Monday, May 29, 2023  |



Mayweather vs. Pacquiao: A hardcore fight fan’s worst nightmare

Fighters Network
Photo by John Gurzinski/AFP-Getty Images

Photo by John Gurzinski/AFP-Getty Images

As hardcore fight fans, we’ve all been there beforeÔǪ

You’re at a fight party and excited to see how the main event plays out. As an avid fight fan, you map out all of the scenarios that may possibly take place. Because you study the sweet science, you have a pretty good grasp on tendencies, what strategies are likely to be deployed and how the fighters match up with one another. You know your stuff. Unfortunately, the party you are at is filled with people who know nothing about boxing and are only here to see somebody get knocked out. And if that doesn’t happen they complain about how the sport you love is dead and boring. More importantly, they’ll never pay for another pay-per-view fight again.

And that really pisses you off because you know how difficult it is for any big fight to live up to the hype.

People who only watch boxing when Floyd Mayweather Jr. or Manny Pacquiao are in the ring have predictions that are based on nonsense with little to no deductive reasoning. For instance, Mayweather is undefeated so, to the casual viewer, he’s supposed to knock everyone out when they watch a PPV. The same goes for Pacquiao. As a matter of fact, every fight that doesn’t end in a knockout is labeled as “boring.” More often than not, they have never heard of the opponent and could care less how styles make fights. For the most part, they find something to complain about by the time the night is over. Defend the sport all you want, but nobody is trying to hear it and your night is ruined by arguing with people who refuse to accept that they know nothing about the sport.

At a fight party, you are surrounded by these people and grow increasingly annoyed with their presence.

Think of Mayweather-Pacquiao as one huge fight party that has lasted for the past five years and is finally reaching its culmination on Saturday night. If you have endured the ignorance, uninformed opinions and ridiculous spewed by celebrities, sports columnists who have NEVER covered the sport, casual viewers, friends, family, radio personalities, neighbors, barbers, flight attendants, bank tellers, supermarket cashiers, mailmen and so on for the past half decade, congratulations. But on Saturday night, the volume of boxing ignorance will be cranked up to a Spinal Tap level 11 and you better buckle up for the impact.

It’s not going to be pretty.

Everyone is an expert when it comes to Mayweather vs. Pacquiao. Their allegiances are based on extraordinarily basic logic that has very little to do with how the fighter performs. But, as Roger Mayweather often says, they don’t know sh*t about boxing. People who have never watched more than five professional fights will concoct the most asinine reasons why their fighter will win. And none of it ever makes sense. It’s frustrating for the hardcore fight fans who can analyze and break down a fight and its numerous scenarios. A hardcore fan might still be wrong because boxing has an unpredictable element where any fight can end with one punch. But we accept it because we understand it. But what makes it worse when it comes to the casual fan is that there’s always a chance their prediction may be right because there aren’t really a whole lot of winning scenarios. It’s like a math problem where they guess the answer but have no idea how to show their work. A fight is simple to the untrained eye. But boxing? Boxing is complex with an extraordinary amount of nuances that earns its title “The Sweet Science.”

Have you ever tried to have a discussion with a casual fan about boxing? It’s like explaining trigonometry to a 4-year-old. The worst part is that they will never care long enough to understand and will spew the most nonsensical rhetoric back at you. Try and explain Mayweather’s style and the beauty in it and see where that goes. He’ll just be called boring. Pacquiao hasn’t knocked anybody out since Miguel Cotto so he isn’t any good now, right? Go ahead and attempt to explain why Mayweather and Pacquiao didn’t fight five years ago and watch their faces try to make sense out of it all. See? It doesn’t compute. To be honest, it never really computed with us either, but we kind of understood the politics. Nobody else cares about politics, styles or any of what goes into a fight. Exciting fights and knockouts; anything else is unacceptable.

Good times!

Boxing is a unique sport that doesn’t have seasons and most high-level fighters don’t compete more than four times a year. Their visibility to the general public is relatively low thanks to many of their fights being on premium channels and pay per view (which can hopefully shift thanks to Premier Boxing Champions invading network television). As a result, the sample size is small and nobody cares to do his or her homework. To them, boxing is a fight and a fight is all about knocking somebody out. If that doesn’t happen, the fight is horrible.

This is what you’re in for on Saturday night. When a fight reaches this magnitude, everyone is watching. Outlets that do not have regular boxing coverage are flooded with a bunch of people who are all of a sudden experts on the sport. The hype is through the roof. You can’t get away from it. As fight fans, this is what we wanted. We’ve always wanted the sport we love to go mainstream. But the problem is that our Super Bowl happens once or twice a generation. After that, those people, television shows, websites and radio outlets go back to a place where boxing barely exists. The peaks are ridiculously high while valleys are abysmally low for an extended period of time.

As a hardcore fight fan, you are praying that this fight surprisingly lives up to the hype. But if conventional wisdom plays out and Mayweather wins a “boring” decision, the “boxing is dead” chants will be trumpeted through every social media network, television show, radio broadcast and public area. The only scenario that could please everyone to some degree is a knockout.

Chances are, it won’t happen. And you’ll be left to explain to everyone why it wasn’t the bar room brawl that they unwittingly expected. Even if you aren’t happy with how the fight played out, you still won’t let an outsider slander its name. Boxing is like your family and only you can talk bad about it with your siblings (i.e. other boxing fans). An outsider’s opinion isn’t welcome. Unfortunately, they will all converge on Saturday night and talk loudly about something they don’t know much about.

It’s our worst nightmare as hardcore fight fans. Don’t fret, it will all be over soon and maybe, if we’re lucky, the outsiders will finally have something good to say about the sport we love. If not, there’s always the next generation.