Mayweather-Pacquiao: A Megafight…Not The Last

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Every ten years or so there is a Megafight in the sport of boxing.  While hardcore fans like me get excited several times a year about big fights the Megafight transcends the sport. The nature of the event also attracts the mainstream media. 

When covering the Megafight the mainstream media can be guaranteed to do two things: pronounce the fight as the last Megafight in boxing history because the sport is dying and display a complete ignorance of the sport of boxing. 

I thought of this as I listened to an astoundingly ignorant panel-discussion on Pacquiao-Mayweather on Q. Q is the truly painful hour of hipster-fluff imported from Canada to St. Louis week days at 7pm. The show replaced the only African-American hosted show on the station ( a few weeks later Mike Brown was killed and the host of the previous show was sent to Ferguson for a townhall while Q entertained us with the ironic voices of the latest indie bands in Toronto).

One of the idiots on the panel stated Floyd Mayweather had no fans. While Mayweather is a polarizing figure a quick glance at his social media accounts will show you he has a massive fan following particularly in the African-American community.  Another panelist said the UFC is the future. The data doesn’t support that argument.  The numbers in the UFC are down and no event will come close to Mayweather-Pacquiao numbers. A third panelist said she liked boxing: but agreed May-Pac is the last Megafight. 

The non-boxing media has some huge holes in their argument:

-Yes boxing is a niche sport. We are moving towards a niche society whether that be in music with the end of the Top 40 era or television with hundreds of channels.  What is important is that boxing maintains a strong and loyal niche which it is doing.

-Boxing is international. Wladimir Klitschko may not be popular in America but he is selling out soccer stadiums in Europe.  The United Kingdom routinely sells out arenas for big fights and hosts a vibrant boxing scene and the same can be said of a number of other countries. 

-Demographics.  While the UFC may edge out boxing in suburban white American culture boxing is still way more popular in the African-American and Latino communities.  Saul “Canelo” Alvarez is one of the most famous sports stars in Mexico and already a pay-per-view star in the United States as an example.  As is Miguel Cotto with his Puerto Rican fan base. 

-Boxing is back on network TV. For decades boxing has suffered from bring a prisoner to late-night premium cable and pay-per-view.  Now boxing is back on network TV ( NBC, CBS, ESPN-ABC), as well as a number of basic cable stations ( BET, Spike TV, Tru TV, ESPN,  NBCSN, FS1, Telefutura, etc. ). This greater television exposure will in the long run produce household names who themselves will one day headine pay-per-view events and possibly Megafights. The TV picture for boxing,  while complicated  by promotional fueds, is improving. 

-Future stars. Manny Pacquiao wasn’t a pay-per-view star when he first came to America. Floyd Mayweather wasn’t a pay-per-view star until the Arturo Gatti fight. Star’s are built-up and occasionally they collide giving us a Megafight.  If we divide boxing into the HBO / Top Rank / Golden Boy camp and the Al Haymon/PBC camp we can look at the future stars.

First of all boxing fans know the Cold War between the promotional companies and the networks is bad for boxing and blocks fights. While I hope the war is ended at present that is wishful thinking.

On the HBO side you have Canelo Alvarez who is already a Pay-per-view star. The Kazakh Gennady Golovkin, the Ukrainian Vasly Lemenchenko and the Russian Sergey Kovalev are being groomed for pay-per-view status due to their fan-friendly styles.  Terrence Crawford is also being groomed for stardom although he has a steeper hill to climb without landing a Pacquiao or Mayweather fight. Felix Verdejo is being groomed to be the next Puerto Rican star and if Mikey Garcia ever fights again he’s being groomed as a Mexican – American star. Then there is the question of if Andre Ward will ever merit pay-per-view status.

On the Haymon side you have Errol Spence, Danny Garcia,  Deontay Wilder, Adrien Broner, and others being groomed for that level of stardom.

On either side fighters have to keep winning to ever dream of getting to the Megafight status.  Who it will be I don’t know.  Perhaps no one on this list. However, one thing I can guarantee is that Mayweather-Pacquiao isn’t going to be the last Megafight. 

