For all the fans of boxing, Mayweather v. Pacquaio is the fight they have been dreaming about. Long gone are the days of the charismatic heavyweights who carried this sport on their broad shoulders; long gone are the super-fighters of Ali, Frazier, Liston, or even Tyson. The influx of Eastern European champions has caused American interest in boxing to dwindle. Now, boxing is back on the radar from the mere possibility of this super-fight.
Floyd and Manny have a combined twelve title belts. Pacquaio hasn’t lost a fight since 2005. Mayweather hasn’t lost a fight ever. They are the two greatest boxers we have seen in a long time. However, in the wake of this fight’s repeated failed attempts to happen, what boxing fans have long drooled over has a growing sour taste.
The hype originally behind this fight was that it matched the two most skilled fighters in the world. But since then, that hype has been replaced by the ongoing saga of Floyd Mayweather’s image self-destruction.
In 2010, we had what would be our last chance to see the fight between two of boxing’s titans. Due to the two sides being unable to agree to drug testing procedures, the fight fell through. While the disagreement was technically from Pacquaio, Mayweather’s excessive demands made it seem he was not very eager to make this fight happen. Such was the beginning Floyd’s downhill spiral.
With the Pacquaio fight off, Mayweather instead wound up fighting Victor Ortiz. The ending was nothing short of a disaster for Mayweather’s image. Ortiz head butts him, get docked a point, and as they are both touching to acknowledge Ortiz’s apology, Mayweather seizes the opportunity to attack a defenseless Ortiz, resulting in a KO. During the post-fight interview with Larry Merchant, Floyd cursed repeatedly at the octogenarian, spurring the already booing crowd to grow even louder.
As if he hadn’t locked down the role of villain, during re-negotiations with the Pacquaio camp, Mayweather all of sudden demanded a 60-40 revenue split in his favor, something he knew would probably stop the fight from happening. All the while, Manny, the beloved Philippine statesmen who can never be seen without smiling, is watching the entire world rally behind him to knock out the hated Mayweather.
Not that his image could get worse, Mayweather has just recently said the “Lin-sanity” happening in the NBA is entirely due to race. It has nothing to do with a storied NBA franchise in the biggest market finally winning some games and looking like they can actually compete. It’s apparently all due to Lin being Chinese, and not because his performance spurred a long absent roar to rock the Garden against the Lakers. Before this ugly race-related incident, it seemed hard to believe that one could think less of Mayweather at this point. Lo and behold, Mr. Mayweather came through and further damaged his image.
Instead of focusing on the legendary skills of two fighters, Mayweather v. Pacquaio has become the much more mundane match up of a fan-favorite against an arrogant opponent. To be fair, the build-up to Mayweather v. Pacquaio has been a record-setting, sensationalist spectacle, just not the spectacle we were hoping to see.