Original post on Forbes.com 5/05/2015 @ 5:18PM
The boxing match-up Saturday night was billed as the "Fight of the Century," a massively hyped event. A series of events made the bout the "Fraud of the Century," starting with the fact that the century is only fifteen years old. It was the match that every boxing fan wanted desperately to see six years ago when both fighters were in their prime. It ended up doing more damage to the image and market for boxing, and accelerated the sport's decline.
Manny Pacquiao revealed after the fight that he had a damaged shoulder which he knew about for some time. He tore his rotator cuff, which seriously impacts the ability to throw punches. Each boxer has to sign a form stating all injuries that he knows about. Had the Nevada Athletic Commission been aware of the injury, they likely would have postponed the fight. Pacquiao asked for a painkiller combination to be injected just hours prior to the bout-the commission refused to allow this, even though it was non-narcotic, because they deemed it too close to the fight. Cisco Aguilar, the Nevada Athletic Commission chairman told the Daily News, "You don't want them to be masking the pain. If they're masking the pain, they are potentially going to have some long-term damage that they may not have had."
Final Pay Per View buys have not yet been revealed. A conservative three million buys would have generated $300 million in revenue. That means that Mayweather made $180 million and Pacquiao made $120 million for a fight that did not pit two healthy fighters. The public was not told and tickets went for absurdly high amounts of money. The pay per view charge for HD was $100 per household, significantly higher than any prior fight. The paying public was fleeced.
Floyd Mayweather is a technically brilliant fighter who starts defensively, piles up points, waits for the other fighter to tire, and does the minimum necessary to win in later rounds. This is inherently boring to all fight fans who are not purists. Pacquio is a more lively fighter, but he was hurt, and could not penetrate Mayweather's defense to generate much excitement. This all occurred at a time when UFC and mixed martial arts made huge inroads into the market for pugilistic contests. A paucity of talented and well known fighters exists at the heavyweight level, which is the most attractive draw for boxing.
Two female journalists, Rachel Nichols of CNN and Michelle Beadle of HBO, were banned from the arena for pointing out Mayweather's history of domestic violence. The beginning of the broadcast on a few pay-per-view outlets was presented as a blank screen due to an inability to handle late requests, which caused technical problems. Pacquiao seems on the verge of retirement and Mayweather has intimated that he may retire after his next fight. This does not augur well for the future of boxing. And now there is talk of a potential rematch a year from now. A rematch? Fool me once...
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