Floyd Mayweather, Black Lives Matter and Baltimore

Baltimore is on fire and this Friday the highest-paid African-American athlete Floyd Mayweather will enter the ring in the biggest fight of his career against Manny Pacquiao.  Floyd has been criticized for his lifestyle and history of domestic-abuse while Pacquiao is politically outspoken and a member of Congress in the Philippines.  This Saturday Floyd has the opportunity to stand for something bigger than himself and incorporate Baltimore,  Ferguson and Black Lives Matter into his ring entrance. If Mayweather does this history will judge him kindly and it will be a legacy much greater than a victory in the ring Saturday night. It will also be a sign that yes we have all sinned but we can also be witnesses to truth.

My Thoughts on May 2: Mayweather – Pacquiao Part 1

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I may write something more in-depth later. Right now I’m swamped so let me just jot down these bullet points regarding the fight.

Too late? : Some will say these fight is happening too late. The fight should’ve happened 4, 5 or 6 years ago. I agree, but it didn’t,  and I’m just thankful we’re getting it now. Floyd Mayweather is still pound-for-pound the number one fighter in the world and undefeated and Manny Pacquiao is coming off three consecutive dominant wins ( two against undefeated opponents). These are still two very elite fighters. 

Why the Wait: There are many reasons.  The poor relationship between Bob Arum and Mayweather/ Al Haymon,  the drug-testing issue,  egos, money,  etc. . However,  I think Mayweather was pulling a Sugar Ray Leonard move.  Leonard finally signed to fight Marvin Hagler after seeing him lose a step or town against John “the Beast” Mugabe.  My hunch is Mayweather was waiting for Pacquiao to slow down before taking the fight.

The Fans: I find the language and behavior of both Mayweather and Pacquiao fans to be disgusting.  Here is a news flash- this fight is not an affirmation or battle of conquest for any race. Whoever wins it will not be due to their race. Newsflash two- neither fighter gives a fuck about you or even knows who you are. Fans are taking this fight way too damn personal.  Comment sections are full of racial vitriol I think we should all find disgusting. 

The Personalities: I find the person of Floyd Mayweather to be pretty disturbing.  Domestic violence complaints involving 5 different women. That’s a pattern.  The media can sugar-coat and everyone can line their pockets: but that doesn’t erase the fact that despite being a great-fighter Floyd appears to be a deeply-flawed man.

Almost as disgusting as his record with women is Mayweather’s grotesque glorification of conspicuous-consumption.  His idiotic spending habits along with his gambling addiction leads me to believe Floyd will one day be broke.

The fact Mayweather has the nerve to claim he’s better than Muhammad Ali I find utterly repulsive.  Ali gave up the heavyweight championship of the world and went to jail over his opposition to the Vietnam War.  Ali became a global superstar just as known for his commitment to Black Liberation as he was for boxing.  Floyd provides no such inspiration. 

Manny Pacquiao has a great back story. Rising from the grinding poverty of the Philippines to a hall of fame boxing career, a seat in the Filipino Congress, and becoming the most beloved person in his nation. Although at the end of the day Manny is human with his own complexities as this article points out.

My Prediction: I cannot see Manny Pacquiao winning this fight. This fight isn’t about personalities,  race, religion,  politics or who is a better person.  The fight is about boxing.  I see Floyd as just having too much defense for Manny which will lead to him getting reckless and Floyd counter-punching and pot-shoting all night. I only give Pacquiao a puncher’s chance within the first three rounds. If Pacquiao doesn’t stop Mayweather early,  or at least hurt him badly,  it will be a long night for the Filipino. My prediction is 116-112 Mayweather. 

Future of Boxing: Big fights are good for boxing.  My only criticisms are having the fight in a small-venue instead of a stadium thus out pricing hardcore fans and a weak undercard. I’m cautiously optimistic about PBC and happy to see the return of boxing to free TV.  The sport needs this kind of exposure.  However,  if PBC fighters can’t fight HBO/ Top Rank/ Golden Boy fighters then we all lose out. Regardless 2015 looks like a very good year for boxing. 

