It might be the richest ever bout but does #Maypac augur a new golden age for boxing?
But does #Maypac promise a new golden age for boxing?
So, two days to go to #Maypac, the so-called mega-fight.
Here in the USA there seem to be two distinct camps: those counting the minutes and those not so much.
At the center of it all is Floyd ?Money? Mayweather Jr, a polarizing figure to say the least. One clue for why is in the nickname ? no humility here folks! Then there?s the more problematic matter of Mayweather?s six charges of domestic violence; they include a two-month sentence he served in 2012 for the 2010 beating of Josie Harris, the mother of his three children (there was even an allegation by an ex-fiancée that the champ had pointed a gun at her.)
As Yahoo Sport?s Kevin Iole pointed out on Wednesday,
??no man has ever been denied a license to fight by a state athletic commission as a result of committing domestic violence. It certainly hasn?t happened in Nevada??
Maybe, but it contributes to a general lack of the usual American gung-ho-ness around this particular world champion.
Mike Tyson is one of several from the pugilistic pantheon with a less than fulsome point of view of Money?s legacy. In an interview with the Undisputed Champion Network yesterday, the former heavyweight terror said,
?(Mayweather is) very delusional? if he was anywhere near the realm of Ali, he?d be able to take his kids to school by himself? Greatness is not guarding yourself from the people? He can?t take his kids alone to school by himself. He?s a little scared man. He?s a very small, scared man.?
Tell us what you really think, Iron Mike!
Bottom line: for a rapidly self-actualizing America, domestic violence is a huge no-no.
Also lumped in with this sense that Mayweather is less of a man than Americans might want their true champions to be is the widely accepted belief that the champ has been running away from the prime Pacquiao – eight years have passed since the fight was first put on the table. Surely those passing years plus the accumulated punishment from fights during them has dulled the now 36-year old Philippino?s cutting edge, goes the belief. Time will tell as it always does.
In among Tyson?s invective notice the withering words concerning Mayweather?s physical stature. Yes, Iron Mike is being mean about a man he clearly has no personal affection for; but, the fact that neither of the men stepping in to the ring on Saturday is physically heavyweight forms another barrier to #Maypac’s acceptance as a truly heavyweight presence in the hearts and minds of this nation.
What kid hasn?t somewhere among all the delusions that precede maturity dreamt of being the best fighter in the world?
?Best fighter? ? not ‘best fighter under 147 lbs’. A good big man will always beat a good small one goes the adage, and it’s a hard one to argue with.
Finally as far as the downside is concerned, check out the rising popularity of MMA, the all-in sport of the streets and damn the the Marquess of Queensberry. Is the, well, more genteel art of boxing a hard sell in the 21st century?
And yet the massed ranks of #Maypac PR men and boosters have span a resonant story this Saturday night showdown in Vegas; even Tyson declares that the fight itself will be a doozy. All kinds of factors conspire to make it so: Mayweather?s position as the bad guy plus nice guy Manny?s very real chance for victory – few have pushed Mayweather deep into fights and remained a threat the way many think Manny will; then there?s the fact that Mayweather is getting no younger; and the fact that Mayweather?s counter-punching, reactive style doesn’t really allow him to go for the kill early to pre-empt any stamina issues; even the tantalizing idea that boxing history doesn?t seem to favor fighters leaving the game unbeaten ? Pacquiao?s odds shorten considerably in the event of a 12-rounder.
While a lot hinges on the fight being a great spectacle ? not least the steepish pay-per-view pricing (fool me once, shame on you, and so on) ? most believe that #Maypac alone won?t drag boxing back permanently into the American sporting limelight. Afficionados like ESPN fight guru Teddy Atlas, believe it?ll take at least one #Maypac-like event a year for several years to rehabilitate the sweet science.
This writer certainly agrees with that point of view. Getting boxing back on regular US prime-time network tv, as per NBC with their terrific Saturday night Premier Boxing Champions series is certainly a pre-requisite.
Back to Saturday night and the coming together of the big boys ? yes, that?s right HBO and Showtime. Jim Lampley of the former network and Al Bernstein of the latter will together call the fight for the PPV audience, along with former pound-for-pound world boxing supremo Roy Jones Jr.
Above all let?s hope there?s much to excite both them and the viewing public.
And then let?s do it again, soon and often.