The ship has sailed on boxing’s marquee showdown

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, February 25, 2015

When the Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather fight was announced for May 2, 2015, it was billed as “The fight the world has been waiting to see,” by Mayweather on his Twitter account. I can’t speak for the world, but I grew tired of waiting for this fight to happen a few years ago.

I’m not trying to be overly negative. When I first heard the rumors that this match might actually happen, I was excited. I wanted to see two boxing superstars in the prime of their careers go head-to-head. I wanted to see the sport of boxing reap the benefits of the match-up and get the much-needed spark it deserves.

Here’s the problem: I first heard these rumors about five years ago, and with each ensuing flirtation of a possible match-up, my excitement withered away.

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I can’t remember exactly when it happened, but at a certain point, I stopped paying attention.

Somewhere in the process of all this, Pacquiao lost two matches and was viciously knocked unconscious in one of those defeats. Nothing slows down the momentum of a one-on-one fight between superstars quite like seeing one of those fighters take an unwilling nap in front of millions of viewers.

After Pacquiao was defeated, any leverage he might have had in booking negotiations with the more popular and still unbeaten Mayweather vanished. Pacquiao suddenly looked human, and Mayweather, who had long been the biggest obstacle in booking the fight up to this point, was suddenly open to the possibility of facing Pacquiao. An article on lists some of Mayweather’s contract demands, which include a 60-40 percentage split in the fight purse (meaning Mayweather makes 20 percent more money for fighting than Pacquiao) and the right for Mayweather to list his name first on all promotional material.

These trivial negotiations are a symptom as to why this fight has lost its luster.

Instead of risking his undefeated record while both fighters were in their primes, Mayweather stalled the process with his own petty stipulations. It’s unbecoming of a fighter who claims to be an all-time great, and it’s certainly not within the spirit of the sport.

Mayweather will make a lot of money from this fight, and that’s good for him, but boxing and its fans deserve better.