Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Opinion: The Pacquiao-Mayweather Debacle

“We'd all have to be morons to not let this happen.” - Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer

We've all been fooled. Well, maybe not fooled but maybe we all expected too much. I am talking about the recent Pacquiao-Mayweather Fail where, somehow, the parties involved managed to prematurely ejaculate all over what would have been the richest bout in history.

The welterweight division is stacked with some of the finest talent in the fight game. In fact, so strong is the current division that it has garnered comparisons with 1980’s welterweight division which hosted names such as Hearns, Leonard, Duran and Benitez.

Today those names have been replaced by Pacqiuao, Mosley, Mayweather, Williams, Margarito and Cotto. The major difference is that the 1980’s crew fought each other “on the reg” whilst Pacquiao hasn’t been at the 147 party long enough and Mayweather seems to be allergic to contest (for my opinion on his last bout see my last post).

The return of Money May and the ascension of Pacquiao through the divisions was only supposed to bring awesome things in the form a ‘Superfight’ between two of the world’s premier, and definitely most bankable, stars. In terms of pay-per-view buys, Mayweather’s last three bouts generated 2.44 million (De La Hoya), 920,000 (Hatton) and 1 million (Marquez) whilst Pacquiao’s last three were 1.25 million (De La Hoya), 850,000 (Hatton) and 1.25 (Cotto). Simple economics and logic would then dictate that the top two pound for pound fighters would square off in a matter of ring supremacy.

This has not happened.

Mayweather and his associates speculated that Pacquiao’s increase in power and punch resistance as he came up the classes (a correlation which is usually negative) was due to performance enhancing drugs. This is mildly plausible speculation considering his meteoric rise. However, Pacquiao has NEVER failed any drug tests in his entire career. In fact, less than two weeks ago both fighters both passed the NSAC Drug Test.

Money May then stipulated that Pacquiao would have to be subjected to Olympic style blood and urine testing mandated by the United States Anti Doping Agency right up until the fight. A clause that Pacquiao (strangely) could not accept. The two arguments that evolve are therefore;

1. If Pacquiao is not using performance-enhancing drugs of any kind, then why shouldn’t he take the tests?

Makes sense.

2. But, if the bout were to be held in Las Vegas, then the drug testing would be mandated by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, whose tests Pacquiao has never failed. Who is Mayweather to change how the sport is regulated? He has never demanded this kind of testing from any other fighter so why should Pacquiao now be subjected to it?

Also makes sense.

Pacquaio then gave strange excuses, such as he was afraid of needles (despite having tattoos) and that taking blood from him would sap him of energy. The amount of blood required for this kind of testing is minimal. After outside mediation between the parties, Pac then relented and said that he was willing to take the tests up to 24 days before the fight and directly after the bout concluded. Which is a fair enough resolve. This wasn’t enough for Money May who could only agree to a 14 days before the fight window.

Fight off.

My opinion on this?

I think Olympic style testing should be used in all sports, given we see sport as an exhibition of human ability and skill. Two ideals which should not be subverted. But, the fact still stands that if the bout was to take place in Las Vegas, that they would be subjected to the testing agreed upon by the NSAC. Tests which Pacquiao has never failed and never refused.

Ultimately, both parties are at fault. They straight shit the money bed. The difference is, Mayweather now needs Pacquiao far more than Pacquiao needs Money May. Pacquiao has set his legacy by fighting the top guys in every division he competes in whilst Mayweather cherry picks a lot smaller or shot opponents.

How stupid is Mayweather though really? His tax problems are well documented, however his fragile ego could not bear the thought of him having to face valid opposition and quite possibly *gasp* lose. Despite the fact that he was the bookmaker's favourite going into it.

These odds make perfect sense as offence wins games (Pacquiao) yet defence wins championships (Mayweather). And what would have been the biggest (in terms of C.R.E.A.M) fight in boxing history clearly is a championship.


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