There hasn’t really be an exciting boxing match in 20 years. Tyson-Holyfield was the last that I could remember being a household name. That was the end of an era of juggernaut heavyweights who moved fast and hit hard and decimated their opponents. But the sport became a faux-pas. The blood and spit were an anathema to the idealogy of sporting, brutal and ugly. But it was also why we watched it.
The truth is we don’t like boxing anymore. Perhaps we never did.
Football players brutalize their body just as much, if not more than boxers and we still lap it up. But there is a difference - we can’t see their faces.
Out of the rough, Pacquiao became a household name. Suddenly, people knew about boxing again. They saw his ferocity mixed with his quiet demeanor and looked on with intrigue. The boxing community quickly thought - could he be the one who would take down Mayweather?
6 years passed, filled with trash talking and negotiations. A generation of boxing non-watchers - devoid of the ABC Fight Nights of old, suddenly had an opinion of boxing. The UFC generation wanted a good ol’ brawl. In fact, we demanded it.
But we forgot what a boxer really is. Tactical, elegant, and smart. Aside from all that, the fighting is irrelevant. The blood is just a byproduct. Mayweather knows that. He picks off his opponents, one jab at a time. Instead of pummelling them with the wall of punches Pacquiao is accustomed to. And then there is the speed. Others do not have it.
Culturally, we resent the fact that we bought into the gimmick of this “fight of a century”. We resent that we paid a lot of money for the PPV, and we resent that we sent a jive talking gloat home with a lot of money. We would’ve been OK with it if he got the whooping we all wanted to lay upon him ourselves, but he didn’t and here we are.
And so we’re tired of it, again. Because we were reminded that the sport isn’t all blood and guts. The sport that so many hated and condemned, doesn’t have to be as bloody as they said it is. And they hate it all the more now, because it reminds us just how much we lust for that blood in the ring.