By Ivan G. Goldman
The “Fight of the Century” looked like an old movie we’ve seen so many times we can recite the lines along with the characters.
It was a typical Floyd Mayweather outing in which he controls the distance and the tempo and just about nothing works for his frustrated opponent.
Fight after fight they eventually abandon their game plan and stand in one spot, staring in disbelief at their tormentor. Usually it takes a while for them to reach that stage. On Saturday night in Las Vegas Manny Pacquiao was already suffering its effects in the first minute of the first round.
In his post-fight interview with astounded Max Kellerman, Pacquiao sounded like a miner who’d been trapped so long beneath a cave-in that he could no longer think clearly.
“I thought I won the fight,” said the Philippines congressman. He came away not only defeated, but brainwashed as well, so thoroughly schooled he lost his reason. Mayweather should be merciful and lift the spell so Manny can return to life as he once knew it.
The process continues. Robert Guerrero, Canelo Alvarez, Oscar De La Hoya, Manny Pacquiao. The contests all become embedded into a unified memory bank. And the Mayweather fans smirk. “Told ya so,” they say. And it’s true. They did.
Now about that injured shoulder: we all know that athletes play hurt all the time. But if it was really that bad he should have postponed the fight and not cheated the fans out of a better show. No excuses.
Just before the opening bell, Chris Paul, a shrimp of a player with a pulled hamstring, led the Clippers to a phenomenal series victory over the San Antonio Spurs in game seven in Los Angeles.
As the judges’ scores were being totaled, wife Jinkee Pacquiao looked very much like someone whose team got clobbered. No poker face there. But I expect if there was anything she’d been hoping to buy, she can surely afford it now.
Yes, I was one of those who thought Manny Pacquiao, a special fighter, just might find a way to overcome the Mayweather phenomenon. But when you’re wrong, you’re wrong, and I was wrong. Yes, Pacquiao is a special fighter, but Mayweather is more special. Like I said, no excuses.
Floyd Mayweather, at age 38, remains the greatest fighter we’ve seen in a long time. Just how long is a puzzle that can never be completely solved. We can never pit a prime Mayweather against a prime Sugar Ray Leonard or Roberto Duran. Trying to figure the outcome of these impossible matches is part of the sweet science fun.
Interesting that Floyd Senior, working the corner, thought his son wasn’t doing enough, that he should follow some of those right hands with a left hook and get the guy out of there. That’s exactly what the fans want to see too and fabulous tactician Floyd Junior almost never gives it to them.
Round after round he does enough to win the score, keep himself out of harm’s way, and stay healthy. When it’s over
you get the feeling you were cheated out of a complete fight, that an important component was missing.
Sure, I’d like to see a more aggressive Floyd too, but I also appreciate the one we have.
* When HBO and Showtime put on a show together they definitely don’t give us any discounts. Here’s hoping the new $100 pay-per-view threshold won’t be seen again for decades.
* How in the world in this, the biggest money fight in history by far, were we presented with yet another third-rate undercard? Once again we see that the fans who pay for all this aren’t terribly important to the impresarios who put it all together.
* Mexican national anthem? Can somebody please explain what that had to do with anything? On second thought, don’t bother.