even a rematch between the two?  What interest would there be in Mayweather vs. Robert Guerrero fight after Mayweather beat Pacquiao? Or, how about Mayweather vs Maidana the first time after a Mayweather victory over Pacquiao?  The difference in these fights occurring before and not after Pacquiao is millions (and The Rock means MILLIONS – check the WWE reference) of dollars.  Floyd would likely tell you that being the number one money earner and earning as much money as you can are in fact mutually exclusive.  Floyd Mayweather has become the highest earning athlete by having never fought the second biggest draw in the sport, Manny Pacquiao – a guy who arguably eclipses Mayweather’s popularity outside of the mainland USA.  So, the case of Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao may not be one of procrastination but of maturation, with an tremendous ROI at start that has amazingly gained interest several years after it would have peaked.  There has been no fighter or matchup able to “shale” the demand of a Mayweather-Pacquiao matchup, so it has not plummeted like oil in recent days.  Rather like gold over the last ten years, it has remained increasingly high.  It remained high because Mayweather kept winning, and Pacquiao kept bringing excitement.  For this reason, Floyd must understand that half of the value in this dream matchup is with Pacquiao, because he’s done his part to remain to sustain the interest.    Pacquiao deserves what two fighters would split.  Mayweather is more than welcome to finagle his “promotional” works into some revenue stream leading from this green lake.  Perhaps too, it annoys Mayweather that his pristine body of work is continually compared to Pacquiao’s which has lost some luster in recent years.  But testing one’s mettle and getting scarred is no excuse for refusing to reward a guy who has ultimately brought half the interest to the fight, no more but certainly no less.  This is why Pacquiao’s legacy is complete with or without a Mayweather match and Mayweather’s is…