Let’s talk about the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight. Or more specifically, the recent history of pointing out that Mayweather is, inarguably, a terrible human being and that being a cause for boycotting the fight.
Not wanting to be a part of the ridiculous hype – and more ridiculous cost ($100! Plus some of the “licensing” companies that license the fight to bars are gouging prices) – of this excessive clusterfuck is somewhat noble. I personally have never really agreed with the notion that someone we don’t like politically should have their business destroyed, but this isn’t about politics; Floyd Mayweather gets away with beating women *constantly* specifically because he’s also very good at beating men who are trying to hit him back. Saying “screw you” to that is the least anyone can do.
But I have to ask: did you boycott boxing after Tyson was convicted of rape? Or do you boycott any of the other fights involving people who are, by and large, career criminals? Boxing brings in more criminals, charlatans and other mooks than any other sport *combined*. It’s essentially a lotto ticket for those that have no other chance, and a consistently good source of income for those who don’t fight but instead abuse their fighters (the poverty rate for even top-class prize fighters is *INSANE*). You frequently hear boxers referred to as, for example, a “young” 35. That’s code, as Bill Simmons pointed out yesterday, for “he spent a few years in jail”. There are very few good people in boxing, and many of the best fighters with the best fights ever are/were horrible, terrible human beings. Even Manny, who is being investigated for tax evasion, is no saint.
This fight, and Floyd’s past, are getting attention because of the sheer size and scope of the fight. Precious few people have pointed out Mayweather’s horrible baggage in the past (two of those, Rachel Nichols and Michelle Beadle, have just been denied press passes by the Mayweather camp). But the fight is $100 and the licensing costs are absurd specifically because people are *clamoring* to watch and will pay those prices. It sucks, and frankly I think even the power brokers in boxing know that this is the last, best chance at a massive payday as MMA takes over the gladiator spectacle, but don’t pretend that this sport was ever clean. This isn’t Ray Rice in the NFL; this is an entire sport of people who make Ray Rice look like a saint.
Bear in mind this comes from someone who grew up boxing. One key point in that: the gloves that fighters wear aren’t there for protection. They’re there to shorten fights, due to the increase in knock-outs from blunt force (the entire face takes the blow), to encourage fighters to throw to the face more, and to bring more fans in from the spectacle of a guy getting rag-dolled, which never really happened in bare-knuckle fights. They were never a safety concern, they were a capitalistic concern. That, in itself, should be just as much cause to leave boxing altogether as the fact that one of its many terrible human beings happens to be terrible to women.
Oh, the fight? Right. I think Mayweather wins enough rounds to win a split decision. That’s all he has to do. This is a bad matchup for Pacquiao, who relies on knockout power he doesn’t have anymore and who has a five inch reach disadvantage. So Mayweather can duck, duck, absorb shots with his shoulder, and keep hitting Pacquiao enough to score points.
And with that, and the crowd’s inevitable disappointment, boxing’s big fight era will very likely draw to a close. The management is too self-absorbed to let the truly good fights happen, and frankly, the public is waking up to just what a sham the sport is in terms of its disposing of fighters and its outright corruption. Even the WWE is less corrupt; at least there, you know everything’s scripted.
But then again, we’ve tolled the death bell for boxing before, and ultimately, aren’t my comments a major reason why it persists? Here I am, stating why boxing is terrible, then showing my knowledge of the sport and its mechanics to give an educated guess as to how a fight will go. Even with all of the above stated and understood, I still can’t just ignore it.