Floyd ran all night, so how did he win?
I could have danced all night,
I could have danced all night,
And still have begged for more….
From a song in “My Fair Lady”
That’s what Floyd Mayweather did all night—dance—in the disappointing “Fight of the Century” against Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas last Saturday (Sunday in the Philippines). Floyd deserves to win, all right—had the event been a dance contest, or a marathon. He would make a perfect dancing partner for Mommy D. Or a marathon runner, because he really is a good runner.
Except that it was a boxing bout, not a ballroom dancing competition or a marathon race. Boxing fans who paid big money expecting to see a bruising fight were disappointed because Floyd did not fight. Instead, he danced and ran. Still, he won by unanimous decision.
So that’s how Floyd has managed to remain undefeated. He runs, but the judges win the bout for him. Manny was fighting not just Floyd but also four others in the ring—the referee and the three judges.
That’s the difficulty of fighting an opponent in the latter’s home turf. Floyd lives in Las Vegas and has plenty of money invested in various businesses there.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission supervised the fight, the referee is a black American, just like Floyd, and the three judges are also Americans. So how can a boxer from a Third World country win against him in a close fight?
That may sound racist, but even Floyd’s own father and trainer, Floyd Sr., admitted that he thought the decision should have been much closer. In the fifth round, Floyd Sr. was seen scolding his son. “What’s wrong with you, son?” he said, and urged the latter to try harder. He also admitted later that some boxing judges are “crooks.”
“I told Floyd he needed to do a lot more because we know some judges are crooks” was what Floyd Sr. said.
Some boxing analysts thought it should have been a draw or a split decision. Still others think Manny should have won. The decision was unanimous for Floyd.
“I thought I won,” Manny told the ring announcer after the decision was announced. Many viewers thought so, too.
Millions of boxing fans around the world clearly saw that Manny was the aggressor, that he landed the solid punches, and that Floyd was dancing away from him. At least twice, Manny’s punch staggered Floyd. Many thought that the decision for Floyd was a hometown decision.
Some boxing experts said the bout was a boxing lesson. It showed Floyd’s skill as a “defensive boxer.” But “defensive boxing” is boring to watch. Fans go to boxing bouts to watch a fight, not a dancing lesson. If the latter is what they want, they will go to a ballroom, not to a boxing arena.
True, Floyd is the scientific boxer and Manny is the slugger, just like Muhammad Ali was the scientific boxer and Joe Frazier the slugger in the two real “fights of the century”—one in Madison Square Garden in New York, and the other the “Thrilla in Manila.”
All the boxing greats in the world put their opponents to sleep and did not run away from them—the heavyweight Rocky Marciano, whose undefeated record Floyd is trying to break; Joe Louis, the longest reigning heavyweight champion in the world; even the middleweights Sugar Ray Robinson and Sugar Ray Leonard.
Floyd may break Marciano’s undefeated record, but he will never be a great fighter like Marciano.
* * *
What’s next for Manny Pacquiao? Many people think he should retire now before he becomes punch-drunk like so many other boxers before him, including Muhammad Ali, the real “The Greatest.”
On the other hand, House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte thinks Manny, who is the representative of Sarangani, should not retire yet because at age 36, “he is still young.”
But boxers should retire, not when they are already old and decrepit, but when they are still near the top of their career so the people will remember them in victory, not when they are fading.
That is the tragedy of most boxers. “One more fight, one more fight,” members of their teams, who depend on their winnings for their livelihood, urge them, and the boxers, thinking of the fat purses, continue fighting.
“One more time,” they keep telling themselves after each bout—until that last blow puts them out of commission, permanently.
Manny should retire now, while he can still enjoy life, not when he is incapacitated. Enjoy your children while they are still young. Children grow up so fast, and they are soon gone before you know it, and you wonder: “Where did all the years go? Why did I not enjoy my children while they were still young?”
He doesn’t have to earn anything anymore. He has enough money in the bank. His income from his last bout alone is estimated to be P1 billion. Invest that in a time deposit at 10-percent interest a year, and that would yield P100 million yearly. That is enough even for an extravagant family like the Pacquiaos, if he does not squander it in foolish election campaigns.
Wise up, Manny. Don’t let yourself wind up like so many other boxers before you.
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