Looking at Mayweather vs. Pacquiao
This Saturday, the fight almost seven years in the making will finally take place as the undefeated Floyd Mayweather steps into the ring with multiple division champion, Manny Pacquiao. The political hurdles that are too often seen in the current boxing landscape almost prevented the bout from happening and controversy persisted as recent as last week, as a disagreement about ticket distribution delayed tickets to the live event going on sale to the public. As ridiculous as the ticket fiasco is, it should be no surprise, considering that almost every aspect of the fight was a potential roadblock for the contest to be signed during the past few years. However, the fight is official and it's already sold out, but why is the fight finally going to happen?
Floyd Mayweather seemed hesitate to agree to fight Manny Pacquiao in the past, which promoted much speculation that Floyd was more concerned with preserving his unbeaten record than a mega fight with the Filipino star. Was Mayweather ducking Manny? It's possible, but at the time, there were notable fighters to challenge him and he strategically chose when to fight certain challengers to ensure his undefeated streak remained, while questions about the potential Pacquiao fight persisted after each Mayweather victory. Floyd, who is a very smart business man, embraced the role of the villain during his career and part of the draw for his fight was that fans were paying it see if he would be defeated. Ultimately, the general public realized that Floyd was only going to fight competitors he knew that he was favored to beat and while the pay-per-view numbers were strong, there were various reports that Showtime lost money on a few Mayweather fights because the buy rates didn't cover the amount of money he making on his contract. Basically, the audience doesn't want to pay $60 for glorified exhibition fights where Floyd uses his spectacular defensive skills to win a lopsided decision against fighters that are skilled, but no real threat to him.
In my opinion, the contest was inked because without a credible opponent, Floyd wouldn't have made the record payday he had in previous bouts and after the Pacquiao fight was discussed for several years, the buzz around it began to decline. In truth, this is a fight that should have happened five years ago and there was a certain "if it's going to happen, it has to happen now" aspect to it, as interest in the match-up was dwindling because many fans assumed it just wasn't going to happen. As mentioned, Mayweather is a businessman and he wasn't going to leave the money for the most profitable fight in history on the table so he's willing to risk his unblemished record for it.
In many respects, the story writes itself as both competitors are on different ends of the spectrum in terms of their public perception. The brash Mayweather flaunts his wealth and he knows his role as boxing's top heel only brings him a better payoff after each fight. Manny Pacquiao, who grew up in poverty, is an elected official in his home country and he has done extensive charity work to help the citizens there. Floyd Mayweather also had five domestic violence incidents since 2002 with the most recent in 2011, which resulted in him serving two months in jail in 2012. There's no doubt that Floyd Mayweather is a tremendous boxer, but the domestic violence charges prove he's a coward.
So, who wins this battle of boxing's two biggest stars? Mayweather is favored to win and considering that he's undefeated, he should be given the edge prior to the bout. Floyd is a defensive technician and his ability to make his opponent miss while counterpunching is what makes him successful. Obviously, speed is the key to the formula and even at 38, he remains sharp in the ring. Manny is known for his speed as well, but also brings a powerful punch to the ring, which was seen in his most recent fight with Chris Algieri, as Pacquiao sent the challenger to the canvas six times on his way to a one-sided decision win. In my view, speed is the key to the entire fight and it could quite possibly be the determining factor. If Floyd can avoid Manny's punches, there will be another Mayweather win in the books, but if Pacquiao can match speed with Floyd, the boxing world could see a loss on his record. If I had to guess, (and this is more of a guess than anything) I have to say I think Floyd Mayweather will get the decision win, but hopefully, I'm wrong because I want to see Pacquiao get the victory.
Some have called this "the fight of the century," but I wouldn't go that far, considering a lot of that is based around the hype of the bout. However, it's certainly the biggest fight of the past decade and the only comparable contest was the Mike Tyson vs. Lennox Lewis fight in 2002. With a price tag of $89.99 on pay-per-view, Mayweather/Pacquiao will set records and it's definitely an event the entire sports world will be watching, but will this clash boost the sport of boxing as a whole? The effects of Mayweather vs. Pacquiao remain to be seen, but there's certainly an array of talent that will be showcasing their skills in the following weeks so hopefully it will generate more viewers towards the sport. Regardless, it's good to see that on a weekend with various sports scheduled, including the NFL draft, that boxing will take center stage and hopefully it will be an entertaining fight.