KING SALOMAN’S COURT: Pacquiao vs. Mayweather a fight that needs to happen
Boxing is letting a golden opportunity pass it by.
It’s hard to imagine now but once upon a time boxing could easily capture America’s attention. You would have families nationwide sitting by the radio or television because it was something everyone could enjoy.
Boxers such as Jack Dempsey and Joe Louis gave way to Rocky Marciano, who gave way to Ali and Frazier. These guys were heroes to many and their stories live on through recordings and first-hand accounts.
Things have changed since then of course. Money had always corrupted the sport, but now that premier fights are only available on pay-per-view and with no less than’ four major organizations claiming ‘championship belts,’ things are as bad as they’ve ever been.
So it comes as a surprise to many that the sport’s savior has come in the unlikely form of a formerly orphaned Filipino who through hard work and perseverance is now the world’s premier boxer.
Manny Pacquiao delivered when it mattered most Saturday night by soundly defeating another talented boxer, Miguel Cotto, for the WBO welterweight title, thereby increasing the number of world titles he’s won to seven.
Pacquiao quieted doubters by taking some hard blows from Cotto in the early rounds but never once looking rattled. Instead, he took his trademark ability to deliver shots from surprising angles to deliver a series of knockdowns on Cotto.
By the 11th round, even Cotto’s father wanted his son to throw in the towel, and when that didn’t happen, Pacquiao finished Cotto off in the 12th.
What makes Pacquiao different from other champions is that he is genuinely likeable. He is a national hero in the Philippines and is widely known for his generosity, as he understands the difficulty of making a living first hand.
His combination of humility and dominance is in contrast to the boxers who have ‘carried’ the sport over the last 20 years, such as’ Mike Tyson and the biggest name in the sport now, Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Mayweather, who is undefeated, certainly is a talented boxer and arguably the best of his generation. But Mayweather is also the master of hype, image and money, which is seemingly all he stands for.
He also has never had a career defining fight until possibly now. It is the fight that everyone wants to see, and to his credit, Mayweather appears to want in, even going as far as calling out Pacquiao.
‘Tell Manny Pacquiao to be his own man and stop letting everyone, including his loudmouth trainer, talk for him,’ Mayweather told the USA Today. ‘I am my own boss, speak for myself and tell it like it is. If Manny Pacquiao wants to fight me, all he has to do is step up to the plate and say it himself.’
Can it be that simple? That remains to be seen, but if and when it does happen rest assured it will be the most important fight perhaps in decades.
Mayweather’s counter-punching technique would make him the favorite, but you’d be wrong to ever count Pacquiao out. He has’ an entire nation in his corner.