Last weekend, I joined millions of people around the world to watch, what had been dubbed the fight of the century. It was the most anticipated boxing match to take place in a whole generation. For years, there had been an agitation for a bout, which would pit the undefeated American fighter, Floyd “Money Man” Mayweather. Jr and the endearing Filipino, Manny "Pac-Man" Pacquiao. For so long, the possibility of the fight taking place was talked about. Such anticipation had been built so much so, people were willing to pay any price just to watch it. Five years in the making, the hype and essentials were set for an elevated Mayweather and Pacquiao extravaganza; an extravaganza that history will look back and label, one of the memorable watershed sporting moments.
Before it came to be, there were all sorts of speculation about whether the fight would actually ever take place or whether the time for such a showdown had passed. As the two champion boxers got older, it almost seemed that the prospect of such a showdown was merely myth, a sort of urban legend that would be whispered in abandoned corridors for decades to come. The 38-year old, Mayweather was considered not to be as slick or fast as he was in his prime. And there were questions about the punching power of Pacquiao who, at the age of 36, was considered to have slowed down. But to the absolute delight of all boxing fans around the world, somehow over that rainbow that holds the dreams of ancient boxing promoters, somewhere up beyond the tip of Don King’s hair, the stars aligned and the #MayPac bout was born.
As the deals were made, the weigh ins were done, the arena was prepared, the date May 2nd 2015 was one that a good many of us marked on our calendar. To those of us who were salivating at the mouth to watch the match, that Saturday was a date that we lived, slept, ate, breathed and marked in our mind. That one day after May Day was a day in which some of us made sure we kept clear.
To be candid, about five days to the fight, I literally started counting down the hours. I cant fully explain how absolutely excited I was to watch this #MayPac fight. As an avid boxing fan, the thought of seeing the fight completely overwhelmed me and I’m sure, many people around the world.
The welterweight showdown that took place between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, undoubtedly two of this generation's most talented fighters, completely shattered all box office and ticketing records, with tickets and seats sold at astronomically high prices. The fight was one that has cemented a boxing legacy and introduced a whole new audience to the joy of boxing glory. Hopefully, it will lift the sport of boxing to the height that it deserves.
I have been an avid boxing fan for a very long time. It is one of the sporting events that I watch regularly, most especially when there is a tittle fight. Even when there are no major title fights, I enjoy watching the old fights of legends like, Sugar Ray Robinson, Joe Lewis, Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, Evander Holyfield, Julio Cesar Chavez, Henry Cooper, Rocky Marciano, Henry Armstrong, Mike Tyson and, of course, the greatest, Mohammed Ali.
Mohammed Ali has been one of my biggest heroes and role models. Oddly enough, I began to write because of him, after listening to his hilarious poetry recitation. In the past, as part of his gung-ho, cocky image, to boost his bravado as a boxer, Mohammed AIi used to write and recite poetry and rhymes to make fun at his opponents. Watching him perform as a little girl, I enjoyed the poetry and adopted it as a way of expressing myself in situations where I wanted to be a little funky but not come across too rude. Till this day, I often express myself using poetry, especially when I want to be mischievous. From that hobby and art of writing poetry, I began to write stories and op-eds.
While, I absolutely believe that Mohammed Ali is one of the best pound to pound fighters of all time, I must admit that what makes him stand out, for me, as a great boxer was the charisma, personality and showmanship he brought to the ring. When a fighter is able to be a vicious and accurate warrior, uphold mental strength and a great chin, exercise technical skill and intelligence in the ring, be calculating yet brave, distinguish their unique fighting style and display it all in the ring, laced with presence and charisma, that would make one, the greatest. That is what Mohammed Ali will always be.
In the #MayPac fight we saw last Saturday, it was a traditional mix of boxing styles. The winner, Floyd Mayweather has always been known as a great defensive boxer and he exhibited that on the day. Although he was widely criticized for backing up too much or ‘running away’ as they say, it was part of his craft of surviving in the ring; to avoid danger and strike when he could. I’d say it showed superior ring intelligence. In the case of Manny Pacquiao, he exhibited an aggressive attacking style as he delivered hard punches more than capable of landing knockout shots to a lesser opponent. He was wonderful and relentless and I enjoyed watching his style very much.
Everyone seemed to have their bet and favorite on who would win. As the fight started, my heart was with Manny Pacquiao and my head was with Floyd Mayweather. But, for me, it didn’t matter who won; I just wanted to watch a good, long, drawn out, exciting and hard bout. And although many people found the fight boring, for me, it was fantastic. It was the one-day when we could all support and watch one man beat another man to a pulp without feeling guilt, shame or fear. I was not disappointed in the least bit. I absolutely had a great time watching the fight on Saturday and only hope that there will be talk of a rematch sometime soon.
Although Floyd Mayweather claimed the title and belt, at the end of the day, both of these two exceptional boxers have come out winners. For Mayweather, in addition to his winnings, this fight is one that has defined his legacy and place among the top brass of boxing greats. Like him or loathe him, Floyd Mayweather can finally be announced as one of the great boxers of time.
Manny Pacquiao will also remain one of the top global boxers and probably always be the biggest national hero to come out of the Philipines. Apart from being a boxer, he is also a singer, an actor, a philanthropist and a politician. He has such an endearing personality and his rags-to-riches story of growing up on the streets of Manila as a young man to fighting his way to become a global icon is quite inspiring. In life, it looks like he has won already.
As the Champ, Floyd Mayweather said, “the #MayPac fight was about one fighter who is at the top fighting another fighter who is at the top… it's about giving the fans excitement….” Well, if the main aim of the fight was to give the fans excitement, as far as this fan is concerned, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao have ‘literally’ hit the nail smack on the head. I am glad to have been around to witness and enjoy the #MayPac bout; this generations very own ‘Clash of the boxing Titans.’
Written By Hannatu Musawa
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