HBO Boxing and It’s Problem With Boxers

Saturday night Terrence Crawford the undefeated lightweight prospect from Omaha, NE put on another absolute boxing clinic. Instead of appreaciating his performance HBO announcers catered to the base desires of inebriated illiterate boxing fans in Orlando who were booing.

This does not come as a surprise. HBO announcers, most notably Jim Lampley and Larry Merchant in the past, have often shit on fine performances of boxers. Meanwhile, if an unskilled brawler fights like he is in a ten-dollar tough-man contest at a bowling alley HBO goes crazy for them.

HBO of course becomes it’s own worst enemy. They build up punchers with limited defense and then the first time they meet an elite, well-rounded, skilled-boxer they get schooled. James Kirkland, Brandon Rios, Tavoris Cloud, Nonito Donaire, etc. . In Donaire’s case he gets absolutely taken to school by Guillermo Rigondeaux and instead of hyping up Rigo as a Cuban Pernell Whittaker they don’t give him a date while adding Donaire to a fall card.

Many will say ” how else can HBO play it?” Given the fact fans like punchers and many of these fighters who are lacking in defense and have problems with boxers are Mexicans whose fanbase is critical to the boxing economy.

Those are fair questions. I will counter with two arguments. First, the hardcore boxing base is small. This is a niche sport. Most of the people who tune in may be casual fans or just flipping the remote. Imagine if the first thing they hear is announcers shitting on the fight, the boxers, and the event itself. How is that good for boxing or ratings?

Secondly, instead of shitting on and disrespecting why don’t these announcers educate fans. Explain footwork, counter-punching and defense? Raise the level of knowledge amongst the masses so they can appreaciate what they are watching?  That’s what baseball announcers do during pitching-duels and football announcers do during defensive battles.

I see great potential in Terrence Crawford. I would favor him to beat anyone at Top Rank ( Marquez, Pacquiao, Alvarado, Bradley and to 120-108 Rios). Been watching Crawford since the amateurs. Yet, will he get his chance to shine? Will HBO in Vince McMahon WWE-like fashion freeze out Crawford like they did Rigo? Will Bob Arum punish him for success like he did Zahir Raheem after he beat Erik Morales? Or will Arum promote him like he did Timothy Bradley? Time will tell and I will be watching. But remember: if HBO did baseball in the eighties they would have fired Ozzie Smith because his defense was too good and shit on “Whiteyball”.

Other boxing notes: the agressive Miguel Cotto looked great: but with all due respect to Delvin Rodriguez was picked to make Cotto look good. I am intrigued by a Cotto-Sergio Martinez matchup….I really like the Klitschko Brothers. Had lunch with them years ago and found them to be smart caring individuals. Just find there fights to almost always be boring as hell. Last saturday definitely no exception.

Hair, Thoughts, and Cards

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Growing my hair back after all these years. this for the motherfuckers that said I was bald.

Thoughts….
Wasn’t thinking about the government shutdown till the guy I asked to borrow money told me he’d been furloughed…..dealing with addicts takes patience….small town lawyers in small town junior-circuit for a reason….Sam Bradford a bust now you believe me….Chuck Liddell is an old skinhead with a glass jaw…I respect MMA and love wrestling but hate the right-wing skinhead culture of the UFC Plantation…Not interested in Chavez-Vera II in the corrupt state of Texas….why do ugly girls wear niqaab? Saw a group of niqaabis looked a herd of retired NFL lineman crossing the street the other day….speaking of niqaab been told to beware of the con-artist Umm Niqaab out of Orange, NJ who has ripped a lot of Muslims off….Lena Headey Queen Cersei the baddest woman on Game of Thrones she single-handefly got me liking whitegirls again..  Whiteboy yuppie rapper tries to lecture Brand Nubian on hip-hop man go ride your bike to the kickball game and shut the fuck up…don’t hate procreate if the bed break use some duct tape. Go Cards!