Another fine mess
I can’t remember the last time a fight evoked the ire – before or after – that Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao has. Even the worst sort of result in my memory of covering the sport, or even before when I was among the millions in fandom, never generated the kind of confusion, speculation and enmity we’re experiencing from the “Fight of the Century.”
If any of you have ever regularly enjoyed a soap opera (it’s OK to admit it. Stories are stories and TV is awesome), no matter which one, you’ll recognize a particular scenario in which two star-crossed lovers weather every storm possible to make their love a reality. Sometimes it takes forever and when it finally comes to fruition – and it’s rare – a wedding might happen without a hitch. In those occasions, a greater threat to our heroes looms, whether it’s an illegitimate child or an evil twin or imposter. Thus the results the viewer craved continue to be mired in drama.
Mayweather-Pacquiao was conceived with this template. Yes, everyone knows it took forever to make this fight a reality. If you don’t know this by now, you’re even more oblivious than even the most casual of fans. Still, it was brought to us in the sloppiest way possible, being announced last February. How is it that the biggest fight since Lennox Lewis vs. Mike Tyson can be so under-promoted yet so very hyped at the same time? Well, that was left to you, the fans. A fight that was bandied to make at least 300 million dollars for its participants was promoted on the free by the fans for whom it was owed. And seriously, there’s nothing to argue about regarding my theory. As long as social media, workplaces and bars exist, this fight was getting talked about.
Look, I bitched aplenty about this fight. I swore it was never going to happen and in the event it actually did get made, it was going to be boring. That said, it doesn’t take a boxing savant to make that sort of prediction. Every purist knows Mayweather is the Rubik’s Cube of boxing: colorful but a bitch to solve. And every single sap who has stepped up to have a crack at the Cube wound up putting it down, more frustrated than when he started. Even those who recently had their moments, however brief (Miguel Cotto and Shane Mosley for example), hit a skid and took their losses. It’s why anyone who has ever picked any Mayweather opponent in their prediction leagues or at the betting window loses 100 percent of the time. I learned this quickly.
Yet fans still predict with their hearts and not their heads – or even common sense, for that matter. I know that windows of advantage open and that every fighter has a puncher’s chance, blah, blah, blah, blah. But the less you know, the more you think you know. And that’s where your casuals and celebrities come in. Furthermore, that’s where all the bullshit posturing explodes like pyro at a rock concert.
Years ago – and I believe it was right prior to the fourth and final bout between Rafael Marquez and Israel Vazquez (if anyone knows for sure, please don’t hesitate to correct me!), Michael C. Hall, star of Showtime’s “Dexter” – who was no doubt parked in some pretty sweet seats, courtesy of the network – was asked what he felt about the upcoming bout. Obviously put on the spot, Hall told the on-site reporter he didn’t know much about the competitors, much less boxing. He was pretty much there at the behest of the network. He didn’t pretend he was someone in the know; in fact, he seemed damn right embarrased. And that’s perfectly fine. I’d rather hear that than someone like Antonio Sabato Jr. (who tweeted about turning to the UFC in response to what he saw as a lousy fight. I’d post his original tweet – to which I replied, “Says the casual #boxing “fan” – but Sabato deleted it) or Vivica A. Fox (whose tweet, “This is why I like #UFC fighting better! #IJS WHACK!! SMDH ;(“ encouraged my response of “You expected a fight of the year?I LMAO!!) bitching about the quality, or lack thereof, of this fight.
Interestingly enough, neither Sabato nor Fox were on the list of celebrities in attendance, supplied by Showtime’s public relations ace, John Beyrooty. This tells me they dropped the $100 to watch from home. Obviously neither was warned beforehand. (An interesting aside: Sabato replaced his whiny monologue with a comparatively diplomatic “Everyone won last night #MannyvsMayweather but the fans prob didn’t . Was it worth the wait ? Still love #boxing.” No, dude; you don’t. You’re completely full of shit. Somewhere, a SyFy Network executive is waiting for you to clock into work.
Wanna know who loves boxing in the celebrity realm? Folks like Mark McGrath, lead singer of Sugar Ray, “General Hospital’s” Maurice Benard, Mario Lopez (co-host of UCNLive’s “The 3 Knockdown Rule” with Steve Kim), Steve Covino and Rich Davis (of SiriusXM’s “Covino and Rich”) and Jay Z (obviously a promoter himself. “Hova” and Beyonce were actually on the list of celebrities in attendance and I kind that sort of funny due to the fact that they have adversarial tension with Mayweather’s adviser, Al Haymon. Did they get comped or did they purchase tickets? Did anyone think to ban them like CNN’s Rachel Nichols and ESPN’s Michelle Beadle were?). Those are the folks with whom I would discuss this sport.
