Sports

Why Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao fight is so important

Why Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao fight is so important

mayweather pacquiao fight 2015

After our sports writer Shane McLendon did his opinion piece on how the Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao was boxing’s funeral, we thought it would be great to also bring in an opinion of why boxing and this fight is so important to so many people. It’s been hyped for months and months as the ‘fight of the century,’ and everyone involved will make a fortune, but why exactly has this fight over so many others gotten people so excited?

Boxing has definitely seen a decline as UFC and MMA fighting has really taken a foothold in the mainstream public. As Shane mentioned that this fight would give the sport of boxing another few years before it limps away, but as we did with the Tim Tebow being signed by the Philadelphia Eagles debate, something it’s great to hear a viewpoint from differing sides.

Manny Pacquiao vs Floyd Mayweather fight of the 21st century 2015 images

This weekend, millions of people are expected to tune in to watch two men beat each other up. Why is this?

We’ll explore, but first let’s get something out of the way: The big fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather won’t “save” boxing, a sport that has fallen precipitously since its 20th century heyday.

If anything, the so-called “Fight of the Century” just reinforces the sport’s problems, as two aging heroes collide in what might be the last nationally relevant fight for a very long time.

There’s so much wrong with boxing’s business model, but all you really need to understand is this: Most sports fans probably can’t name a single active boxer after Mayweather and Pacquiao. Some might know that the long-reigning heavyweight champ is a towering Ukrainian with a boring jab-happy style, but most wouldn’t come up with his name (Wladimir Klitschko).

Boxing isn’t fading away because we’ve finally awoken to its brutality but from a combination of catastrophic mismanagement and competition from Mixed Martial Arts — a younger, more dynamic and better-managed competitor. The rocket rise of MMA’s premier organization, the Ultimate Fighting Championship, has matched boxing’s equally dramatic decline.

In the course of just two decades, the UFC has grown from a freaky-violent carny sideshow into a mainstream sport. In fact, the fan base of the UFC now rivals that of the world’s most popular fighting sport: ice hockey.

Some aficionados spin elaborate defenses of the hundreds of fist fights that break out every year in NHL games, claiming they make the game safer by punishing dirty play. But that’s so weak. Everyone knows why the NHL hasn’t cracked down on fighting hard enough to end it: fans love it way too much.

As the hockey announcer Don Cherry once said, “When [legendary tough guy] Bob Probert was fighting, did you ever see anyone get out of their seat and go get coffee.”

But why do we like to watch fights in the first place? Over the past 20 years, I’ve watched boxing and MMA in a spirit of nervous fascination. Watching fighters kick, punch and strangle each other, I’d be thinking, I’m a civilized person. I appear not to be a sociopath.

So why am I watching? What’s wrong with me? And what’s wrong with all of us? Who among us hasn’t felt the giddy, guilty thrill of a fistfight breaking out — whether in a schoolyard, a hockey rink or a prize ring?

We all claim to hate violence, but I think we protest too much. Inside us all, there’s a creature that adores it. How else are we to explain our yen for carnage in rough sports, films, gory video games and literature?

So is that it? Are we drawn to a big fight like Mayweather-Pacquiao simply by bloodlust and barbarism? Actually, I think that’s only part of the story, and not the biggest part.

If we just wanted blood and pain, we wouldn’t bother with the tame violence of pay-per-view fisticuffs. Instead, we’d fire up a web browser and watch ISIS snuff videos for free. But many people who feel no temptation to watch Internet snuff feel sorely tempted to watch a big fight. What’s going on?

But why do we like to watch fights in the first place? Over the past 20 years, I’ve watched boxing and MMA in a spirit of nervous fascination. Watching fighters kick, punch and strangle each other, I’d be thinking, I’m a civilized person. I appear not to be a sociopath.

So why am I watching? What’s wrong with me? And what’s wrong with all of us? Who among us hasn’t felt the giddy, guilty thrill of a fistfight breaking out — whether in a schoolyard, a hockey rink or a prize ring?

We all claim to hate violence, but I think we protest too much. Inside us all, there’s a creature that adores it. How else are we to explain our yen for carnage in rough sports, films, gory video games and literature?

So is that it? Are we drawn to a big fight like Mayweather-Pacquiao simply by bloodlust and barbarism? Actually, I think that’s only part of the story, and not the biggest part.

If we just wanted blood and pain, we wouldn’t bother with the tame violence of pay-per-view fisticuffs. Instead, we’d fire up a web browser and watch ISIS snuff videos for free. But many people who feel no temptation to watch Internet snuff feel sorely tempted to watch a big fight. What’s going on?

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