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Why I think Mayweather Vs Pacquiao could be a huge letdown.
Boxing spectacle or over hyped stinker? Your guide to how it came about, what to expect and how an act of God could make or break the fight.
Megafight or Megahype? Money talks!
At last! The contracts are signed, training is almost complete and the weigh in is just days away. The biggest fight in boxing history is so close and fans everywhere are going crazy for Mayweather vs Pacquiao. A fight that has been talked about constantly for over 5 years.
If you've lived under a rock for the past 5 years, let me fill you in on the magnitude of this event. Two of boxing's pound for pound best are set to collide May 2nd in one of the most eagerly anticipated fights in the sport's history.
So eagerly anticipated, that the MGM Grand sold out it's entire allocation of public tickets to it's Grand Garden Arena in just 60 seconds. The cheapest tickets were originally priced at $1500. A hefty price to pay for a nosebleed section seat I'm sure you'll agree. Floor seats were originally priced at $10,000.
Since the sellout, secondary ticket prices have been rumored to have reached a staggering $80,000 which borders on insanity. In addition to the gargantuan ticket prices, there will be venues setup to show a closed circuit TV telecast with tickets priced at $150. If that seems a little steep and you'd rather sit back and watch the fight whilst relaxing at home, American viewers are set to be charged $100 to view the fight in HD via PPV. The expected revenue for the fight is expected to be somewhere around $400m.
The demand for this fight has been so great, that the two broadcasting heavyweights, HBO and Showtime, have set aside their firecly competetive agendas to join forces in covering the event. This is the end result of having each fighter signed exclusively to each network. Pacquiao signed to HBO and Mayweather signed to Showtime. Contracts have been thrashed out down to the finest detail including combining the commentators from the rival networks. Even the fighter's introductions and fight result will be conducted by both HBO's legendary Michael Buffer and Showtime's Master of Ceremonies, Jimmy Lennon Jnr.
This type of truce between the networks has happened just once before for the huge spectacle that was Mike Tyson vs Lennox Lewis. Two fearsome heavyweights that captured the public's imagination and produced memorable nights for anyone who watched. Their legacy still stands strong, but the huge revenue generated by their joint effort is set to be easily eclipsed come May 2nd.
Why so big?
So why is the demand for this fight so big? Why is this being hyped to the hills? Why are the public, media and the boxing Gods going nuts over this fight?
To fully understand why is pretty simple. The public at large want to see the best fight the best. For the last 5 years, the two fighters have been circling eachother in the same weight division. For the most part, they have been ranked number one and number two in the world regardless of weight class. Both have disposed of the best available competition with relative ease. Common opponents have fallen by the wayside, albeit, in a different fashion. Pacquiao living up to his "Pac Man" nickname by rolling through his opponents with a powerful, aggressive, high volume and fan friendly style. Floyd doing so with a safety first boxing style that's accurate, slick and precise. Floyd claims to be "TBE". The Best Ever. Defensively, he probably is.
Whilst there are a number of factors that contribute as to why this fight is so big, I largely put it down to the business savvy of Floyd "Money" Mayweather. Floyd has not only amassed an amazing record of 47 wins without a loss or draw, he has mastered the game of marketing and branding. His braggadocios style and 24/7 self promotion has made him into a fighter that people come to see to win, and also a fighter who many want to see lose. The result is a cocky champion who is raking in the dollars, mostly from his haters. Kudos to Floyd and his team for recognizing the potential from the haters honeypot.
Though obviously, to get this big, he needs a worthy dance partner and Manny Pacquiao is certainly worthy. He's the world's only 8 weight division world titlist and brings excitement like no other. Fast hands, fast feet, aggression. What's not to love? He also comes with an amazing rags to riches story stemming from his impoverished upbringing in the Philippines. It truly makes him the people's champion.
Excuses until now. Was Floyd scared before?
It has been a clever move of Floyd to hype and then avoid this fight many times in the past. He has managed to generate interest by promising to get a deal done, only to back out with various ridiculous demands or placing blame elsewhere. Yes he offered Manny $40m flat fee to fight a few years ago. It sounds like a lot of money and it's easy for Floyd to say that Manny refused to fight. But in the grand scheme of things, would you fight for $40m when you bring so much to the table and your opponent reaps the rewards? If the fight generates what's expected, then Manny would have taken the $40m and Floyd would take $360m. Hardly fair.
