Most People Don’t Know Shit About Boxing


Saturday night saw the richest fight in the history of combat sports take place as Floyd Mayweather Jr defeated Manny Pacquiao over 12 rounds to become the WBO welterweight champion, among his various other honors.

The night itself represented the capitalist saturation point for combat sports, we are unlikely to see such exuberant finances exchanged over a contest again. Many cited insubordinate prices for tickets for the MGM Grand date, and Forbes claimed that the initial asking fees for the golden slips ranged between $2,500 and $10,000 – quite a pretty penny.

It is expected to that the ticket revenue for the fight will total about $72 million, shattering the previous record of $20 million from Mayweather vs Alvarez back in 2013. Those not lucky enough to get a ticket for the event itself were forced to fork out $100 for the pay-per-view and the ‘Fight of the Century’ is expected to break the previous record of 2.5 million PPV buys (set by Mayweather vs De La Hoya). Early projections suggest that the fight will break 4 million buys, an amazing feat. The pay-per-view buys are anticipated to bolster the purse of the fight to over $300 million dollars, which are due to be split 60/40 in favor of ‘Money’ Mayweather.

As for the fight itself, most people who had seen the pair compete knew what to expect from the outset. A classic meeting between the world’s most defensive and the world’s most offensive pugilists was on the cards, and even though it was five years late, the excitement was measureable as the two consensus greats of the modern sport would finally meet.

Like many great bouts, it became far more than two prizefighters meeting in the middle of the squared circle on May 2. As soon as the fight was announced the clash took on a broader cultural significance and that was mostly due to the flash, braggadocios manner of Mayweather.

The American played “the bad guy” role effortlessly. It took on the classic fight backdrop, good versus evil. When you asked people who they thought would win the fight almost resoundingly, in one way or another, they would tell you – “I think Mayweather will win, but I sure hope ‘Pacman’ beats the shit out of that cocky bastard.”

Mayweather’s evasive skills were a sight to behold as he moved, jabbed and crossed his way to victory on Saturday night. Pacquiao marched forward in an attempt to stifle his counterpart, but even when it seemed ‘Money’ had nowhere to go, he was only one deft shoulder roll away from finding space again.

The frenzied combination came and went from the Filipino. In rounds four and six Pacquiao unloaded on Mayweather whose defensive shell remained solid throughout the combinations. He nodded his head dismissively at his opponent during his advances – even when Pacquiao had Mayweather exactly where he wanted him, he still didn’t have him at all – the nodding suggested. It would be argued after the fight that if the pair had met five years earlier we could’ve seen a lot more similar onslaughts from the Freddie Roach boxer, alas ifs and buts.

There was no real surprise as the decision was read out in favor of Mayweather. Pacquiao made his non-concurrence with the judges’ scorecards known immediately in the ring after the bout. A few hours later videos even began to circulate online describing different elaborate ways that Manny had been cheated out of his victory. Again, this simply highlighted what the fight meant to the world, it was more than just a fight. For most rational thinking human beings it was clear-cut win for the unbeaten Mayweather.

Some people from the MMA world celebrated the fact that spectators didn’t get the ebbing and flowing matchup that they had been gearing up for. It almost seemed like many casual boxing fans thought that the duo would simply abandon their years upon years of training and just wing at each other until one fell. There were a lot of people claiming that the fight was so bad that it was a victory for MMA and UFC. Those people should take a look at the figures at the start of this article again.

Boxing fans began to resemble Floyd Mayweather’s pad man from the infamous Kevin Hart skit who constantly reminds the audience that “most people don’t know shit about boxing”, as they defended their sport. There were MMA fans ridiculously commenting on how the addition of leg kicks or how the threat of a takedown would allow the fighters to open up. For the true boxing fans, they had just watched a technical master class by Mayweather. That was always the reason they were tuning in and they had been given exactly what they wanted.

It seems that the MMA fan base react similarly in situations when they see other competitive martial arts being contested. Everyday we hear people criticizing how boring sport jiu jitsu is. The same goes for some of the semi-contact striking arts. In such a refined art as boxing, one of the best loved isolated forms of combat, the defensive aspect is every bit as important as the offensive element. Mayweather’s performance on Saturday night exemplified that. It seems the issue for MMA fans is the lack of a spectacle. They cherish the big knockout, the wild exchanges that make Joe Rogan scream and Dana White cry “holy shit”. And that’s fair enough.

Let’s be fair, it wasn’t only the MMA fans that were annoyed by the fight either. Legendary heavyweight champion ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson took to Twitter to voice his disdain for the contest. He tweeted: “We waited 5 years for that…#underwhelmed”. Oscar De La Hoya also voiced his concern over a number of tweets: “Call me old school but I like the fans getting their money’s worth by watching an action packed fight. I’m just not into the boxing, running style. I like jumping out of my seat because a fight was existing (sic) and the fans got their money’s worth.”

Mayweather vs Pacquiao has even been heralded as the last big night in the sport, but looking at the bouts coming up in the next few weeks, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Kirkland vs Alvarez, Golovkin vs Monroe, Khan vs Algeiri, Cotto vs Geale and Ward vs Smith are all incoming and there is sure to be interest in the bouts with some of the world’s best boxers set for action.

Rather than looking at Mayweather vs Pacquiao as the death of boxing, we should really be looking at it as the high water mark for what combat sports athletes can earn. As I stated previously, we are not likely to ever see such sums cross hands for a contest in the future. In saying that, fans are unlikely to ever pay so much to see a fight again, and so, everybody is entitled to say what they want after forking out for it. You know what they say, there’s no such thing as bad publicity.


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