It’s the fight that just won’t fade away…no matter how much I wish it would. I thought I’d be done with the relentless and continuous hype and babble that led up to the Saturday night Manny Pacquiao/Floyd Mayweather bout by Monday or Tuesday of this week at the latest – and that would be if the fight was one for the ages. Well, we all know that description is about as far from actuality as you can get, and yet I still find myself bombarded with photo stills, news of injured shoulders and lawsuits, and now, believe it or not, a possible rematch.
Boxing as a sport failed miserably with it’s latest “fight of the century,” a matchup that might have had merit five years ago. If anyone connected to the sport had intentions of bringing back the one-time boxing fan like myself, or even introducing the fringe sports fan to the “sweet science,” they not only missed the boat they might have sunk it. But I have no delusions of that being the intended outcome of Saturday night – it was a one time money grab and at that they succeeded in spades. To put it in perspective, Pacquiao made $1.4 million for each punch he landed. Post bout Mayweather showed two ESPN announcers his initial payment check – for $100 million – and there will be another equally absurd one after the pay-per-view sales are figured out.
Regardless of the entertainment value of the the yawn-fest, it was an estimated 3 million people’s pay per view entertainment choice Saturday night (to the tune of $90 if you chose to watch in standard TV -is that even still around? -or $100 if you wanted to enjoy the splendor of that new technical miracle called hi-definition TV). If you were one of the suckers that forked over that ridiculous fee to watch two over the hill fighters love tap each other for 12 rounds while smiling and counting their collective $200 million pay days, you have no one to blame but yourself. You bought into the hype and PT Barnum would have loved you.
But now, unbelievably, there are talks of a rematch due to the disclosure of Pacquiao’s pre-fight injured shoulder. I don’t doubt Pacquiao was hurt, and perhaps furthered injured himself during the fight, but I also don’t care. Noted sports surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache (previous patients include Kobe Bryant and Tom Brady) told ESPN on Monday after he examined Pacquiao, “We have an MRI scan that confirms he has a rotator cuff tear. He has a significant tear,” and added the injury was likely to sideline him for between nine and 12 months. So let’s get Ol’ Manny healed and do it all again with both fighters at 100% this time! Maybe they’ll give us a break and it will only be $50 or $75 per view this time? No thanks.
Yesterday a pair of fight watchers filed a class-action suit against Pacquiao and the promoter Top Rank, alleging Pacquiao’s camp failed to disclose the fighter’s shoulder injury ahead of time in a pre-fight questionnaire – which certainly seems like a true statement based on everything we’ve heard so far. The plaintiffs, Stephane Vanel and Kami Rahbaran, are seeking $5 million on behalf of themselves and, according to the suit, “on behalf of all persons who purchased tickets; purchased the pay-per-view event; or who wagered money on the event.” Love it.
Pacquiao’s advisor, Michael Koncz, and Top Rank employees Todd DuBoef and Robert Arum are also listed as defendants in the lawsuit (Koncz told the New York Daily News yesterday that it was he, not Pacquiao, who filled out the prefight medical questionnaire). Top Rank’s attorney, Daniel Petrocelli, said, “The lawsuit is completely frivolous. Nothing was concealed, and I expect it to be dismissed in due course.” That we shall have to wait and see about, but I now fully expect multiple suits to start appearing, and I say good for the plaintiffs and keep ‘em coming. Tie these shameless money grabbers up in court for as long as you can.
Mayweather for his part was sued on Tuesday as well, but not from a disgruntled ticket buyer. The suit was brought by the mother of three of Mayweather’s children, who alleges he lied about her during one of his interviews in the buildup of the fight. Mayweather told Katie Couric that Josie Harris was on drugs during an incident that led to him spending two months in jail for domestic violence. Another touching story regarding Floyd Mayweather Jr. who sounds just like a peachy guy.
For someone who never missed an Ali, Leonard or even a Tyson fight, I now find myself wanting boxing to just go away. With a convoluted alphabet soup of “ruling authorities” all claiming various champions, insane greed and ridiculous pay per view bouts, I just don’t care anymore. Maybe that will change one day, but for now this last fight, and boxing in general, just feels like a fungus that somehow continues to linger.