There’s a misconception about the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight, and it’s that those of us who paid $100 to watch were cheated.
If I hadn’t been watching when the boxers finally stepped into the ring I would have felt cheated. My older son and I texted before the fight and between rounds; your family bonds your way, our family bonds ours.
Although the HBO broadcast crew made every punch Pacquiao landed sound like an event, he hung in early. But he couldn’t connect with his trademark combinations, and he failed to land the punches that potentially could have changed the outcome.
Mayweather was masterful. He came with size and savvy and won the way he always wins. This was never going to be a brawl. This was a master craftsman who is the epitome of hit and don’t be hit. Mayweather dominated the latter rounds and clearly won.
What does the fight, the most lucrative of all time, mean for the future of boxing? It doesn’t mean anything. Unless the fight was so engaging that it called for a rematch, this was always going to be one and done.
Boxing will not ascend to the status it once held. In this country the big men dictate our interest. Wladimir Klitschko, the heavyweight champion, is 39 and has held at least a piece of the title since 2006. He’s good, very good, and is much better than casual fans think. But he has nobody to challenge him. Name another elite heavyweight. Name a heavyweight who is not elite.
Boxing will regress, younger fans will stick with mixed martial arts and the same 150 to 200 people will show up at Charlotte fight cards.
The lasting development from the fight took place outside the ring.
Mayweather lives in Las Vegas. Although the town is his, the crowd at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand was not. Fans manufactured reasons to cheer for Pacquiao and boo Mayweather.
Some of that is our love for the underdog. Some resent Mayweather’s flash, although boxing has long lent itself to it.
I guarantee that many fans turned against Mayweather because of his sad and serial history with domestic violence.
Mayweather has multiple times pleaded guilty to domestic battery. The nadir was in 2010, when he attacked the mother of his children in front of their children. Their older son called police. Mayweather served two months in jail.
I’ve yet to see an interview in which Mayweather has acknowledged guilt or expressed contrition. In September of 2011, when the rest of the country was appalled at the video of Ray Rice punching his fiancée, Mayweather said that the two-game suspension the NFL initially handed him was sufficient.
The NFL was not prepared to deal with Rice and domestic violence. It proved it by woefully mishandling the issue.
But the publicity generated by Rice and, in Charlotte, by the domestic violence case of Carolina Panther Greg Hardy, has changed the way the issue is perceived.
The idea that hitting a woman is just, you know, boys being boys, is dead. Would Mayweather have been so thoroughly booed if Rice’s video had never emerged, and if the NFL hadn’t begun a late but highly publicized campaign to prevent domestic violence? Mayweather would not have.
But wait. By paying $100 to see the fight am I not a hypocrite?
I’ve been told I am. I disagree.
I don’t support the morals of everybody in every football game, basketball game, golf tournament or race I attend, every movie or TV show I watch, every store in which I shop, every restaurant in which I eat, every member of the political party for which I invariably vote.
If I watch running back Adrian Peterson, does that mean I feel entitled to smack my kids with a switch? I never would and I never did.
If I watch Hardy and the Dallas Cowboys play the Panthers on Thanksgiving, does that mean I condone domestic violence? I’ve never practiced domestic violence. It contradicts everything I believe and was raised to believe.
Sports no longer are the place we go to escape real life. But sometimes they’re all we’ve got.
Sorensen: 704-358-5119; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @tomsorensen