By Kirk Jackson
The matchup between Floyd Mayweather (47-0, 26 KOs) and Manny Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KOs) is the most anticipated fight ever. A fight in discussion for more than half a decade, a fight dissected and analyzed over and over and over.
One of the intriguing aspects of the clash between the two, is the series of battles taking place outside the ring.
Battles Mayweather has been fighting his whole career and potentially without end.
Double standards, racism, not only of just him, but of other fighters sharing similar traits, whether it is physical appearance, fighting style or personality.
It would be hard pressed to find anyone who views Mayweather as some beacon of hope, combatting social injustices, racism and various prejudices that exist in the world. He is not that guy.
But Mayweather has alluded to racism and the scrutiny he endures on a consistent basis.
Do prejudices exist in the sport of boxing? Is Mayweather just a special case or is this an overreaction?
Some of his criticisms are self-induced and it would be foolish to compare his plight to Muhammad Ali and many of the African Americans who came before him. Many enduring numerous battles of racism and intolerance, many who stood up and fought for the betterment of human rights and equality.
Some of the scrutiny Mayweather endures is due to his public persona, the perception of not being viewed as a positive role model.
Charles Barkley famously said, “I’m not a role model, parents should be role models.”
Mr. Barkley is correct: athletes, musicians, actors, entertainers in general, should not be viewed as role models. They are entertainers, there is no pre-requisite or obligation to mentor the audience.
It seems Mayweather made the sacrifice of public perception for the sake of entertainment, for the path of maximizing his earning potential and love of money.
The overall picture plays as a contributing factor to his marketing value, because genuine fans of the sweet science, can appreciate his artistic boxing brilliance, while the haters will love to pay to see Mayweather get his face smashed in.
His contributions to the sport surely have been beneficial. The money he has generated for the sport, the attention he helped infuse back into the sport. Manny Pacquiao should certainly be thanked as well. They both have represented the sport, carrying it on their respective backs for the past several years.
There are entertainers who go above and beyond and transcend their craft, creating and inspiring positive change. For that, the entertainers who take the responsibility should be commended. Roberto Clemente, Jim Brown, Muhammad Ali all come to mind.
And in regards to Ali, Mayweather recently made comments about his greatness compared to Ali.
Mayweather’s recent comments about Ali certainly will not endear him to anyone fans; as if he needed more ammunition for many to root against him.
As humans, we tend to get emotional when discussing certain topics and expressing our opinions, which is great, because it makes us unique. But sometimes, logic is absent in these discussions.
Many critics and anti-Mayweather fans say he ducked numerous fighters; well anyone can find holes in someone’s resume.
It can be argued the original Sugar Ray Robinson ducked the entire Murderer’s Row which consisted of Charley Burley, Lloyd Marshall, Holman Williams, Herbert “Cocoa Kid” Lewis Hardwick, Jack Chase, Eddie Booker, Elmer Ray, Aaron Wade and Bert Lytell.
Some say Marvin Hagler did not go out of his way to fight Mike McCallum.
Sugar Ray Leonard supposedly ducked Aaron Pryor, Michael Nunn, waited to see decline in Hagler before deciding to fight him, waited too long for a Tommy Hearns rematch, etc.
Manny Pacquiao with his series of catch weight fights, fighting guys moving up in weight or coming off defeats in previous fights, avoiding some tougher fights with Joan Guzman, Juan Diaz, Humberto Soto, etc.
“Shane [Mosley] came to the gym twice to ask me to let him fight Manny,” Roach says. “I told him no both times, and both times for the same two reasons: First, there isn’t enough money there, and second, you’re too good a fighter.” (Source: LA Times).
Shane Mosley and Pacquiao eventually met years later, but the point should be clear. Fighters can’t always dictate who they fight and when.
There’s politics in boxing, with various promoters, sanctioning bodies and other influences. It’s impossible for everybody to fight everybody.
Fans get a sense of nostalgia thinking back to the 1980s and even further beyond, but there were missed opportunities matchup wise even back then. Any resume can be picked apart and presented accordingly.
The media for the most part, appears to dislike Mayweather. The double standards are transparent. HBO’s Jim Lampley appears to harbor a personal agenda against Mayweather and fighters of similar ilk.
Other media personalities dislike Mayweather for reasons not related to boxing, but are critical of his achievements related to boxing. With the power of the media, there is the power to manipulate the reader, viewer, and listener.
People want him to lose badly. Why is that? Is it because of his perceived arrogance and ignorance? Flashy lifestyle? Can the race be the cause? It’s possible there’s a combination of these things. And yes, racism in general still exists in 2015.
Mayweather is far from a saint, but in boxing, generally speaking in life, who is?
Pacquiao has been known to drink and gamble, it doesn’t mean he is a bad person right? By all accounts, he appears to be a very nice guy.
Many who have encounters with Mayweather claim he is the opposite of his onscreen “Money” persona. Many of the positive things Mayweather does for the community, rarely gets mentioned.
He should be judged by his exploits inside the ring. He is an Olympian, a world champion spanning across three decades, 10-time world champion, five division champion, defeated more than 20 world champions in 24 championship fights.
Another big issue with Mayweather is his trash talking. He is known to verbally destroy opponents leading up to the fight. Many say he’s disrespectful and disgraceful. People do not mention the good sportsmanship he displays in most instances after the fight.
In regards to matchup of Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, Mayweather has been noticeably quiet. Manny Pacquiao and Freddie Roach have been talking tons of trash.
In years past, Roach has verbally trashed previous Pacquiao opponents: Chris Algieri, Brandon Rios, Miguel Cotto, etc.
Of course, the verbal onslaught from Roach would have to continue leading up the arguably the biggest fight of all time. Heck, the trash talk certainly helps sell the fight. Pacquiao has even chimed in on the action.
Everyone seems to be up in arms whenever Mayweather talks trash, but its okay when Roach and Pacquiao do it. Talking trash is a part of natural competitive nature for most people.
We see it across all sports from Michael Jordan, to Larry Bird, Muhammad Ali, Deion Sanders and the list goes on. It sells the event, it draws attention to the event.
The storyline between Mayweather and Pacquiao is intriguing and actually a rerun of what we’ve witnessed before. The only difference is this is a fight approximately five years in the making.
Mayweather is serving as the movie’s antagonist, the evil villain, while Pacquiao is crafted and projected as the world’s savior.
Pacquiao is a fighter regarded by various media outlets as the superior fighter, as the guy with heart, the guy who only cares for the fans and nothing else and if you analyze his career, many flaws can be discovered with such false appraisals and logic.
This matchup is the ultimate portrayal and perception of Good vs. Evil from the media.
It was the same storyline/script Mayweather had with Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Shane Mosley and many others.
The question is, will Pacquiao be the one to finally present a different outcome? We’ll certainly find out May 2nd.
One of the Mayeather’s many battles, is Manny Pacquiao, a physical encounter he will be battling that night.
Currently, Mayweather stands unblemished from a professional stand point, but outside the ring, he may be fighting a losing battle.