The hype-storm behind the coming match between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. wants you to believe it's the fight of the century. This century, last century, any century, the Manny vs Floyd fight asks you to believe it will be the best fight ever between great fighter
Are they great fighters? They'd better be if you plan on paying what sherdog.com lists for ticket prices. Going to the fight in the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas will cost between $1500 and $7500.
If you need to get closer, ticketnetwork.com has two seats left in Section Floor F for a smooth $37,902 each. You and your date could see the fight and have a Vegas time for under $80,000.
Or you could spend $100 on pay per view. Either way you need to believe you're seeing the best fight of all time. For $80,000 it should be epic.
But it can't be epic. Why? Manny and Floyd are great fighters. No disputing that. Floyd pulled a bronze medal out of the '96 Olympics in Atlanta before winning world titles in five divisions. Then the numbers get twisted and confused.
Floyd 'Money' Mayweather is undefeated, winning five division titles, ten world championships, and the lineal championship in four different weight classes. How can an undefeated fighter have that many titles in that many divisions without losing a fight? Could it be the competition is watered down by World Boxing Association, World Boxing Council, International Boxing Federation, and World Boxing Organization?
It sounds like anyone could walk around the block and stop into any gym, throw a few punches, and walk out with a world championship belt buckled around their waist. And that's just Floyd Mayweather.
Manny Pacquiao must be a great fighter in a world of great fighters. He's the world's only eight division champion, also with ten world titles and four lineal championships in four different weight classes.
Let's agree that both men are ready for their fight. Let's also agree that both men are past their fighting prime. Mayweather is 38. Pacquiao is 36. Money Mayweather already retired once. Pacquiao is a member of the Philippine congress.
Both great fighters fit into the 'best pound for pound' category. But it isn't enough. In a world of sports starved for great fighters, this is the best boxing has to offer? How can that happen? Any mention of 'greatest fighters pound for pound' is a result of a weak heavyweight division. Was Muhammad Ali the greatest pound for pound fighter, or simply The Greatest? Was Mike Tyson the pound for pound greatest, or a great pounder in the ring?
We like champion fighters who could face all comers and win. Guys who start as super featherweights don't have that fear factor attached to them. It takes big thumpers to strike fear in everyone. Who are the heavyweight champs?
Two names show up above the rest. They are the Klitschko brothers, Vitali and Wladimir. Full names Vitali Volodymyrovych Klitschko and Volodymyr Volodymyrovych Klychko. They are two Ukrainian brothers who promised their mother they'd never meet in the ring. Fighters who promise their mother they'd never meet in the ring doesn't have the same cache as guys who say they'll fight anyone anywhere any time.
The two brothers both stand 6'6" or above. Both have doctoral degrees. Neither are the greatest fighters pound for pound, but they do pound opponents with heavyweight style. Slow, methodical, overhand chopping blows from tall guys.
Does that sound like good fighting? Good television? Maybe we should be glad they promised their mother they wouldn't slug it out. Did Ali's mother ever get mentioned? George Foreman's mom? Smokin' Joe Frazier?
On top of their promise, the Klitschko brothers have nicknames that sound like something from a movie. One is called Dr. Ironfist. The other is Dr. Steelhammer. If you've got a PhD, why not a wild nickname?
Theirs is a fight we'll never see. Both Klitschkos are about the same age as Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. so we'll have to be happy to see these older fighters knock the stuffing out of each other.
At the end of The Fight Of The Century, no matter who wins, try not to think of one or both little guys in the ring with a Klitschko. Or an Ali, Ken Norton, or Larry Holmes.
If you need a fighter reference to amp up your interest, think of Rocky Balboa, The Italian Stallion. Now there's a guy who knows how to promote a boxing match.
David Gillaspie is an active researcher, skills he honed during twenty years with the Oregon Historical Society. His education wavered between English major/Fiction writer at the University of Oregon where he met Ken Kesey, to a BS in History from Portland State with news writing. Married, with two millennial sons, he connects sports and fitness to the realities of baby boomer life, with no mention ever of skydiving or base-jumping. David covers a wide variety of fascinating topics on his boomer-centric blog, Boomer PDX. Check it out -- you'll be glad you did.