WE, I mean the majority of the Filipino nation would like to believe that after “Money” Mayweather methodically kept the Pambansang Kamao at bay by staying and dancing away from Manny’Pacquiao’s power zone, another boxing bout could make things right. A rematch could never rectify what this sports travesty had freshly inflicted on a crowd filled with high expectations. History has received the official outcome and had recorded the statistics in stone.
Floyd cannot be faulted for being battle wise. Manny’s blinding foot speed and bruising punches was a fact and a reality he was about to face. The overwhelming public sentiment showed he could be crushed. And Manny was not exactly coy about his intention to win the Fight of the Century and boldly declared that the “Lord will deliver him into his hands.” With these givens, cunning Floyd went to work and commenced a psychological war with Pacquiao and his camp.
The battle started way before the sound of the bell. Floyd telegraphed some elements of his game plan. With both praise and criticism, Floyd had said that Manny is a reckless fighter. The boxing world will not dispute the assessment. This Manny was known to live by the sword and die by the sword. Our faith in Manny’s unmitigated recklessness inside the ring was our confidence and shining moment but the same light had caused us inadvertently miss the subliminal effect of Mayweather’s message. This column believes that Pacquiao camp heard it clearly.
The result on Manny’s fight plans after Mayweather’s pre-fight disclosure and opening salvo was profound. With the ghost of the knockout in the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez raised from the not so distant past, the Pacman was refreshed with that day’s ironic loss.
The subtle message of the seemingly harmless comment was that for a demonstration of Manny’s famous recklessness, the big right which could knock him flat and cold (again) was waiting.
Manny the Reckless which Mayweather feared was recklessness minus one, two or three degrees lower. In this fight, the Pacman had perhaps been looking to avoid the big right. In his mind and perhaps our prayers was history should not repeat itself.
As a consequence, his aggression was tapered. Manny in this column’s opinion had become ineffective as a calculating fighter which he was not purely. He was always admired as a whirlwind fighter of immense intensity which held no regard for class and weight of his opponents. This time however he did not take the same risks. Conspicuously absent from these 12 rounds was Manny’s penchant for a rapid glove clap, a bring it on to me moment, a trademark posture where he suddenly becomes a braggadocio cockily inviting the opponent to bring his best shot on against him. Yes, this was absent.
However if we should believe that Manny was still the same reckless Pacman, it was not evident. If we insist he is we are in effect acknowledging that Floyd Mayweather is a better fighter for denying his reckless majesty the opportunity to flourish in his unmitigated recklessness; although the consensus will always be that his jabs appeared paltry; and his tackles, hugs and dance moves out of the corner pocket were despicably unworthy and unbecoming of a world boxing champion.
Yes, Floyd may have appeared selfish by not giving us the Tekken Four and Mortal Kombat generations watching Destined for Greatness the slugfest we wanted – no spark, no knockdown, no cuts and no blood. Actually in an earlier NBA Playoff game between the Clippers and the Spurs, Chris Paul overcame a threat on his hamstring and drilled the winning short. In the Mayweather-Pacquiao unification bout, a contact sport not Money or Manny suffered injury during the match. Incredible.
If we should believe many who know Floyd that is simply his character and style. In his mind, the ultimate take of 80 to 100 million US dollars already wired to his personal account will shield him from the court of critical public opinion.
That attitude is not unique nowadays. From now on, it matters not what the boxing gods and citizens hold of him. Floyd Weather is richer.
Should there still be a rematch? Money will always fight for money but Manny who fights for glory may have lost the only available shot to true glory by letting Floyd and the opportunity slip away.
After five years of waiting, Divine Providence appeared to have delivered Mayweather to Manny’s hands for a period of 36 minutes or the usual eternity of 12 boxing rounds but could not put him away.
Before the eyes of the Eternal One, this match was for us a mirror of all our life in general. We are wasting the opportunities in our hands.