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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Sweet science lives on

Floyd Mayweather Jr. (left) prepares for a spar at a gym in London on May 2009, as Manny Pacquiao (right), weighs in for the junior welterweight boxing match that same year. This year, the dream fight between the two giants will come to life on May 2 after they finally sign the contract over the weekend.  (AP file fotos)

IN RECENT years, boxing has slowly lost the interest of the general public. Unlike its golden age, from 1920s to the 60s, fewer people are paying attention to the sport anymore. The rapid rise of the sport of mixed-martial arts (MMA) also helped in that decline and has lured mostly the younger generation away from boxing.

Boxing is a dying sport.

However, that has all changed, after two of the best boxers finally put their signatures on a contract and agreed to fight each other.

“Definitely, it will take the sport of boxing as people from all over the world who haven’t watched a boxing event will now be interested in the sport,” said ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer, who has kept boxing in the Philippines on the map with world-class boxing shows.

Filipino superstar Manny Pacquiao and pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. finally sealed the fight that all boxing fans have been waiting for as they signed a deal last weekend for a fight on May 2 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

“What should make us proud as a Filipino is that the biggest fight in the history of boxing involves a Filipino. This will be good for our country, our Filipino fighters and the sport of boxing. It may get a bigger following from the Filipinos all over the world, just like soccer is to Brazil. This will change the sport of boxing in the Philippines and the world,” said Aldeguer.

This should be the most lucrative fight in boxing history, if not the biggest.

Mayweather Jr. is the early favorite and is ahead on betting odds.

Fifty-fifty

ALA Gym head coach Edito Villamor and former world champion Malcolm Tuñacao firmly believe that this will be a very close fight.

Villamor, who has helped Donnie Nietes and Merlito Sabillo win world titles, feels that this would be a chess match and the first one that makes the wrong move will lose.

“50-50. Both of them are very good boxers. The one who makes a mistake loses the fight. The same with the Pacquiao-Marquez fight, if Pacman didn’t make a mistake in that fight then he should have won that fight. We hope that he doesn’t make a mistake again. It’s good for the sport of boxing that Pacman and Mayweather give us the fight that all the boxing fans dreamed of,” Villamor said.

For Tuñacao, the former World Boxing Council (WBC) flyweight champion, Pacquiao’s vaunted left hand would be his key to victory.

“This should be a great fight. This fight will test Floyd if he, indeed, is the greatest,” he said. “This will be a great fight. It will be 50-50. But I hope Manny knocks him out so that the decision won’t be biased. If Manny lands his left hand, Floyd will surely go down.”

Rematch

Every great fight, more or less, isn’t only limited to one but rather a string of bouts that turns it into a great rivalry like Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier, Mickey Ward vs. Arturo Gatti, Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Tommy Hearns to name a few.

“It would really depend on May 2. There will only be a rematch or trilogy if the fight is exciting or because of circumstances, but if not, there’s no point unless there is a rematch clause. It may even be a boring fight as Mayweather may run or would just be defensive all throughout the fight as he will find a way to win regardless of the outcome of the fight,” said Aldeguer. “If Manny wins, he should retire as this fight will stamp his legacy as one of the best fighters ever in the history of the sport. He won’t have anything to prove anymore.”

“It depends on the result if the boxing fans demand a rematch. But if the fight won’t be exciting then there won’t be a rematch anymore,” said Villamor.

For now, all that everyone can do is speculate on the outcome but on May 2 everything will be answered, if the fight that everybody was anticipating for was worth the wait.


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