Saturday, December 12, 2009

Pacquiao-Mayweather: What I’ve learned so far

The say that in the game of life you learn something new each and every day. That is a statement that definitely rings true and in the world of boxing especially there is always something worth discovering.

In charting the recent Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather developments I find myself being amazed and taken back in more ways that one. The hype surrounding the contest is unlike anything I have seen and every day I stumble upon a new angle or find myself contemplating a scenario that is completely new to me.

If the fight does come off I can only hope the contest delivers as much drama and suspense inside of the ropes than has been the case outside of the ring so far. From my best recollection, these are some of the things that have stood out to me while covering the early Pacquiao-Mayweather buzz.

The Mayweathers are a tough crowd

When Pacquiao defeated Cotto this past November 14th he put on an all around performance, one of the most complete and definitive of his career. Showing patience, poise, and extreme versatility with his attack, the Filipino sensation dominated the fight over the second half of the bout and had Cotto retreating before the action was halted in the twelfth round.

To even Pacquiao’s most ardent critics it was the type of performance that elicited great respect and in some cases admiration. Still there are one group of people who have remained hard pressed towards really tipping their hat to Manny; a clan known simply as the Mayweathers.

It goes without saying that all of Floyd Jr.’s relatives are going to stand behind him but what has been surprising is the fact that neither of his uncles nor his father have yet to acknowledge how impressive Pacquiao has been as of late. In talking to all three, Floyd Sr., and Uncles Roger and Jeff, I gathered up three similar viewpoints from each. All firmly believe that Pacquiao is no match for Floyd Jr.

“I do feel that Pacquiao is making a mistake going up against my son,” Floyd Sr. commented roughly a week ago. “Floyd is the most technical fighter out there; He’ll control the fight easily with his ring generalship. I don’t see anything that Pacquiao can bring for him. If Floyd stays away from that left it will be easy work.”

Earlier I had asked Roger his impressions of a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight and he too was extremely adamant about Pacquiao’s slim to none chance in the fight. I tried to press the chief trainer on to whether he saw some kind of greatness in Pacquiao but came up empty handed.

“He’s an alright fighter,” Roger said apathetically “I saw what he did against Cotto but I can’t say he’s anything special. I just don’t see it.”

As for Uncle Jeff, he has always been considered the Mayweather who is the most level headed in many regards and I was curious as to what he had to say about a Pacquiao-Money May collision. Surprisingly, to me at least, Jeff’s answers were that of a man dead set on his belief that Floyd Jr. is simply on another level.

“Pacquiao has nothing more than a puncher’s chance against Floyd,” Jeff stated a few weeks back. “I think we’ll see a replay of Mayweather-Marquez. If Pacquiao doesn’t catch Floyd with a big shot I don’t see him doing anything. The only punch he can land against him is the hook and it is very powerful. The other punches he throws are just too wide. Basically Floyd can stay on the outside and basically pick him apart.”

Talk about a tough crowd. It’s obvious that there seems to be a certain touch of bias amongst the Grand Rapids clan, as it is natural for those connected by blood to stand by each other. I don’t think the Mayweathers genuinely feel dismissive of Pacquiao but the possible showdown between him and Floyd is the type of contest that will bring the best and worst emotions to the surface.

The writer’s grind

Pacquiao-Mayweather is the type of contest that has also brought out the best and worst of many of today’s writers as well. Keeping up with the daily drama regarding the potential bout is a chore in its own and as a writer it becomes a test of your creativity, skill, and talent in producing new material.

Despite a multitude of angles to cover in the contest, thinking of something new and refreshing isn’t the easiest of tasks and I have noticed that every writer has their own nice when dissecting the fight’s developments. Like it or not, Mayweather and Pacquiao are what everyone is talking about and it's simply the topic that many are dying to read about.

Some writers really on their interaction with their connections in the boxing world, trying to produce somewhat of a ‘behind the scenes’ type of atmosphere with their material. Other writers rely solely on their opinion and speak from their heart with passion, caring less what people have to think of their often harsh words. Other scribes focus heavily on their inside information and always have a way of getting the scoop before anyone else.

Other scribes online have their own unique way of collecting attention, whether it is from their elaborate headlines, straight to the point articles, or even creating somewhat of a scoreboard of their own. Whether you are a writer looking for feedback from the fans or looking for compensation of another kind, any kind of attention is usually beneficial.

The Pacquiao-Mayweather grind is like a rat race for all parties involved, whether you are a fan, writer, or close to either camp. At the end of the day we’re all just trying to keep pace.

Putting everything into perspective

I have noticed that Pacquiao-Mayweather seems to be the main topic on everyone’s mind these days, to the point that other attractive contests have been lost in the shuffle. Just this weekend for example, we have two very meaningful fights in the Jr. Welterweight division with the Juan Diaz-Paulie Malignaggi rematch and the Timothy Bradley-Lamont Peterson WBO title tilt. And on top of that we also have a tape delayed broadcast of WBC Heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko taking on Kevin Johnson.

Two of those contests are evenly matched affairs that could conceivably end in either guy’s favor and the other is perhaps today's best Heavyweight going up against a brash and undefeated challenger from America. All four of the Jr. Welterweights doing action tonight are skilled in their crafts and it is the type of weekend that fans look forward to. But in looking online at the daily boxing news that is being churned out, the pressing concern on everyone’s mind is still all of the Pacquiao-Mayweather scenarios that have yet to play themselves out.

Pacquiao and Mayweather have been used to dominating inside of the ropes but nowadays they are also controlling the headlines as well. Feeling here is that won’t change anytime soon.

It’s all speculation

In going online to assess the thoughts of the everyday public in regards to the bout I have noticed much passion and even hatred coming to the surface. Pacquiao-Mayweather is the type of showdown that has had people talking, and to a broader extent, arguing and debating to night’s end.

Pacquiao’s faithful fans in particular are undyingly loyal to their hero and attack like piranhas when something even slightly negative is said about their man. Their opinion of Mayweather is that of someone who is purely the enemy and their words have often been scathing. Many of Pacquiao’s fans view Floyd as a coward and insist that he has no intentions of ever fighting their man.

At the end of the day, for as much as we can talk and debate the happenings, it’s all speculation. Nobody knows what is going on in the head of Floyd Mayweather Jr. except himself and over the following months we’ll have a better gauge of what his actions are. You can be for certain that up until the first bell rings, if it ever does, that the opinions will be hot and heavy.

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