The hype of the century, since Tyson and Holyfield or Muhammad and Joe Frazier, the fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather was destined to be a classic told by the media and sold by the drama.
It was a fight you could say that should of already happened, but with boxing politics and money-hungry promotion teams couldn’t lock down any deal sooner. With two fighters from different backgrounds colliding in the juiciest brawl and with so much on the line, you couldn’t help but be obliged to find out and raise the stakes by placing bets with your friends who don’t watch boxing either.
It’s a sport that has been subpar in comparison to what we see coming from the UFC, but this fight was also in a way a ploy to rejuvenate what is left of boxing as we know it. With Mayweather’s undefeated record on the line and Pacquiao’s questionable fuel to fight at all (due to his many obligations to his home country of the Philippines and singing), it was easy to believe that one had to give in and that this fight alone would settle who was the best even with all the scrutiny each fighter faced.
It had people picking sides, separating viewers. If you were a conscious person, you would know that all by the overload of promotion from sports news and the ongoing battles on Twitter that we, the audience, were the problem.
The result — a ho-hum, yawning session with a dead-stare thinking that the two fighters in the ring would realize that everybody’s watching and they would hear the echoes of “we came to see a fight.” The MGM Grand was full of celebrities galore, with Jay-Z and Beyonce front row and Denzel Washington’s hat lip sinking low, trying to avoid being spotted.
While egos and belts (like awards) at stake, racial comments swirl and glares are met. On Twitter, comments surged by Filipinos and other Asians saying derogatory comments towards Black culture. In the use of the Filipino word “nognog,” which means the n-word, the sour loss had Filipino’s taking low blows to the opponent—giving a sense that they have bought into the hype of the fight. To me, as a Filipino-American it draws back to Third World problems and the fleeting uneducated minds linked to poverty like the Baltimore looting. People are lashing out with hate because the problem is deeper than we know.
You got a sense that we were all fooled when Pacquiao’s famous glove raise to entice the fighter to start swinging lights out to him would ploy Mayweather to start throwing and get off his defensive-run-around tactics. Now with Pacquiao never reporting his shoulder injury that happened during his training for the fight, he is being sued by Nevada boxing officials.
After suffering a loss to Mayweather, Pacquiao believes he won during a post interview saying that Mayweather “keeps running around.” It’s hard let this one go with how much the media had been giving us reasons to stay tuned.
Watching the fight at my Auntie’s home with my grandparents on vacation in the Philippines, I could hear my grandpa’s cursing as the fight ended. In my family, this is a custom. We watch all of Manny Pacquiao’s fights, but no other ones — you couldn’t call us experts or people that are even fans of the sport. We do it because we want to support a Filipino story.
All of my family admires Pacquiao, and even though we live in the states, we fan-out just as much as any other Filipino — complete with t-shirts and wanting any opponent he faces in the ring to get his neck chopped off.
After seeing many Pacquiao fights over the years, I can say that I’ve dealt with understanding where my despise for the opponent comes from — and if you know boxing, you know it’s violent, not only in the ring, but also between cultures.
It happened when Pacquiao was fighting boxers such as Juan Manuel Marquez. Although, respectfully, each fight begins with honoring each fighter’s home countries national anthem, it riles up the intensity of hate towards one another. It’s the way boxing is formulated because without the viewership it wouldn’t be around.
Fans of the sport don’t support or the like the fighter because of skill, but because of their skin. It’s something to think about, and whatever the result is, know “it’s just a fight.”
A fight possibly to break pay-per-view records, the side debate of who’s the better fighter actually goes to the one who can take a hit.