Sports Commentary: The fight of the century

While AP and SAT testing occupied the minds of many students over the past bank holiday weekend, some interrupted their weekend routine, waking up at 4 a.m. for what was labeled as “The Fight of the Century.”

At the MGM Grand Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada,  Floyd “Money” Mayweather (47-0 entering the fight) and World Boxing Organization (WBO) Welterweight champion Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao (57-5 entering the fight) faced off.

Prior to the fight, both within the High School and in media, there was a sense of excitement that was found at every corner. While the fight took five years to plan and coordinate, its long anticipation only built the excitement. On many resale ticket websites such as StubHub, tickets were going for close to $3,000 at a minimum two days before the fight, with the general release of tickets having sold out within minutes.

The conversation many of my peers, as well as some teachers, were having centered around the fight: Who was staying up to watch the fight, who everyone was rooting for and what everyone thought the final outcome would be.

While popular culture labeled Mayweather as the villain for his past involvement in domestic abuse, there was a certain attraction surrounding his somewhat conceited attitude and his brand “The Money Team (TMT)”.

The majority of fan support for Pacquiao at the MGM, who has been labeled as the “Pride of the Philippines”, came out of the fact that he was the underdog. In sports, the idea of an underdog story is always captivating, and with Mayweather having been undefeated going into the fight, people wanted to see him suffer his first loss. Due to both his domestic abuse past as well as his past record, Pacquiao garnered a large fan support going into the fight.

Going into the fight I was supporting Mayweather. He is the best boxer of our generation and,  when I watched my first fight as an eight-years-old, he drew me into the sport. That fight, in which Mayweather fought Oscar De La Hoya prior to taking a three year absence from the ring, was the start of my love affair with boxing.

Anyway, back to the supposed “Fight of the Century.”

As both Mayweather and Pacquiao prepared to enter the ring, I sat in front of my TV waiting anxiously for it to start with an extra large coffee to keep me going for the 4 a.m. start. I hadn’t slept, nor did I intend to. With a delayed start, the fight would keep me awake until close to 6 a.m..

The fight began exactly as expected. Pacquiao came out of the gate firing; a tactic that has both won him fights and lost him some, while Mayweather sat back, tiring out his opponent.

Mayweather has always been described as a “businessman” when it comes to boxing. He takes the shots necessary, while not putting everything on the line like Pacquiao did in this instance. While a smart tactic, it has always been Mayweather’s tactic as he is regarded as one of the greatest defensive fighters to step foot in the ring.

Since this went to the 12th round, the fight was judged over its full scope, and with that, it was Mayweather that managed to win because of his tactical approach that enabled long term stability.

In the aftermath of the fight, many dubbed it a disappointment based off of the conversations I had, stating it was “boring.” However, it is this casual audience that likely watched more for the hype surrounding the fight rather than the boxing prowess that was on display.

I would hope that true boxing fans agree with me that this fight was a game where tactical strength outshined the strength of the fighters in the ring. While there were obvious variables that affected the fight such as Pacquiao’s injury going into it, the fight was between two of boxing’s elites, and lived up to the hype.