#Mayweather/Pacquiao: The Fight of the Century!

Why I'm ecstatic
Probably only Swedie, Bash and my friend Peter (who comes over just about every day) can understand how freaking excited I am about the fight that's happening TOMORROW.  The fight was made official on February 21st and I have been obsessed with it ever since!  

I'll start by saying that I am a huge Mayweather fan and I am 98% certain that he will win the fight.  But I'll get into that later.  I have been a boxing fan since I was about six years old.  My father told me about this guy named Roy Jones Jr.  He was an amazing boxer that fought with a "dangerous" style (keeping his hands at his waist) but he was so quick that it didn't matter.  Roy Jones Jr. was representing the US in the Olympics and got robbed of what should have clearly been his gold medal.  My dad was so angry and so was I.  I was hooked on Roy Jones Jr. and I wanted him to win every fight ever after that ridiculous decision [the Korean boxer that was given the gold even said he knew that he lost.  Jones hit him 86 times to his 32 hits.  Like I said, robbery].

Roy Jones Jr. started fighting on ESPN and then HBO.  I watched every boxing program I could (even Tuesday Night Fights on USA) just hoping to catch a Roy Jones Jr. fight.  Boxing was so cool to watch! I started becoming familiar with up and coming fighters.  My favorite fighters were ones like Roy that just made people look silly.  You just couldn't hit them.  Then you were out of position and got hit.  I always watched the Olympics to see what fighters we would put out into the pros.  

Floyd Mayweather also represented the US in the Olympics.  He was also a phenom like Roy.  He made people miss and then hit them with quick, clean shots.  And like Roy, he was robbed of a gold medal.  This one was so bad that the referee held up Mayweather's hand in anticipation of what the announcer would say.  Unfortunately the judges cheated the young Mayweather.  I was devastated.  I recently found out that an official retired from the Olympic committee because of that decision.  Now Mayweather would be a fighter I would look for.  Another bronze medal that should have been gold.  Let's see how he responds...

47-0!  That's right.  If you've heard about the fight, then you've probably heard that Mayweather has not lost since that Olympic travesty.  He is 47-0.  47 wins and 0 losses.  And despite what his detractors may say, he has fought the best around.  I had done it before, but as a lead-up to this fight, I re-watched all of Mayweather's previous big fights.  It's amazing.  There are quick beatdowns of opponents that were supposed to be tough (Corrales, Gatti, Chavez, Manfredy), methodical displays of technical mastery (Canelo, Marquez, Judah, De La Hoya, Mosley) and even some good old brawls (Corley, Cotto, Augustus Burton).  I even watched him win a fight in which he broke BOTH HANDS (Carlos Hernandez)! Out of those 47, there is only one fight that is a controversial victory.  That is Jose Luis Castillo.  I remember that fight and thinking that Mayweather was no longer undefeated.  The judges disagreed with me.  Thankfully they rematched and Mayweather won easily.  He is obviously the best fighter.

I would think these are good reasons to like Floyd.  Lots of good fights against good fighters.  He obviously takes it seriously and was raised in a boxing ring.  But I like him because of what he did to the corrupt sport that is boxing.  Boxing is the most unorganized professional sport in the world.  Football has the NFL.  Soccer has FIFA and in the States MLS.  Baseball has MLB.  Basketball has the NBA.  Hockey has NHL.  Boxing?  Boxing has a bunch of belts under different organizations and fights are put on by greedy guys (promoters) that take a lot of the money that the fighter puts his life on the line to make. Floyd used to fight under Top Rank (Manny Pacquiao's current promoter).  He didn't like that he wasn't getting the star treatment that he thought he deserved.  Big fights get big money.  So instead of switching promoters or just sucking it up until it was "his time" (De La Hoya was the big star at the time), Floyd bought out of his contract (it cost him over $600,000) and began to promote himself under Mayweather Promotions.

That's why I am a fan of Mayweather.  He put his money on himself.  Talk about confidence.  The system didn't like that.  The fighter was making decisions.  I saw the change.  Mayweather doesn't fight a "fan friendly" style.  I mean, I like it because I love boxing.  But every "fight of the year" candidate is two guys just slugging it out and not defending themselves well.  Mayweather doesn't fight like that.  He always thinks defensively and rarely takes chances. So how do you get people to care about your fights?  How do you get them to watch your Pay Per View matches?  Make them hate you.

