Saturday, February 21, 2015

Better late than never, or is it?


After years of back and forth rumor, blame and disappointment, it's finally going to happen. Arguably the most anticipated fight in boxing history is officially signed and will go down on May 2nd in the fight capital of the world Las Vegas, Nevada; as Floyd 'Money' Mayweather will take on Manny 'Pacman' Pacquiao. Better late than never, or is it?

While I and most boxing fans are happy to see this will finally take place, I think this is a valid question considering this is a fight that should have happened at least three or four years ago. There are many reasons why and probably the biggest is money. Although this fight is probably going to be the richest in boxing history, with Mayweather possibly making upwards of 120 million and Pacquiao a paltry 80 million. Just imagine what the numbers could have been four years ago when both fighters were in their prime and clearly the two best fighters on the planet.

Sure Mayweather at (47-0 26 KO's) is still universally considered the best pound for pound fighter in the world, but in just a couple of days he'll turn 38 years old and regardless of the strides in conditioning athletes have made in sports, that's still considered old age in boxing. Pacquiao (52-5 38 KO's) is not far behind at 36 and with 10 more fights on his resume. This includes the four wars with the great Juan Manuel Marquez, the last resulting in Pac laying face down out cold just a little over two years ago. That said, one might actually consider Pac older than Mayweather in the ring. Yet, we're happy that we're finally going to see it; but will we be satisfied?

Think about it, regardless of what happens, fans on both sides will argue that if it had happened when it was supposed to, the outcome would have been different. Either way, whether it is Mayweather or Pacquiao that loses, the excuse will be, "Time caught up to him." In Money May's case they'll claim it was his age and in Pac's case they'll say it was the mileage.

I'm not trying to be the pessimist and rain on the parade, I just wish it would have happened when it should have. The fact that it is happening at all is a shocker because I personally was resigned to the fact that it never would. All excuses aside, money was the root of all evil in the delay. That being the case, it might never have happened when it should have because at the time both fighters demanded equal shares, 50/50 and they deserved it. However, with Pacquiao losing a couple of fights in the last few years, it gave Mayweather the upper hand; luckily Pacquiao realized such and was willing to go with a 60/40 split.

Alas, it is going to happen and at least we won't have to go to our graves wondering what could have been. So for that I am grateful and regardless of all I've said thus far, looking at it strategically, I don't think it will disappoint. That is because we have a wonderful defensive fighter in Mayweather who is a master boxer that avoids punishment and Pacquiao is an offensive machine who comes at you non-stop from all angles. Plus, I believe Pac's relentless attack from the southpaw stance may give Money some problems; notice I said may.

Say what you want about Mayweather, like him or not, there is no denying his skill in the ring. Part of that is his knack for being able to overcome any obstacle that he faces. I've never seen a fighter who can make an adjustment smack dab in the middle of a fight and use it to his advantage the way Money May does. It is part of what makes him so great.

The only way to defeat Mayweather is to corner him and if there is one fighter who can do it and do it to perfection it is Pacquiao. As great a boxer as Pac is, I don't think he can out box Mayweather, but if he's able to corner him, as he's done to others, and inflict punishment on him unlike anyone else has, then I believe he has a chance.

I know there are a lot of ifs in those equations, not to mention a lot of ands or buts to. Then again that is what makes this fight so intriguing. While the early Vegas odds have Mayweather as a sizable favorite, I truly believe those odds will become a lot closer as the fight draws nearer and we will actually have a close fight one way or the other. I truly hope so, because if we don't, it would not surprise me to see one or both end their careers on that note. Better late than never I guess; or is it?

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