Let’s not forget my media brethren, whom were herded far from the squared circle. You know, even our photographer, German Villasenor, was credentialed to the media room (or was it a tent? Veteran scribe David Avila of The SweetScience.com rightfully voiced his discontent on being treated like a fifth-class citizen while ass-kissing sycophants luxuriated in press row, the turf of those of us in the REAL boxing media, who toil in one capacity or another). What, was he supposed to take photos of the fucking televisions? Originally nonplussed, German instead provided UCNLive with coverage.
And this further emphasis on celebrity fans, genuine or not, still takes credit away from those who help keep this sport truly relevant: the hardcore fans. The dedicated masses whom spend hard-earned cash on pay-per-views that continuously let them down…yet they keep coming back for more…and more…and more. Those who subscribe to HBO and Showtime for no other reason than watching boxing. Those who shush everyone else in the house, so they can fully absorb one more episode of ESPN2’s “Friday Night Fights.” What did they get in return? They were unofficially turned into the #MayPac Street Team, then rewarded with fewer than 500 tickets available to the general public (priced FAR from the reach of Joe Lunch Box), tickets on the secondary market (that might as well have been put on display at the Louvre), a weigh-in you had to pay to watch, insulting closed-circuit packages (that, to be fair, came with an open bar – at over $900 at a minimum. To reconcile that cost, one would have to drink him or herself to death) and a $100 pay-per-view – that featured just three bouts.
When a friend asked me what I thought of this bout and my prediction, I likened the whole thing to a hunger awareness campaign that fed scores of the unfortunate with tons of food on the cusp of spoilage, then expected extreme gratitude. That said, I compared the recent Lucas Matthysse vs. Ruslan Provodnikov bout to a ribeye steak, complete with garlic mashed potatoes and fresh, steamed broccoli. And that was served on regular HBO.
Yet no one other than the sport’s faithful gave one single rat’s ass about the latter. Priorities, man.
The aftermath of Mayweather-Pacquiao is exceedingly worse than the run-up and 100 times as dramatic as the actual fight. Where there was no public disclosure whatsoever with Pacquiao’s right shoulder rotator cuff, now, all of a sudden, there’s a problem when it came to a loss?! While the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) was supposedly informed of this issue, the Nevada State Athletic Commission claims it wasn’t involved whatsoever – and they’re pissed. Per the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the commission is even investigating possible perjury regarding Pacquiao not exactly being honest in his pre-fight medical questionnaire. Did he really have an injury? I don’t know. He sure didn’t have a hard time raising his arms at the weigh-in or when he thought he won the fight immediately after the final bell rang. (Disclosure time: I’ve only seen these instances in photos. I have not watched the fight, nor do I plan on watching the fight.) And did Mayweather know and carry Pacquiao through the fight, knowing Pacquiao’s jabs and hooks would only be thrown at a minimum? Why not? Who’s to say they didn’t have a little get-together to discuss how things were supposed to play out?
Think about it: In order to not make the bout look like an entire rout, Mayweather’s work rate becomes commensurate to Pacquiao’s limited ability at the time. In the parlance of professional wrestling, to make Pacquiao look “strong” while he puts Mayweather “over.” As a result, the post-fight kerfuffle and speculation facilitate the “need” for a rematch, despite no intention of one in the first place. Call it a true “War to Settle the Score.” No, it isn’t conspiracy; it makes sense. Hell, even on the latest episode of the WWE’s “Monday Night RAW” on the USA Network, former NXT Champion Sami Zayn tweaked his shoulder (one with which he’s admittedly had prior issues) early in his challenge of United States Champion John Cena. At one point in the bout, one of the company’s trainers tended to Zayn but the Canadian persevered, ultimately dropping the bout to Cena. Was there visible discomfort? It seemed so but, as most of us who watch sports entertainment know, these injuries might be acted out in “kayfabe” (storyline) style. At the same time, however, the injury is being reported as genuine. At first, I thought it was a subtle poke at Pacquiao. I’m not so sure now.
Did Pacquiao show any discomfort last Saturday? I don’t know. I’m putting that to you. I suppose one could attribute no show of injury to endorphins or adrenaline but how long do either truly last over the course of 36 active minutes (48 with rest periods)?
If the microscope of the NSAC aimed square at Pacquiao isn’t enough, then there’s the class-action suit. Yes, you read that right. “Fans” Stephane Vanel and Kami Rahbaran have filed suit in a Nevada federal court, naming Pacquiao, adviser Michael Koncz, Top Rank Promotions, Top Rank President Todd duBoef and CEO Bob Arum as defendants.
See what kind of precedent a successful lawsuit against Red Bull sets?
And the pissy boxing hipsters and dumbass casuals continue with their “original” stances on boxing’s “death.” I simply ask those of you who represent this deplorable faction to leave this sport to those who truly care about it.
We’ll take it from here.
You can contact Coyote at email@example.com and follow him at twitter.com/CoyoteDuran and instagram.com/coyoteduran, facebook.com/CDCreationNation and www.coyoteduran.com. Coyote is also the co-host of the “Marked Out” podcast at LatinoSportsTalk.com.