There have been many other excuses from Floyd. He took it upon himself to demand that Manny accept his requirements for random blood testing by an Olympic blood testing organization. This was when Manny was at the height of his powers. He was eating opponents alive and certainly would have scared the heck out of anyone who had been matched against him. He knocked out and beat up his opponents in devastating fashion.
This eventually led to Manny suing Floyd for defamation after insinuating that Manny was using performance enhancing drugs.
Floyd also requested that Manny take 40% and he take 60% of the purse. Initially, Manny's team countered with both fighters taking 45% and the winner taking the remaining 10% to make it a 55% - 45% split based on who won.
Floyd didn't want that. Manny agreed to the blood testing and then to the 60-40 split.
Next came the excuse that Bob Arum (Manny's promoter) was responsible for the halt in negotiations. Floyd stated that he didn't want to do business with Arum.
Why didn't he say that in the first place? Before the blood issues and purse splits. Bob Arum has been Manny's promoter longer than I can remember.
The years of excuses and blame placing from Floyd over the years has led me to the only conclusion I can have about why the fight didn't take place earlier. Floyd was simply scared to fight Manny when he was so destructive and didn't want to risk losing that perfect 0 on his record.
At this late stage, we have to look at which fighter has lost the most of their abilities since the fight was first talked about five years ago. It's simple to see that Manny has lost more of his ability. He was viciously knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012 and has since lost a debatable decision to Tim Bradley.
As a result, Floyd has the upper hand in my opinion. He's naturally bigger and has better boxing ability. Particularly as a counter puncher which is exactly the style Marquez used to leave Manny unconscious on the canvas for a few minutes.
Had the fight taken place as it should have 4 or 5 years ago, Manny would have had a much better chance. He was ferocious back then and simply put, he has lost the fire he once had. Whilst he's still an amazing athlete and fighter, he's not the same.
This leads me to believe that Floyd has capitalized on the moment. A smart move. Less risk and the same potential revenue.
An Act of God??? Rocky 3???
Both fighters thank God for their victories in life. It's something I've seen from Floyd over the years. However, Manny has picked up the habit more recently. For me, it has a direct correlation to him becoming less aggressive in the ring and losing his devastating punching ability.
Going back to 2008 - 2011, Manny was a wildman both in and out of the ring. He was destroying his opponents whilst at the same time, was gambling, drinking and womanizing. Whilst I can't condone his behavior outside the ring, I could only admire his behavior in it.
Since then, he has become a man of holy righteousness and has really cleaned up his act. He is happy now that he is a servant of God. You can regularly hear Manny quoting the Bible.
I feel now that his new, strong faith in God and clean living lifestyle has taken away that mean and spiteful streak that made him so dangerous. It has really softened him up and made him a gentleman.
Micky said it best in Rocky 3 when explaining to Rocky why he didn't want him to fight Clubber Lang. "The worst thing happened to you that could happen to any fighter. Ya got civilized."
I couldn't agree more.
A Firefight or a Stinker??
After all is said and done, the two men have to fight. Will it be a good fight? Will it live up to the 5 years of hype? I certainly hope so.
The only way I think it can though is if Manny can start fast and recapture the wildaman of the past. He would have to throw hellacious combinations with real sting to throw Mayweather out of his hypnotizing rhythm. Basically, Manny has to make it ugly and uncomfortable for Floyd.
If he stands off and makes it a gentlemanly contest in which he tries to outbox Floyd, there's only one winner and that is Money May. There is no chance that Manny Pacquiao can outbox Floyd Mayweather. He's so slick and his defense and counterpunching technique is near flawless.
There is huge potential for this fight to be both an excellent fight or a stinker. Floyd has sent many people to sleep with his safety first style over the years. Whilst he's an amazing boxer, safety first is certainly not a fan friendly style. He's had only 1 knockout since 2005. A 2007 ko of Ricky Hatton. (I don't count the blatent sucker punch of Victor Ortiz) If he sits back and cruises to yet another boring points win, it will definitely land in the stinker pile for me. For once, I'd like to see pressure from Floyd with him actually taking a risk and going for a ko.
It would definitely make it more interesting.
Let's hope we get get an amazing fight that lives up to the 5 years of hype!!!