When Floyd Mayweather emerged victorious in the super-hyped ‘Fight of the Century’ with Manny, not a few boxing pundits and fans voiced their disapproval and displeasure.
Interviewed after the fight, Manny gave a straight-forward answer: “I thought I won the fight. He didn’t do nothing.”
Former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield, a cinch to land in Canastota’s Boxing Hall of Fame, said he also thought Manny won the fight. “That’s crazy. I don’t know how in the world… I don’t know how they scored that.”
Shane Mosely, another future Hall of Famer, chimed: “I don’t know about the decision being unanimous, but it was close. Rounds were close on my card,” adding, “It was 7 rounds out of (12) for Manny.”
Another retired boxing legend, Oscar De La Hoya tweeted: “I’m just not into boxing, running style. I like jumping out of my seat because a fight was existing.”
Mike Tyson felt the fight was tied up to the 10th round. Many UFC stars were in unison, convinced that Pacquiao had won that fight. Formula 1 world Champ, Lewis Hamilton, echoed: “I felt Pacquiao won. He was the attacking one.” ESPN analyst Skip Bayless, and even Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen voiced their vehement disagreement over the absurd unanimous decision win by Mayweather; and the list goes on and on.
In fairness, Mayweather is undoubtedly one of the greatest boxers of today. His 48-0 record speaks tons of his talent, his work ethic and his ring smarts. His defensive virtuosity is simply the stuff for legends.
But the three judges had Floyd way ahead, one by a highly questionable 118-110 massacre, while two had identical, yet still-overwhelming 116-112 unanimous decision wins for Floyd. True, no one can question a judge’s scoring, but the lopsided scores give rise to questions about the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s impropriety in choosing 3 American judges, 2 of whom come from Nevada, Floyd’s home state. One of them, Bruce Clements, was the same judge in Manny’s first Juan Manuel Marquez fight who erroneously scored the first round a 10-7 instead of 10-6, which eventually made the fight a split draw.
Compubox provided overwhelming numbers in favor of Mayweather: 148 to 81 total punches landed; 67 to 18 total jabs landed; and 81 – 63 power punches landed.
Chided for simply counting the paws with the jabs and the straights, and not the hugs, the clinches and the escape-and-evasion tactics, Compubox officials were quick to wash their hands clean: “Compubox was never designed to score fights. The program was created to provide a barometer of a fighter’s activity. We’ve never said, and we never will say we’re the be-all and end-all when it comes to scoring fights, as there are more elements to take into consideration.” Duhh… then why the hell do we rely on them then?
That said, who really lost in the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight? More than Manny – who has fans worldwide who continue to believe he deserved the win – the real loser in this bout was boxing itself. The sport of boxing, widely believed to be in the throes of irrelevance, was dealt a severe blow in this bust-of-a-‘Fight of the Century’. That bout could well be the knockout blow, the last nail in the coffin for a dying sport, unless clear changes are implemented on how judges score a fight.
People watch boxing because they want to see modern gladiators try to bamboozle each other. We watch with baited breath for a fighter to batter, bludgeon, and butcher his adversary in a violent, yet largely-controlled environment. It used to be that fighters would get rewarded for being aggressive and taking the fight to the other guy on the floor. It used to be that hugging and holding were taboo in this sport.
Today, things have apparently changed. What we saw was a showcase on how not to get hit, when what matters more should be how to hit and hammer the opponent senseless.
That both fighters finished the match without a cut, a bloodied nose, a bruise, not even a blemish is not a good testament to their boxing skills. Rather, it is a clear sign of a lack of decisive activity within the 4 corners of the ring. There was obviously more love (as in hugging) and more running and holding and dancing. Unfortunately, this was not supposed to be a love story we were watching. Neither was it a ballet repertoire.
I tried to get my kids to watch the bout, thinking they’d get excited watching boxing’s best in a duel to the death. Instead, what they saw was a cha-cha, which they dismissed with a ho-hum. “This is boring, dad,” my son yawned. No wonder kids nowadays know more about mixed martial arts and the UFC. Ronda Rousey’s glare is simply far more decapitating than Floyd Mayweather’s powder-puff right straights. And that there is a portent of boxing’s future as a mainstream contact sport.
(Pictures courtesy of mashable.com, sportingnews.com, usatoday.com, ibtimes.co, rappler.com, phillymag.com, variety.com, cnbc.com, khon2.com, sltrib.com, sports.inquirer.net.)