It’s tough to find a single sports fan who likes a lopsided league. Whenever there is a shallow pool of competition, fans will often highlight the dominant teams’ unfair advantages — such as the Yankees’ bank account — or a certain athlete’s run-ins with law enforcement. But, unlike baseball, basketball and even football, one sport exists in which dominance is all but a prerequisite to attract a large audience. In boxing, a pound-for-pound king is all the sweat that science needs to reel in the attention of the masses.
But if that’s the case, we may be inclined to ask why boxing is not at its pinnacle now — after all, Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao has utterly destroyed every obstacle that can possibly fit into a ring. His immortal résumé of recent opponents is frightening to look at. With victories over Mexican legends Erik “El Terrible” Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera, Juan Manuel Marquez, Oscar De La Hoya, Antonio Margaritto, and Miguel Cotto — all fighters destined for the hall of fame someday — Pacman has proven that a 108-pounder can defeat any man who is within 50 pounds and five-inches of his size.
Pacman’s monopoly over boxing has gotten to the point that no one even cares about a fight that doesn’t have his name attached to it. For the past two months, there haven’t been any marquee fights lined up. Boxing’s future appears so bleak, in fact, that the next intriguing match is Pacman’s showdown with the dangerous “Sugar” Shane Mosley on May 7. As opposed to hyping up the handful of B-list fights that are scheduled for the next couple of months, fans choose to speculate about the possible outcomes of the Sugar-Pacman showdown.
But, if boxing has a dominant man who has transcended the sport, then why is it that buffs like me are still dissatisfied? Well, unless you live in a box on a secluded island without radio waves, then you have certainly heard of a man named Floyd Mayweather. The self-proclaimed “greatest of all time,” has orchestrated excuse after excuse to avoid the finest match up in boxing history since Ali-Frazier. According to both Mayweather’s friends and to Zab Judah, the man who gave Mayweather a skillful low blow in their 2006 fight, he is prepared to take to retirement — again.
“Mayweather told me he’s finished,” Judah said. “He maintained an undefeated record and he maintained a great position in the game of boxing.”
The truth is that Mayweather could care less about history and legacy. He only values two things in life: money and perfection.
Ten years from now, none of us may ever know how much greater Mayweather and Pacman’s legacies could have been, had they met in the ring.
Nathaniel is a member of the class of 2011.