Two weeks ago on May 2, an event billed as the “Fight of the Century” took place at the Mecca of boxing, the MGM Grand Casino, Las Vegas.
What transpired wasn’t the fight of the century, it certainly wasn’t the fight of the year, and would struggle to stake a claim for fight of the night. It was a damp squib, an insult to boxing fans who had shelled out $100 dollars to watch on pay-per-view in the states.
Mayweather vs Pacquiao aftermath
The aftermath was a plethora of memes and spoof videos mocking the figh (Watch the fantastically produced Floyd Mayweather Punch-Out here).
Floyd Mayweather ran. Floyd Mayweather hugged. Floyd Mayweather didn’t want to fight.
All of this is of course insulting to the greatest boxing technician of our generation, and “killing boxing” is somewhat of a tongue in-cheek statement. It wasn’t on Mayweather's agenda to trade. Manny Pacquiao had to make that happen, but apart from two onslaughts in the 4th and 6th rounds never really got going.
Was it potentially caused by a shoulder injury, to which, much to Mayweather's distain, he alluded to in his post-fight press conference?
My thoughts are a little different. Mayweather controls range perfectly, and with a five inch advantage on Pacquiao it was always going to be almost impossible to get into range and land hurtful punches on a man with the best defence, and sharpest jab in the business.
Pacquiao knew this, and would have been wary of walking onto a right hand that could end his night and embarrass him in the battle for the coveted title of pound-for-pound king. With this in mind his movement was stifled; he threw less punches than he ever has in a world title fight. That said, was the weight of the Marquez knock-out weighing heavy on him?
On Decemeber 8 2012, in the very same venue, Marquez unleashed a huge right hand onto Pacquiao’s chin and finished the fight in an instant. Those demons haunted Pacquiao, and he never managed to truly shake off the shackles that prevented him from mounting a serious challenge on the man who can now rightfully claim to be the pound-for-pound best.
Boxing was in mourning. We had all been conned. Boxing would soon be overtaken by MMA and we will never see the likes of the “Rumble in the Jungle” again. Boxing was dead.
Fast forward seven days, and step forward the outrageously young Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (44(31)-1-1). The flame haired Mexican who looks like he’s walked out of the same Irish county as the great Steve Collins resurrected boxing with a three round demolition of American challenger James Kirkland.
Kirkland is a tainted young man. Numerous run-ins with the law, followed by prison sentences, have stunted his development, and a man with such character perhaps saw Mayweather's performance as an embarrassment to American boxers, scrap that, American fighters.
He would stand and fight, he wouldn’t run, he’d fight fire with fire, stand toe-to-toe and show the world that Americans fight. Doing that with a Mexican, and specifically a Mexican who has been fighting professionally since he was 14, may not have been the wisest of moves, and it proved so.
Kirkland was knocked down three times, and quite fittingly was stopped with a devastating right hand. A boxing match staged in Texas, and more akin to a Wild West bar brawl was over, and with it boxing was resurrected. Canelo, now 45 (32)-1-1, who’s only defeat came to Mayweather, moves forward onto a potential Latin blockbuster with Miguel Cotto 39(32)-4-0 (another of Mayweather's victims).
So never fear boxing fans, the sport is alive and well and 2015 looks set to be an exciting year.
Of course by May 31 Britain could have three new world champions. James DeGale 20(14)-1-0 fights – the man who probably did beat Carl Froch - Andre Dirrell 24(16)-1-0 for the vacant IBF world super middleweight title in Massachusetts on May 23, and a week later in a huge night of boxing at the 02 arena, Kevin Mitchell 39(39)-2-0, and Lee Selby 20(8)-1-0 step into the ring hoping to walk out with the WBC World lightweight and IBF World featherweight titles respectively.
Boxing is in good health and 2015 is set to be a hugely exciting year. There are some very exciting fights on the horizon and some potential blockbusters too be made. Will Amir Khan finally get Mayweather and truly become King Khan?
Let’s just hope promoter squabbles and crazy demands don’t get in the way.
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