Two of Manny Pacquiao’s last four fights have been big yawners. For a person who cashes in million of dollars with each bout, a 50% batting average is terrible.
After the Pacman’s 2nd round demolition of Ricky Hatton, the Miguel Cotto match proved less engaging, as the Puerto Rican ran away from Pacquiao after a vicious knockdown. Joshua Clottey provided token opposition, aside from the occasional jab, as the Ghanaian stayed clamped inside a peek-a-boo defense all night long. The Antonio Margarito fight was the most exciting, thanks to Mexican-American’s gallant if not utterly futile stand.
Need I say more about Shane Mosley? The former pound-per-pound champ, after much pre-fight bombast about surprising the Pacman, danced his way from the Filipino’s fists. I guess when you’re at the tail-end of a storied career, facing retirement and a big fat paycheck, giving a good fight is the farthest thing from one’s mind.
Professional boxing, after all, is a cruel sport where death and permanent disability are constant two-punch combinations.
I enjoyed the Erik Morales-Marcos Maidana showdown much better. Held a few weeks earlier than the so-called blockbuster fight, the bout pitted the grace and experience of El Terible, famous in the Philippines for his storied trilogy with Pacquiao, against the youthful ferocity of El Chino, a knockout artist. The 34-year old Morales, slowed by a career spanning 57 fights, refused to wither under the Maidana’s power shots. The Mexican fared a lot better than Amir Khan, in the latter’s fight against the Argentinian, as Morales snuck in a few punches of his own.
At the end, youth prevailed over experience. Morales left eye was almost entirely shut, swollen after 12 rounds of with the hard-hitting Maidana. And yet, the audience cheered Morales. Even in defeat, the former champion was feted like the true legend that he is. There were none of the disappointed jeers heard throughout the Pacquiao-Mosley fight.
It would be anachronistic to say that professional boxing should not be about the money. It is about the money, that’s why pro-boxers are called “prizefighters” to quote Floyd Mayweather, Jr. Professional boxing is about giving a good show. And in doing so, the fighter endears himself to the audience in a bond of respect.
Perhaps the ultimate prize is not limited by the size of the purse.