At last, the biggest fight on the planet, the one every boxing fan has waited years to see, is ON. This will unquestionably be the largest boxing event in the history of the sport. For diehard boxing enthusiasts, it’s a dream come true. It will bring in the largest purses of any fight in history with Floyd Mayweather earning as much as $120 Million dollars and Manny Pacquiao earning as much as $80 Million dollars.
Great boxing events are like no other sporting events that exist. If you truly love and understand boxing, you won’t dispute that comment. This fight is the Super Bowl, the World Cup, the World Series, the Stanley Cup and the NBA Finals all wrapped up into one. The excitement is immeasurable. While the two weeks between the championship game and the Super Bowl seem to drag on forever, even for football fans, a fight like this peaks day one and continues until both fighters walk into the ring.
Of course there are those critics who will say, “who wants to see two old men mixing it up in the ring?” And to them I say, me and millions of other real boxing fans including Max Kellerman, Jim Lampley, and Larry Merchant. Larry was at the top of his game when he called the last fight that had this kind of appeal and was a parallel in many ways: Leonard-Hagler. Both were past their primes but what a fight. Round 9 is still arguably one of the greatest rounds in the history of boxing. On HBO, following that fight, Merchant made the comment that “now that the fight is part of history who wanted to see the fight?” Larry said, “Unlike the decision it wasn’t split.” Everyone who witnessed that fight not only got their moneys’ worth but were stoked for days after. You either attended that fight live or watched it in a venue that had closed circuit screens. It was not available on T.V.
At the time I worked near Grand Central Station in New York City, and would often run into founder of Ring Magazine, Bert Sugar, who passed away in 2012. He of course was always wearing his signature fedora and holding a giant cigar between his lips. No matter how busy, he always took the time to speak to and listen to me. While I certainly couldn’t refer to him as my personal friend, he always tolerated me because he knew how much I loved boxing. Before the Leonard-Hagler fight, he told me that he would pay to see that fight even if they were both in wheel chairs. I may be embellishing but that’s the gist of it and I feel exactly the same with this fight, which is why I thought of him. This will be a great event. I’m sure Mr Sugar already has his ticket.
Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, are already in the history books as two of the greatest fighters ever to lace up the gloves. No one can dispute that. And when you put two of the greatest, most gifted, and proud fighters in the ring against each other, even at their age, great things can and will happen. The Leonard-Hagler fight bore that out. The event will raise both fighters to a level rarely seen except in the greatest fights including Ali-Frazier; Ali-Foreman; Holmes-Cooney; Leonard-Duran II and Hagler-Hearns. There are many others but these are the fights that stand out in my mind.
So at last, we have the super fight that we have been waiting for, for years. The excitement and the speculation will continue to build until fight night. There will be many opinions about who will win the fight, which is a large part of why it’s so intriguing. The truth is, either fighter is capable of winning and it will ultimately depend on who figures out the other fighter first and therefore is able to fight his fight. You better believe, better late than never. My pick: Pacquiao by decision.