Tuesday, May 5, 2015

#MayPac Aftermath: Money-Style Boxing = Granny-Style Bowling?

Overall, I enjoyed last Saturday's so-called "Fight of the Century" between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao. True, the fight itself was not as exciting as the days-months-years of build-up, and the aftermath of the fight has the potential of being more exciting than than the fight itself. In any case, the "superfight" was an excuse to eat copious amounts of Michigan pizza and drink lots of cold Philippine beer. Mayweather is from Grand Rapids, I believe, but the closest I could get was Domino's (Ann Arbor) and Little Caesar's (Detroit). I don't think San Miguel beer is from the same exact region of the Philippines as Pacquiao. The attempt is close enough.

Fight night was enjoyable because the company was good, and that's all one can really ask for, when it comes to sporting events.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. has to be congratulated not only for his unanimous decision victory on Saturday, and not only for continuing his perfect record of 48-0-0, but also for solving the complicated math problem that is boxing.

He solved boxing, as if boxing were a Rubik's Cube waiting to be solved -- rather, every Rubik's cube problem solved with one technique. Mayweather's run-defend-counterpunch-points technique consistently wins decisions. However, this style is only appealing to a specific subset of boxing fans, boxing "geeks" who appreciate the technique and finesse of winning on points.

Unfortunately, mass audiences don't care about this, and often find Mayweather's style to be boring. Mass audiences want blood in their $100 pay-per-view bouts. Saturday's fight was bloodless. It seems to me that Mayweather's perfect counterpunching technique is like bowing a perfect 300-point game, using the oft-maligned, underhanded "granny-style." It gets the job done, but it's not exciting. Neither Money-style boxing nor granny-style bowling are accessible to larger audiences. (Then again, bowling isn't really a spectator sport, isn't it? Well, neither is bloodless boxing.)

Money-style counterpunching, by default, only has a niche appreciative audience. Maybe that's why Mayweather usually has taken on a bad guy, "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase public persona to sell tickets and PPVs. (His actual, personal history of domestic violence is another matter altogether.) We've all been conditioned to dislike the Million Dollar Man, and we all want to see the Million Dollar Man lose, so many buy into the marketing technique. It's what sold events in the past, but maybe the act has gotten old and won't sell anymore. Additionally, social media video streaming apps apparently ate away at some of the PPV revenues, but more on that later.

In any case, Mayweather's victory over Pacquiao has sort have been tainted by the revelation that Pacquiao tried to fight with a torn shoulder injury. Due to these complicated and debatable turn of events, Mayweather seems to be open for a rematch against Pacquiao, who will be out for about a year after shoulder surgery.

My brother Jon has proposed an interesting path for Mayweather's final fight(s). Floyd should keep his belts. For his final Showtime fight in September, Mayweather should challenge Kell Brook for the undisputed welterweight championship -- Brook has the IBF title, and Mayweather currently has the rest. Assuming that Money-style boxing wins on points again, Mayweather will be the undisputed welterweight champion with a record of 49-0-0. Floyd could then drop any and all titles, at his discretion.

From what my brother has told me, Mayweather has a stake in the new Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) series on broadcast network television. Being the undisputed champion of a weight class, it seems, will give Floyd some indisputable "magic" to generate a welterweight championship for PBC. From the title, PBC could generate other weight class titles, making PBC a full-fledged boxing association.

Mayweather should then extend his career to defend his newly-minted PBC title, to break Rocky Marciano's perfect record streak. Maybe this could be the rematch in May or September 2016 against Manny Pacquiao. Another MayPac PPV probably won't earn as much as the first fight, and streaming quasi-piracy technology will eat into PPV profits. Both Mayweather Promotions and Top Rank might maximize their profits if this rematch was broadcast on network television, with Super Bowl-priced advertising.

Personally, if this hypothetical PBC title situation comes to fruition, I want Mayweather to get 50-0-0 against another fighter. Money-style boxing should break Marciano's record, so Floyd should enjoy his perfection for about six months. With two uninjured boxers, we can only hope for an improvement in the quality of fight for the rematch. Then, as many Manny fans want, Money would hopefully end his career at 50-1-0 or 50-0-1.

Then again, it would be likely that Mayweather ends his career at 51-0-0 ... on points.


Post-script: Money-style boxing might have been more exciting, if neither points nor judges were part of the game, and if swords were involved, as demonstrated by Bronn in Game of Thrones.

Post-post-script: Happy Cinco de Mayo -- a uniquely American drinking holiday, like St. Patrick's Day and, perhaps in the future, St. George's Day. Cheers!

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