I remember when Mayweather went from Floyd "Pretty Boy" Mayweather to Floyd "Money" Mayweather.  He always said he was the best, but now he SCREAMED it.  Now he was flamboyant and brash.  He got the big fight with De La Hoya and they made a documentary leading up to the fight that showed the training camps.  I loved every bit of it.  He said outlandish things.  He flashed money.  It was like WWF back in the day.  Except these guys were really going to fight.  Would the bad guy win?  Who wouldn't watch that?  And people bought it.  People hated Floyd "Money" Mayweather.  I always thought it was ingenious. I still do.  That's why I'm a fan.  He believed in himself, took a chance and it worked out for him.  And he didn't have to compromise his fighting style and put himself in unnecessary danger to do so.  He would box nearly perfectly and win.  The best of our generation would have the bank account to match.  

Now he's the richest athlete in sports.  The guy rents out the MGM Grand, pays for an entire fight (promotion, ads, events, the other fighter's pay, etc.) and then rakes in the money.  He cut out the shady middle man.  I don't get how people don't appreciate that.  "Money" is the American dream.  

About this fight
I had come to the conclusion that this fight would never happen.  I, like every boxing fan had been hoping for this fight to happen.  I had been a fan of Pacquiao since he beat Barrerra (future hall of fame boxer) down back in 2003.  I was wondering who this little guy was.  He was exciting.  It was like he never got tired.  Then he gained weight and people started wondering what the offensive whirlwind would do against a defensive mastermind.  I got intrigued.  By 2009, the wishes for a Mayweather/Pacquiao fight were at a fever pitch. They were considered number one and two pound-for-pound (regardless of weight class).  It needed to happen.

But boxing is boxing.  It's not right at all.  The promoter and its former fighter couldn't come to terms on the fight.  There were even "mandatory opponents" that both fighters fought that weren't each other.  How is that possible?  The sport I love can be so frustrating.  Then Pacquiao lost on a devastating knockout in a fourth fight against Marquez.  That's right, fourth fight.  There was no reason for him to even be in that fight.  He should have been fighting Mayweather.  But there was no one left.  Now people were talking about retirement for Pacquiao.  He had more to worry about than Mayweather.

Then Mayweather got a contract with Showtime.  Pacquiao was on HBO.  The two companies are rivals.  This fight would never happen.  We would always wonder who would win.  Or would we?  Mayweather had to fight six fights on his contract.  He was running out of fighters.  So was Pacquiao.  He had strung together some good victories and everyone wanted to see the big fight.  People seemed tired of Mayweather and Pacuiao fighting anyone other than Pacquiao and Mayweather.  Now they started calling each other out.  Both sides wanted to make it work out for the fans [read: pay day].

Now it's official.  The fight we've all been waiting for.  The stars aligned.  Mayweather and Pacquiao met up in a hotel and said they indeed really wanted this fight.  The two rival networks negotiated.   The promoter and fighter that promotes himself worked it out.  May 2nd would be the day!  The normal buildup was unnecessary because the hype for this fight has been going on for over five years.  I was happy because I want people to understand that Floyd Mayweather is the best boxer of this generation (sorry Roy).  I firmly believe that even more after re-watching him (again recently) win fight after fight in many different ways.  This legacy talk was annoying me.  He's already the greatest of this generation, but people said he needed to fight Pacquiao.  Well now those naysayers won't be able to negate the greatness any longer.

My Prediction
Of course Mayweather is going to win!  He always wins.  But I think he wants to give us a show on this night.  He is probably annoyed that someone with Pacquiao's skill set is considered on his level.  I predict quite a display of boxing skill capped off with a late round stoppage.  I can't see Pacquiao quitting on the stool, but I can see the referee stepping end mercifully late in the fight.  I hope it is a competitive fight.  I like both fighters.  I wouldn't even be that upset if Pacquiao wins.  Surprised? Yes.  But not upset.  Plus it would be nice to see how "Money" Mayweather deals with the adversity in what would be an even crazier rematch.  But I just don't see it.  

Pacquiao comes straight in and out throwing punches in bunches and gets too anxious with inactivity.  His lack of patience will hurt him.  It's just how he fights.  He's an action fighter.  Mayweather slows the pace and makes fighters make mistakes.  I just recently came to the realization that Mayweather makes fighters mentally tired.  He's always completely comfortable and at ease in the ring.  He does things that makes fighters use their brain for every second.  Boxing is second nature to him, so he's not mentally exhausted.  Plus he's always in tremendous shape.  Despite the "Money" persona, he's normally in the gym working out when you would expect him to be partying at a club.  He doesn't drink or smoke either.  Ever.  The guy was born to do this.  

I think Pacquiao will be in it for four rounds and then it will be a one-sided affair.  Then it's up to Mayweather how he closes the show.  I just hope he goes for big shots.  That also opens him up for Pacquiao to return some shots and still makes for an exciting fight.  The fight of the century.  Do I sound excited enough?! Until next time...



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