I really tried.
I tried not to vent. I didn’t want to. I wanted to talk about the upcoming slugfest between Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez and the mercurial James Kirkland, which by the way will be held at Minute Maid Park. Yes, the park where the Houston Astros play. A place that holds roughly 40,000 people.
Saturday night on HBO, these two guys will absolutely tee off on each other for as long as it lasts. Depending on which version of Kirkland shows up, we could be venturing into Fight of the Year territory.
I won’t give any of them the courtesy of mentioning them individually, though I was sickened when I read this piece of shit from my own local newspaper about the fucking death nail that the fight drove into the spastically pumping heart of boxing. Of course, this is the same paper that did this, so you know, grain of salt and all that…
Boxing is not dead. It is unkillable. It’s like Jason Vorhees. It can be shot, stabbed, burned, mutilated, drowned, dismembered, drawn and quartered, hanged, gassed and whatever happened to Mel Gibson in Braveheart, (pretty sure it was penile stuff) and it will still come back.
When it does, it will be angry and wielding a fucking chainsaw. Dead sports don’t attract tens of thousands of people to a ballpark to watch a guy who can’t speak English ply his craft. Dead sports don’t sell out The Forum when a guy from Kazakhstan fights a slick southpaw nobody has heard of.
Years ago, boxing became the go-to whipping boy. Through a series of poor decisions, greed, and mismanagement, it went from being a household product to a niche sport. But it never went away. True fight fans never went away, and we never will. The only ones who will go away are the ones who spend enough time to watch “Merriweather,” declare the sport dead, and then come back whenever the next big fight occurs. It’s a ceaseless pattern.
Saturday’s bout wasn’t scintillating, but it was far from dreadful. The fight sucked for people who expected buckets of blood to soak the canvas. It sucked for people who thought Floyd Mayweather, one of the greatest defensive fighters of all time, would throw caution aside and fire off 150 punches a round, going toe-to-toe with one of the most lethal offensive fighters of the last 20 years because fuck it, why not???
If you went into Saturday night expecting that, you were probably pretty disappointed. Then again, you wouldn’t have expected that had you a fucking clue about the men who were fighting. The idea behind the fight, the reason why it swelled up the way it did, was because the two best fighters of their generation were finally stepping into the ring together.
Pacquiao represented perhaps the last real threat to Mayweather, a guy whose offensive bursts, odd angles, and southpaw stance could quite possibly give the defensive wizard some fits. Nobody who knows the sport was salivating over the fight because an epic brawl may have ensued, like with Lucas Matthysse and Ruslan Provodnikov.
And yet that’s what we get in the days after. Bitching. I’ve lost count at the amount of times I’ve shaken my head when reading about how Mayweather “ran” all night. While we could argue about whether it was “running” or “boxing,” that isn’t the point. The point is that’s what Floyd Mayweather does. He’s a master boxer.
He’s a smaller, younger, better version of Bernard Hopkins. He takes your best weapon and either uses it against you or eliminates it altogether. It makes for “boring” fights because he’s so much better than anybody else who gets into the ring with him. What did anyone expect him to do? Stand and trade apparently.
The onus was on Pacquiao to somehow penetrate that defense, or confuse Mayweather by firing off rapid combinations from bizarre angles. Maybe he’d be able to drill him with something he didn’t see coming. He had a little success early, but it became clear from the start that he would not be throwing 1200 punches in this fight. And even when Pacquiao would have a good minute or a solid round, Mayweather would come back and assert himself emphatically, thus completely eliminating any momentum Pacquiao would gain.
Pacquiao’s shoulder injury, an injury that apparently occurred in early April, obviously didn’t help his plight. He would have had issues fighting Mayweather with three arms. Apparently, the commission wasn’t notified of the injury until the night of the fight, which is absolutely ludicrous, especially if you’re trying to score a numbing shot in the hours preceding the bout. Either way, he was going to have to fight flawlessly to have a chance to win. The problem was that Mayweather was flawless.
And so we’re here, with “journalists” and casual fans lamenting the lack of action and declaring the sport dead. Dying. Deadzies. Whatever. I’d make one plea to these guys–give it one more look. Tune in Saturday night, when Canelo Alvarez gets introduced and starts making his ring entrance. Listen to the crowd for a minute. Then stick around for the fight, where the southpaw James Kirkland will try to tear Canelo’s head off his shoulders, and Canelo salivates at the fact that he’s in with a fighter who will be coming straight for him, just the way he likes it.
If you like what you see, give it one more Saturday. Watch the man simply known as GGG, who talks like Borat, smiles like Pacquiao, and hits like Tyson.
And if you still think the sport is dead, you’re hopeless. Go watch some more NFL coverage and fuck off.
You won’t be missed.
Some Random Notes From The PPV Broadcast:
Things were going oh so well with the broadcast team, until Lamps had to try and bitch slap Bernstein about promoting a Showtime fighter. The man was having none of it, and we got three seconds of gloriously awkward quietude. Awesome.
Lennox Lewis’ hat. It almost took away from the brilliant insight he tossed our way.
Holy hell, Jamie Foxx. It was weird to see him climax while singing those final painful notes of our national anthem.
Nothing accentuates Jim Gray’s douchebaggery like a bow tie.
Leo Santa Cruz has been fighting so many journeymen that he’s starting to resemble one…
How the fuck did Andre Agassi score those seats?
Paris Hilton is still a vapid moron, in case anyone forgot.
I loved seeing Floyd Sr. bitching up a storm at his son, who quietly reminded his dad that he was in control.
Floyd’s exclamation to Manny of “YOU TIGHT AS A MOTHERFUCKER!” was my favorite part of the evening.