The month of May is about to end but I have never read anything from the boxing press commemorating with a resounding tone the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Manny Pacquiao megabout that happened on the second day of the month in 2015.
For sure, I will not be the only boxing analyst saying the Mayweather-Pacquiao megabout will never be talked about in the next years or decades to come like Marvin Hagler-Thomas Hearns, Hearns-Sugar Ray Leonard 1, and Duran-Leonard 1, among many others. Even the controversial bout between Hagler and Leonard, which was criticized because it was staged when both fighters were past their prime, is still being talked about to this day.
If there was one silver lining from the bout, it was both boxers earned huge paydays. Well, that was a silver lining, literally.
Since boxing is a very dangerous sports because the objective is to knock the daylights out of the other fighter’s head, it is fair boxers should be among the highest paid athletes in the sports world.
But the huge paydays Pacquiao and Mayweather were getting for the bout, or least $120 million and $180 million, respectively, caused the public to expect fireworks. That did not happen.
Who is to blame?
It was very convenient to blame Mayweather for not trading leather with Pacquiao. But what could you expect from a counter puncher who was on the verge on retiring? As for Pacquiao, he was never the same wrecking machine after he was knocked out in the sixth round by nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez in December 2012. An injury to Pacquiao’s right shoulder also hampered his performance. So both fighters are not the main reason the bout went sour.
Maybe boxing fans who wanted a marquee fight for this era, the haters of Mayweathers who wanted to see him beaten, and the avid fans of Pacquiao who can never accept he was already past his prime were to blame for the whole fiasco. And given the power of social media, it was easy to generate a groundswell for the fight to happen, which the promoters took advantage of.
And those who promoted the fight did a good job in making fans believe they would get a treat, even if the bout should have happened three to five years ago. Furthermore, with both fighters getting huge paydays, the bout also turned out to be a gargantuan business undertaking.
So there lies the crux of the matter.
Boxing has become too big a business already, and Pacquiao and Mayweather pushed the envelope on how big the sport’s superstars should be paid. And delaying the bout only resulted to the paydays of the fighters getting blown out of proportion. Was that a good precedent?
I mean, just look at how matches like Canelo Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin, Anthony Joshua-Deontay Wilder, Wilder-Tyson Fury, and even Keith Thurman-Danny Garcia don’t get made as fast as the marquee bouts two to four decades ago. Although they are not vocal about it, these fighters surely want to get paid big for a marquee match.
So the Mayweather-Pacquiao bout may have left a bad legacy that has prevented the top dogs of the sport from mixing it up immediately, because they want huge paydays or are waiting for their managers to voice that out.
Pitiful boxing fans!