Last Saturday, the world of prize fighting stopped to witness what was supposed to be the “Fight of the Century” between undefeated 38 year-old Floyd Mayweather Jr. and 36 year-old 8 Division World Champion Manny Pacquiao. It felt like every eye in the country – and abroad – was glued to their TV. But after a somewhat uneventful fight in which Mayweather out-pointed Pacquiao, the taste left lingering in everyone’s mouths was one of disappointment. The questions that had excited many of us about the fight were hardly answered. Instead, I’ve seen the same words used to describe the fight over and over: “Disappointment”, “Robbery”, “Running”, “Over-hyped” etc.
So what really happened? Did the promoters and the powers that be over-sell the fight? Or did we all fall into yet another of Floyd Mayweather’s publicity traps?
Let’s analyze and try to explain some of what happened.
Floyd Mayweather is primarily a defensive fighter with a great counter punch and amazing ring IQ. He used to stand in the pocket and trade a bit more back in the day, but as he got older and smarter he realized he didn’t need to trade as much – his superb defensive skill was enough to win the fight without exposing himself.
Manny Pacquiao, on the other hand, is more of a pressure boxer fighter, with amazing footwork and knock-out power. But as he started getting older and going up in weight class, his knock-out power didn’t hold up very well. Manny hasn’t had a KO since 2009.
Last Saturday, we saw Floyd being Floyd: a defensive force moving around the ring, countering just enough to win points round by round without exposing himself. He did the same thing he’d been doing for the last 5 years: showing up NOT TO LOSE and to keep the 0 on his record, period. Thats Floyd, and wanting something else from him is like buying a ticket to a comedy film and then complaining that it’s not serious enough. If it’s worked for him these last 47 fights, he’s not going to change now.
Manny, on the other hand, was were we put all our hope. We expected to see the “killer instinct” that put Oscar De La Hoya into retirement and KO’d many like Miguel Cotto and Richy Hatton, to name just a few. But let’s be real; there were no angles, no 7-punch combinations, no cutting off the ring, nada! What happened? We have to admit those days are long gone, and the Manny we saw was not even the shadow of the hungry KO artist of 2008 and 2009.
So, to make a long story short, the fight was 5 or 6 years too late. What would’ve happened back then? Floyd probably would’ve still out-classed Manny, but with Manny’s killer instinct and Floyd running less, it would’ve definitely made for a much better match up.
To be THE BEST EVER you have to keep fans on the edge of their seats.
So who is to blame? And who really lost? I think there’s plenty of blame to go around, between the promoters, managers, media, networks, and even the fighters – especially TopRank/Team Pacquiao for over-hyping the fight. They compared this fight to the great Tyson and Ali fights. They told us we would finally find out who the best fighter of our generation was, and Freddie Roach and Bob Aurum even promised a KO when they knew their fighter had a shoulder injury (as they’re now reporting aka using as an excuse). Shame on all of you! And now Freddie and Bob are asking for a rematch? Is 100 million dollars not enough?! If your fighter was injured you should’ve postponed the fight! I have to give Floyd a little credit in this department, as he was the more quiet one of the whole bunch. He was focused, quiet and ready to be Floyd, laughing his ass off all the way to the bank.
And who loses? The casual boxing fans lost, and the sport itself lost big time too. We were excited, we made plans, we made chips and salsa. We saved money, placed bets, and pushed each others buttons on social media, hoping we were going to see a thrilling fight, and forgot to read the “Guaranteed Uneventful Romantic Comedy” fine print. That’s why we’re disappointed. It will take a while for fans to pay that much money again for an event after this big disappointment, and I’m pretty sure some fans will start turning to MMA and other sporting events due to the big let down.
The sport of boxing lost too, because the promoters were so focused on how much money they were going to make that they forgot to put on a good show. After kidnapping all the tickets, they missed a great opportunity to put on a great undercard, (knowing that the main event might not be that exciting due to Floyd’s style). Instead, they chose to put Vasyl Lomachenko and Leo Santa Cruz against nobodies, instead of up against quality opposition. Abner Mares vs Leo Santa Cruz would have been a great fight to highlight 5 de Mayo and save the event. What is shameful and disgusting is that the Boxing Powers keep pouring attention and dollars into an arrogant, egocentric fighter with a history of domestic abuse history, instead of helping promote fighters like Chocolatito Gonzalez or Guillermo Rigondeaux – masters of their crafts who are struggling to get air time as the undercards of a main event.
So, Floyd fans you got what you wanted. Your guy kept the 0 on his record, but that’s it. Floyd out-pointed Manny Pacquiao in yet another uneventful display, but remember: to be THE BEST EVER you have to keep fans on the edge of their seats. Floyd has failed to do that for years and years. Maybe time will prove me wrong, but I honestly think Floyd Mayweather will not be remembered with greats like Chavez, Duran, Hearns, Tyson, etc. – boxers who do have a couple of dents on their records but who wear them as medals of honor.
Pacquiao fans: it’s time to accept that the best days of a Great Warrior are behind him. World titles in 8 divisions is unheard of! Congratulations on an amazing career, but its time to hang them up. I believe Pacquiao will be remembered among the greats, and more than anything as the People’s Champ who always put everything on the line to conquer opponents, and made sure fans got a great show. Personally, I will not put this “L” on Floyd’s record – I think we can credit this one to Father Time who never fails to show up at just the right moment.
And last but definitely not least, shame on us boxing fans. We’ve known for years and years how corrupt and full of greedy gangsters boxing is, and we haven’t done much to change the sport we love. Since the Hype-Job of the century turned out to not even be a contender for fight of the week, I for one will be spending my night YouTube-ing Rigondeaux vs Donaire, or Chavez vs Taylor to cleanse my palette and re-live those real works of art.