Let’s get something straight first, and this is coming from a Mexican who actually grew up in Mexico: Mexicans don’t really celebrate “Cinc-oh Day May-oh”. (And if you’re on Remezcla, you probably know this – but it’s worth putting out there, just for the record). Of course, we acknowledge Cinco de Mayo as an important date in Mexico’s history, but we don’t give it all the bells and whistles we give the real Mexican Independence Day (16 de Septiembre), which is celebrated with parades, the president addressing the nation, etc.
But here in the U.S., Cinco de Mayo is a whole thing. And for decades, many first and second generation Mexicans (and gringos) have been celebrating the holiday by
drinking too much tequila watching Mexican boxing icons duke it out in the ring. It all started in the late 80s and 90s, when Julio Cesar Chavez, perhaps the most important figure in Mexican boxing history, began staging his biggest fights in Los Angeles and Las Vegas on Mexican holidays like Cinco de Mayo and Mexican Independence day. Fighting against American opponents for Championship honors, or other Latino warriors for Latino pride, these dates soon became symbolic – both for the fighters and for the fans. After Julio, other iconic Mexican boxers like Juan Manuel Marquez, Erik Morales, and Marco Antonio Barrera, followed suit. By the time Mexican-American legend Oscar De La Hoya came around, beating fighters like Rafael Ruelas and Julio Cesar Chavez in the mid 90s, Cinco de Mayo and Mexican boxers were like PB& J.
Until Floyd Mayweather came along.
Back in 2007, the “Golden boy” Oscar De La Hoya fought then rising star Floyd “Money” Mayweather for all the marbles on May 5th. Floyd was shaping what would become his boxing villain persona, and showed up to the match in a full mariachi outfit to get under De La Hoya’s skin and push Mexican-American fans’ buttons.
It worked. Floyd won a very close split decision, taking over Oscar’s belt AND our holidays. The master defensive fighter has the skills to adjust to any style, and his marketing skills are equal to his ring IQ. Being a resident of Las Vegas and all about his dineroh, Mayweather quickly realized the 2 Mexican holidays were big money makers, and began to stage his fights exclusively on the weekends of Cinco de Mayo and Mexican Independence day. It made sense at first, when the matches were against Mexican or even just Latino opposition – like Puerto Rican superstar Miguel Cotto or Argentine slugger Marcos “Chino” Maidana. But since everyone has fallen short of giving Mayweather his first loss, we’ve lost not just the fights, but our big beer boxing fiesta. Just like that, Cinco de Mayo became Cinco de Mayweather, and Mexicanos all over have had enough.
Adding insult to injury is the boring style with which Mayweather has managed to accomplish this. When Julio Cesar Chavez (107 professional fights with 86 KOs) used to fight, he’d put it all on the line. We needed a hero and Julio was our guy, all of Mexico would come to a standstill in order to watch him box, brawl, bob and weave through the attacks of bigger, stronger opponents and punish their bodies until they dropped. Julio’s relentless Mexican style of attack is what made those holiday weekends grand, worthy of gathering family and friends together around carne asada and homemade salsa, to watch the matches – and it was a legacy that all our boxers strove to live up to. Floyd, on the other hand, has defeated everyone in front of him with graceless defensive style. I can’t deny that he’s a master of defense, which boxing purists (myself included), consider an art form. But Mexicanos love to see wars! And Floyd hasn’t given us a KO since 2007. (Yes, you read right. I’m not counting the cheap shot against Victor Ortiz in 2011).
So now, retired boxer turned promoter De La Hoya is on a mission to take back the date from Mayweather, who has only 2 fights left in his contract with Showtime. Let us analyze Floyd’s last moves, Oscar’s master plan and our 3 real options:
Floyd Mayweather vs Saul “Canelo” Alvarez
Canelo has gone on record saying he’ll be fighting to take back both Mexican holidays in 2015. “Everybody knows that Oscar is getting me May 2 and September,” he told The Ring last month. “Those are the Mexican holidays, and they belong to the Mexican fighters. Everybody knows those are the Mexican holidays and the traditional dates for the Mexican fighters.” This would be the second time Canelo faces off against Mayweather; in 2013, in what was boxing’s highest grossing fight of all time, he came up short on a split decision against Mayweather. Canelo showed up with the wrong game plan, trying to outbox one of the best boxers and defensive fighters the sport has ever seen. In a rematch, it’s all in Canelo’s hands – if he shows up to fight and attacks Mayweather, he has a puncher’s chance.
Floyd Mayweather vs Miguel Cotto
This one could really mess with Oscar and Canelo’s plans. In their first fight, The Puerto Rican Superstar (now middle weight champion of the world) did show up to fight and won some clear rounds, giving Mayweather a bloody nose. But Mayweather adjusted well, and Cotto ran out of steam in the late rounds. Cotto has found his second wind with Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach in his corner, and it would be fun to watch him go at it with Floyd one more time under Freddie’s guidance.
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao
This is the one we are all waiting for. The fight has been in the making for the last 5 years and it looks like it could finally happen this year, as both parties have been very vocal about it. I believe this could be a Trilogy for both parties to cash in for one last time (or three) before retirement. “But Manny is not even Latino,” you may point out. Yes, but at this point we will take whatever we can get to dethrone Mayweather. Plus, as we pointed out last year, Latinos and Filipinos are primos. Manny is a great warrior with a great offensive style, and a very respectful athlete who fought toe to toe against some of our big Mexican stars. He won some and he lost a few to earn great respect among the Mexican-American Boxing fans.
De La Hoya’s Master Plan
Stage Canelo vs Cotto on May 5th (“Floyd’s date”) So Mayweather has no one to fight but Manny Pacquiao. Of course, Mayweather could fight someone else, but really no one would watch, since Canelo vs Cotto is a huge fight a lot of fans want to see. The only fight that could top Canelo vs. Cotto is Floyd vs. Pacquiao, which would be the biggest fight in Boxing History and Mayweather’s biggest test yet. De La Hoya has already gone on record to say that if he locks in Canelo vs Cotto he will only move the fight from May 5th if Mayweather fights Pac on that date.
So, Canelo, Cotto, Manny and Oscar we place this big responsibility on your fists, to give Floyd “Money” Mayweather his first loss and get us back our “5 dee Mayoh” so we can go back to not celebrating it. As a form of gratitude to whomever completes this hard task we can probably arrange a lifetime supply of the now Anheuser-Bush owned and watered down “Cervaysa Cor-oh-na.”