The dullest fight of the century PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 04 May 2015 11:48

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

 

Las Vegas, NV. — Dubbed as the “Fight of the Century” as it took five years to make it happen, turned out to be the “Dullest fight of the Century.” Any boxing aficionado would know that. A sellout crowd at the MGM Grand came to blows with reality that everybody knew, including the two protagonists, how the fight would end. They just wanted to prove themselves wrong. They all came — the celebrities, high-strung movie stars, ex-superstars, former boxing champions, sports greats, the Mexicans, Afro-Americans, the whites, the Asians — to cheer, not for a winner, but for a slam-bang, ferocious fight as in the days of Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran.

The two obviously boxing greats — Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao — earned a cache full of dollars to last them and their families for two lifetimes. Two weeks ago, everybody saw how the fight would end: a unanimous decision in Mayweather’s favor. Pacquiao’s speed couldn’t catch the faster Mayweather. The more the former charged, the more the latter ran.

When I saw Pacquiao’s entourage entering the grand arena, and seven-time trainer of the year, Freddie Roach, clicking a selfie (OMG), my suspicions became clearer and clearer: Pacquiao would lose — not badly, but enough to convince a partisan crowd that his best wasn’t good enough.

The lightning jabs, occasional hooks, pinpoint straights and effective crosses thrown by “Pretty Boy Floyd” stopped Pacquiao’s relentless assault from the opening bell to the final bell. Really, the bell tolled for “Pac Man.” The world watched and most of its inhabitants prayed for a Pacquiao victory just to teach Mayweather a lesson in humility. Yes, Pacquiao tried desperately to tag his bigger, wiser opponent in the middle rounds, earnestly wanting to end it in the sixth round with a flurry of combinations. Some of his punches went “air glove” as the magician Mayweather danced around, dodging jabs and Pacquiao’s vaunted left straight. Pacquiao caught Mayweather on the chin twice in that round, but his hammer punch that sent 36 of his opponents to the canvass wasn’t there anymore.

Filipinos cheered for their hero from the opening round until it became obvious that the congressman from Sarangani province wouldn’t be able to make up for lost points. He was trailing all the way. Well-known movie stars lost a lot of money betting on Pacquiao. So did the millions of Filipinos, Americans, Mexicans and Asians. So did I, Titong San Juan and Caloy “Sonny” Miguel. Our heads were for Mayweather, but our hearts were for Pacquiao. That’s why we lost.

A rematch? Maybe in September, Mayweather’s last fight before he retires, as he aims to equal Rocky Marciano’s perfect ring record of 49-0.