Controversy has never looked more lucrative, than it does when it comes to the highly anticipated bout between Floyd "Money" Mayweather and Manny "Pac-man" Pacquiao. The two have long been linked to the biggest bout in the current era of boxing history. Looking to draw in more hype, publicity and money than the "Rumble In The Jungle" (Ali v Foreman), "Thrilla In Manilla" (Ali v Frazier) and "The Showdown" (Sugar Ray v Tommy Hearns) combined.
The two superstar boxers have been marred in controversy and doubt since this "dream bout" was inked up. It can be traced all the way back to 2009, when Mayweather announced a return to the ring after a brief retirement. Then Mayweather expressed in fighting "anybody" (Pacquiao-Hatton winner, Shane Mosley, Juan Manuel Marquez), but there's one fighter particularly in mind. That fighter, popular Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao, who Mayweather described as the "gorilla" in the room.
Over three years have passed since that date, and there still has been no Mayweather/Pacquiao fight. What's the delay? Well it gets pretty sad when you look at it realistically.
There is no big ticket in boxing. The only matchup anyone wants to see is the Manny/Money match-up, and the anticipation now has far exceeded its reality of happening. From Pacquiao refusing a drug test within a week before the fight, to Mayweather serving time for domestic battery, the fight seems to be more a pipe dream now than the 60/40 split Mayweather demanded originally.
The boxing industry has seen a significant decrease in viewership over the past years. With MMA and other alternate forms of independantly run competitive fighting circuits becoming widely successful, the "Main Event" is almost dead. This is why I believe that the Mayweather/Pacquiao bout will be the undoubted end to sport that has defined generations, political and social history, and is without a doubt the true "american pastime".
Honestly, I've had this in drafts for a while. That was until I saw something that made me start to think about this again. UFC owner and public ambassador Dana White recent addressed comments made by Floyd Mayweather - who recent tweeted racially charged comments about Asian-American Knicks guard Jeremy Lin's sudden press.
Dana White has dominated the full contact sport landscape, branding the UFC as a legitimate entertainment sporting event. He has legitimized "mixed martial arts" as an American and international marketing equal. Which is why his recent comments to me seem a bit contrived.
On White's "Presedential Address", he made statemets admitting - even though he is acting owner and president of the main competition to the WBA, that even he thinks the Mayweather/Pacquiao should happen. I would too, given the circumstance,
I know Dana is just as passionate (if not more) of a boxing fan as anyone, but the changing of the guard in professional boxing seems to be nearing a close and this is doomed to be the bout that will seal it.
Among many things, the governing bodies that sanction many boxing matches have been rumored to be corrupt and unjust. The emergence of "mixed martial arts" and WWE have also brought about company to a sport that once was all alone in it's apparent genre.
Not to say that boxing will die, but the inevitable is near and "As I See It", it is a lose/lose no matter the outcome,
Lose: They fight, no matter the winner, both are at the ends of their career and any rematch in the future would be between to boxers even older and more disinterested. Mayweather (34yrs old) and Pacquiao (33yrs old) are both edging for retirement and positioning for G.O.A.T. status. It would be much assumed, that because the two never fought earlier in their career, that this match would be the one-time contest to see who finishes at the top.
Floyd wants to protect his unblemished record at 42-0, and Pacquiao (54-3) has gained the respect of almost every boxing expert, analyst, or competitor current and past. After this fight, the appeal and hype intensely deteriorate and focus turns to - well nothing.
The next best hope is international boxers David Haye, Vladimir Klitchko, and Dereck Chisora, who recently made headlines for a post-fight altercation that lead to possible criminal charges. However each boxer has maintained respectable careers: Haye (24-2), Chisora (15-3), Klitchko (56-3), but none of these boxers could carry the same kind of marketability in a fight that either Floyd or Manny carry in their pinky finger. I do know that there are young gold glove boxers out there with the potential to be big time marketers for the sport, I encourage you to step up.
Lose: They don't fight, it pretty much sullies the both boxer's careers. Throughout the timeline since the idea of a fight was birthed, both Pacquiao and Mayweather have done their fair share of ducking and dodging the fight. If there is indeed no fight on their ends, it is sure to put a mark on both of their illustrious careers with an asterisk of, "what if".
Boxing would more than likely go into a darker ice age, with Pay-Per-View and Cable TV both showing a change in viewership between boxing, MMA, and other syndicated and broadcast television.
In 2011, Pacquiao's defeat of Juan Manuel Marquez was the most viewed event for boxing last year, generating 1.4mil views. The UFC (whom recently debuted a cable television fight broadcast on FOX) registered - on a down year - 4.7mil viewers. UFC 129, which featured St-Pierre vs. Shields was the highest viewed Pay-Per-View event by the organization in 2011, bringing in 800,000 viewers.
Floyd Mayweather is set to spend time in jail after a domestic violence charge and is scheduled to face Miguel Cotto on May 5, before his sentence. And Manny Pacquiao is set to fight a yet-to-be-determined opponent sometime around that same date or later into the year.