Floyd-Manny II? Like It Or Not, Here Comes The Hype
By: Sean Crose
I guess we should have seen it coming. Sure enough, many of us did. The rest of us, however, seem to have stuck our heads in the figurative sand, hoping that the thing we dreaded simply wouldn’t come to pass. We were wrong, of course, and now the buzz for – oh boy – Mayweather-Pacquiao II has arrived. If there was a single moment that acted as the starting gun for the inevitable hype machine, it was Floyd Mayweather’s arrival at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas on Saturday. Floyd, on the surface of things, had simply decided to stop by with his daughter to catch Pacquiao’s fight with the ultimately overmatched Jessie Vargas. Perhaps that was actually the case. No matter. The hype for the rematch between the two biggest stars in this era of boxing has subsequently begun.
Don’t believe it? Just go online. Respected journalists are saying the rematch is going down. And no, these people are not guilty of creating false buzz. They’re simply doing their jobs and their jobs require them to go public with such matters. Long story short, these individuals see the writing on the wall. And now, begrudgingly, this writer does, too…or at least he accepts the possibility that the rematch to one of the most disdained fights in history is indeed real.
Here’s the truth, though – in hindsight (and after numerous viewings) I don’t think the first fight was all that bad. To be sure, I now believe it may have been far closer than some would like to admit. We media smart asses were so convinced of Floyd’s easy dominance, however, that everyone from the broadcast team to those of us writing from homes loaded with guests essentially convinced the world – live and in real time – that it was a walk in the park for Mayweather. Sure, Floyd won, fair and square, but what the hell were we thinking? Going into the later rounds, it was still anyone’s’ fight.
Still, the lead up to that Titanic sized first affair was so over the top that many analysts and fans – casual and hardcore alike – are still figuratively hung over. No matter, the people who would be behind Floyd-Manny II know a large percentage of those fans will pay up to see the second go round between two legends regardless. No, it won’t be anywhere as big as the first one, but it will be a big event nonetheless. Let’s face it, you’ll watch it live should it happen and I will, too.
Why? Because the main allure to boxing is the fact that it answers a single question: Who’s the better man (or woman)? Whether we realize it or not, we’re going to WANT to know who the better man is should Floyd-Manny II get made. Floyd may have won the first fight decisively, but there’s still enough of a question as to whether or not he could do it twice to make a second go round interesting. Indeed, as the possibility of Floyd-Manny II becomes clearer and clearer, I find myself wondering whether or not a rematch would be such a bad thing.
Truth is, it probably wouldn’t. Provided, of course, that the second go round be treated as what it would ultimately be – a superfight. Not an ESSENTIAL CULTURAL EVENT, not something that SPEAKS TO WHO AND WHERE WE ARE AS A SOCIETY, just a very relevant boxing match. If I can sum up the nonsense that surrounded the first fight in a single tale, it’s this: An old high school classmate of mine who had taken to admonishing me publicly on Facebook for supporting the “dead” sport of boxing subsequently celebrated on that same social media site a short time later because he had gotten tickets to the Mayweather-Pacquiao weigh in.
The weigh in, people.
There’s other stories, too. That final Mayweather conference call was a real treat. I heard the final Pacquiao conference call was even better, replete with the antics of Bob Arum at his worst, but I had missed that one. The list goes on and on, frankly. I had spent the entirety of the lead up to “The Fight of This and Every Century” thousands of miles away from Vegas, on the east coast, yet I was still waiting for it all to be over come fight day. Needless to say, a repeat of such a migraine headache of PR inspired group think insanity, would not be welcomed warmly by many in and out of the boxing world this time around.
A healthy, organic buzz for an interesting, high profile matchup, however…
Here’s something worth pondering: What if the rematch doesn’t happen? The first one was virtually impossible to make. Is it worth all the strife for a second fight that clearly won’t be as lucrative? Sure, Floyd showed up at Manny’s bout this weekend, but he’s also teased a potential fight with mixed martial artist Conor McGregor, the current Cherished White Fighter of the mainstream media (the Irishman has replaced blonde haired Californian Ronda Rousey as the object of “high end” journalists’ admiration and attention these days). The point?
That Floyd likes being the center of attention. McGregor may be cocky, but he seems unaware of the fact that Mayweather is sharing the spotlight with him during what may be the zenith of the Irishman’s career. Point Mayweather. What’s more, Mayweather, who hasn’t fought in over a year, is sharing the spotlight with Pacquiao after a Pacquiao pay per view weekend. Again, point Mayweather. To be sure, this might ultimately still be Floyd’s world that the rest of us just living in it.