As I sat and watched the so-called “Fight of the Century” I just knew what the reaction was going to be from those who aren’t everyday consumers of the sweet science.
What a boring fight, boxing is dead and it was a waste of money where all things used to describe a fight that we all knew was overpriced and I can’t blame people for having those reactions. But I, as well as many other fight fans knew that is exactly what would happen.
Mayweather has never been an exciting boxer to watch. He wins fights because of great defense and the ability to counter punch and that is exactly what he did. While it isn’t always pleasing to the eye, he is the best in the world at controlling an opponent. He makes them fight his fight. He makes them chase and rush and swing wildly just to connect on occasion.
That’s why my social media time lines were littered with people bashing a beautiful sport – because they just didn’t know what to expect. The media creation that surrounded the fight had a lot to do with that. As did the build up for a fight that should have taken place more than five years ago. On top of that, the price point of one hundred dollars definitely didn’t help. After all, when people spend a lot of their hard-earned money, they want to be entertained.
While the fight wasn’t close to what people wanted, it doesn’t mean the social media outcry was accurate.
1. What a boring fight: While plenty of people felt that way, I did not. We got to watch a master tactician execute a game plan on nearly a flawless level. He stepped into the ring with one of the greatest fighters of this generation in Manny Pacquiao and forced him out of everything he wanted to do. Mayweather made him, chase, lunge and scrape just to try to land even the most glancing of punches. In short, he did exactly what he knew he needed to do to win and that is not boring.
2. Boxing is dead: this statement is nothing new. Boxing has lost its footing in the lexicon of American sports and will continue to do so. Why? Because we have far more options now than when boxing ruled the sports world. For a long time boxing was first or second in American sports competing with just baseball for the eyes and ears of sports fans. Now it has to compete with college and NFL football, NBA and college basketball, the NHL, MLB and most importantly MMA. Because of the saturation of sports in the mainstream, boxing has drifted into the background. That has also hurt the caliber of athlete who is willing to step into the ring. There is so much money to be made in other sports that few have chosen to make a living with their fists.
But is it dead? Far from it. There are still plenty of wonderful fighters who are working to be the next great thing. They saw the cash draw and hype that surrounded such a huge fight and thought that they could do that. That money draw could’ve also swayed some athletes from other sports to pursue a boxing career. They have at least one hundred million reasons to think about it.
3. It was a waste of money: It’s impossible to quantify what is a good value for the money, but if you paid the 100 dollars to watch the fight thinking it would be a slugfest, I’m sorry.
Hopefully most watched it in big groups to make the price much more tolerable. That’s what I was able to do and it was perfect.
There is one thing I know for sure, plenty of people weren’t too worried about the cost when they bought the fight. And that’s exactly what Mayweather and Pacquiao were banking on.