|Pacquiao vs. Mosley: Much Ado over Nothing…but Money: the State of Big Fights in America
By Alec Kohut, MaxBoxing (May 1, 2011) Special to Doghouse Boxing
Get ready, sports fans; the
hype machine is all warmed up and this week we will all be treated to endless
commercials, infomercials, and fight replays to convince us of the monumental
importance of Saturday’s big event between Manny Pacquiao and Shane Mosley.
I won’t provide a preview of
next Saturday’s big event between Pacquiao and Mosley, filled with all the cute
quotes coming from trainers Freddie Roach and Naazim Richardson and I
definitely won’t attempt to examine the scenarios in which Mosley can shock the
world with an upset.
What I will do, however, is
remind us all of what has changed since the first announcement months ago that
boxing’s brightest and most charismatic star would face the aging and
Nothing. Absolutely nothing. In fact, this
whole week will feature much ado over nothing.
Mosley is still just 2-2-1
in the past four years and coming off two dreadful performances in 2010. Pacquiao
is still younger, with faster feet and faster hands. Nothing’s changed.
What have all the upsets
over the past two months changed in regard to Mosley’s chances in Saturday’s
What can Shane Mosley do to
change the fact he turns 40 later this year? Nothing.
The fight looks just as bad
now as it did when it was announced, despite the fanfare and insane notion that
this fight is somehow a step to bringing boxing to network television.
However, I, like so many
fight fans, will hold my nose at this steaming pile of nothing and fork out $55
in the hope that the undercard bouts carry the day, and at 1 AM Sunday, we
won’t feel cheated because our date deceived us with online photos of a
younger, skinnier person from ten years past.
That’s exactly what we’ll
get this week, photos and highlights of a younger and better Shane Mosley. We
won’t see rounds 3-12 against Floyd Mayweather and we won’t be shown the 12
ugly, boring rounds with Sergio Mora. We’ll see the pretty, new-and-improved, “in
the best shape of my life” Shane Mosley.
But all the talk of a great
training camp and how their styles make for a great fight and the slick “Fight Camp 360” infomercials will
mean nothing when the bell rings at the MGM Grand next Saturday. The reporters
desperately trying explain why this is a good fight, sounding as pathetic as
university presidents do when justifying the BCS, will make just as significant
The fight is what it is, a
tune-up or stay-busy fight to make some money while not risking a potential
huge payday against Floyd Mayweather. While there’s nothing wrong or new about
tune-up or stay-busy fights, over the past two decades, we have seen a dramatic
change in how these fights are made, marketed, and sold. We’ve reached the
point that it’s a big deal for the sport’s biggest names to just merely fight,
regardless of the quality of opposition. Today, just appearing on the stage is
But that doesn’t mean the
opponent is irrelevant? No. Opponents now are chosen solely on financial
considerations. Now we all know that money has always been the driving force
when making fights. Pay-per-view and closed circuit fights have been around
since Sugar Ray Robinson/Randy Turpin II but in previous decades, the
correlation between a great fight and a big-money fight was much closer.
This brings us to Mosley,
who remains one of the few fighters left with any name recognition with the
average American sports fan. For the past two decades, boxing has so
successfully turned its back on the average American sports fan, there are now
just a handful of boxers left that the casual sports fan has even heard of.
Mosley earned this fight by merely hanging around longer than other fighters of
Perhaps the major turning
point was when the horrendous Mike Tyson-Peter McNeely sideshow sold 1.5
million PPV buys and promoters realized that it safer and more profitable to
create stars rather than great fights. If there was a big-money fight that
never even had the patina of a possibility of a good fight, that was it.
Now what remains are two
geese that can lay golden eggs; one is 34, has been inactive for a year and is facing
legal issues. The other is 32 and has made it fairly clear that his number of
remaining fights can be counted on one hand.
How far has the gap between
big-money fights and great fights become? The next potential big-money PPV
fight being discussed is Mayweather vs. Paul Spadafora. No, that is not a joke.
As my friend and colleague Steve Kim would say. “Mike Tyson, Oscar De La Hoya
and Ray Leonard ain’t walking through that door.”
I will not make the
ridiculous claim that boxing is dead in America or even close but nor it is
even close to being a mainstream sport any longer. If you need proof of this,
try to talk to an average sports fan about boxing; beyond Mayweather and
Pacquiao, see how far that conversation goes.
Things will change and most
likely change soon; no longer does the boxing fan need to decide between paying
$50 and not seeing a fight. Technology has brought us “streaming” of fights and
that technology will only get better and easier for people to access. The
boxing establishment will have to adjust to it, just as the music industry was
When all is said is said and
done, it will most likely be technology and Moore’s law that ironically brings
our wonderful sport back to its traditional roots and back to the regular
American sports fan. To this observer, it can’t happen soon enough.
Questions or comments can be
directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please visit Alec at http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1255732257&ref=ts or follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/alecmaxboxing.
You can also tune in to Alec’s new weekly online show every Tuesday at 9:00 PM
EST at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/search/aleckohut/.
* Special Thanks To MaxBoxing.
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