For the past week the hype machine has gone well into overdrive; in the UK for instance, Sky Sports have had Sky Sports 1 dedicated to build up along with clips of other big fights from previous years. This as you can imagine is just a 24 hour reel of advertisement of the PPV fight, with a sprinkling of actual boxing and build up thrown in.
Social media has been in a state of shock since the announcement of the fight was made official. People are actively talking about boxing, even people who aren't necessarily interest in boxing, which is brilliant. The intensity of the hype has amplified as the countdown turned from months to weeks, now into days until the showdown. But, there seems to be some serious papering over the cracks as many refuse to look at or even consider the massive question that is; is Mayweather Vs Pacquiao really the biggest fight ever?
Pac It In
'The Biggest Fight Ever', it is not. The biggest fight on an international scale for many years, it is. I guess that tagline doesn't quite capture the imagination of the fans and public though so the white lie from the marketing departments can be excused.
It has only taken the two fighters and their respective camps around five years to finally get this fight sorted and this is one of the biggest sticking points. If they fought five years previously, this writer believes it would have been an even bigger fight. Whether they are genuinely knowledgeable or just have an interest in the sport, how many people have you spoken to that will say something along the lines of; "Yeah, but if only they fought five years ago!" Personally, I don't think you can argue. Both men are five years older, Mayweather closing in on 40 at 38, with Pacquiao a few years his junior at 36. Age is by no means a definitive barrier in any sport; it's up to the individual sportsmen. But, when you can argue that the fight would have been bigger years earlier, you can't bless the two men with that same stature when they've had it on the backburner for so long.
The Wrong Division?
As I'm not old enough to genuinely comment on fights of Ali, Frazier, Foreman and the older greats of the sport - I'll keep it short and sweet here. Think back to all the fights which are world-wide renowned as the biggest fights in the history of the sport. Which division were they? Heavyweight. There is just something about that division and when you get two great boxers in the ring together. That's no disrespect to the other weights within the sport but it's a fact that all the fights people regard as the biggest were within the Heavyweight division.
In many sports the ever increasing amounts of money for sportsmen across the globe only serve to distance themselves from reality and from the fans. The two mens career earnings serve as a start point to this. Floyd Mayweather has earned, through his boxing, $420million while Manny Pacquaio trails earning $340million in his boxing career. That’s mega money - then add into the equations their earnings through non-Boxing means and the numbers continue to grow. But, when you look at the money involved in this ONE fight - a reported pot of $300million to be split between the two, 60/40 in Mayweather's favour, means the two would be earning just shy of half of what they've earned in their whole boxing careers. If the media, the fighters and their camps wanted to bill this as the 'The Biggest Money Fight Ever', I doubt you'd find a soul willing to argue.
There is also the small issue of the ticket agreement, at the MGM the capacity is just over 16,000. However, only this week have tickets gone on general sale. And of that 16,000 capacity, only 1,000 will be on general sale. The rest will be allocated to the separate boxers camps. Whilst tickets for the big sporting events are always handled in this way with corporate tickets/boxes, celebrity 'friends', etc, the miniscule amount of tickets made available for the general public for this fight is astonishing. With this in mind, it is a given that the fight will smash all previous PPV sporting records.
Anti-climatic clash of style?
For a fight being dubbed 'The Biggest Fight Ever' - the chances of it being a routine defensive masterclass from Mayweather are high. Whilst you do have to applaud his talent as a defensive technician and clinical counter-puncher, it does get 'boring'. Most people when asked who they are tipping to win the bout will reply Mayweather, why? The fact he'll nullify Pacquiao with ease, and it'll go the whole way to another Mayweather UD points win. Of course, there is the hope that Pacquaio comes at Mayweather with everything he has got, and for a boxer of 36 who has already lost five times, this, is his final chance to be known as the best pound for pound fighter in the world. The neutral just needs to hope that the southpaw stance of Pacquiao works against Mayweather, as well as the Filipino having a masterful plan from the gym.
An exchange over the differing styles came about when Freddie Roach was speaking to BBC Sport; "We've been working on throwing flurries of punches - because Floyd doesn't throw on the counter until you're done - before getting out of the pocket real quick."
Mayweather responded nonchalantly; "Everybody's game plan against me is to throw lots of punches. It hasn't worked in 19 years and 47 fights."
You've got to hope that Pacquaio is planning on something bigger than that with his trainer or it could well be a long night for the Filipino and an easy one for the American.
The Biggest Fight Ever II;
If it does indeed go the distance, you can bet your bottom dollar that there will be rumours and calls for the eventual loser of the bout to demand a rematch. Especially, if as expected, it is to be a tightly contested bout. If a rematch was rushed together for later this year, or early 2016, it would only go to serve against the tag of 'The Biggest Fight Ever' and compound the money chasing tendencies of those involved.