By Sean Crose
Floyd Mayweather (47-0, 26 KOs) announced today that he will indeed be fighting Manny Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38 KOs) this May 2nd at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The fight boxing fans have been waiting forever for is finally coming to fruition.
Thus ends years of frustration and anticipation among sports fans in general and boxing fans in particular: the fight that never happened is now a fight that’s actually on its way.
The Internet, needless to say, is about to explode.
Hype aside, this is a development that’s extremely good for boxing, a sport which dominated the landscape for decades before fading into the societal margins around the turn of the century. Now, with Floyd-Manny becoming a reality, the sweet science is back in the forefront of the public consciousness.
There were rumblings for hours across the Twittersphere on Thursday as reliable journalists informed the world that the fight indeed looked like it was becoming a reality. All signs pointed to a statement from the pound-for-pound king, Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Yet Floyd rushes for no man (or woman), so fight fans had to hold their collective breath for hours on end, peeking at their phones or sliding down before laptops whenever the opportunity arose. Floyd was Santa and it was Christmas Eve and that was all there was to it. Hours came. Hours went. Thursday rolled into Friday.
And then it happened. Speculation turned to hype in the blink of an eye.
So the question now moves away from “Will they ever fight?” to “Who will win?”
Most will favor Floyd, of course, due to his size, accuracy and almost inhuman ability to avoid talking a solid punch. Manny will have his supporters, though, and with good reason. The guy is arguably as fast as Floyd is and comes at opponents with angles most couldn’t imagine. Speedy, awkward and extremely aggressive – that’s what Pacquiao is.
In short, the bout will be no easy ride for either man.
Truth be told, it’s an interesting matchup. Those who argue that both fighters are past their primes would do well to remember the same was said about Hagler and Leonard when they met. Or that Ali’s age and skill level were questioned when he stepped into the ring with Foreman.
In short, age doesn’t matter now – not when one looks at the big picture. No one recalls that Dempsey hadn’t fought in years when he lost the heavyweight title to Tunney – and with good reason. He fought. He lost. Just like one of Manny or Floyd is going to lose on the second of May, provided the bout isn’t ruled a draw (could you just imagine?).