Growing up as a boxing fan, I’ve heard tales of the legendary bouts of Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, Marvin Hagler and Thomas Hearns, the dominance of Mike Tyson’s prime, and Ali and George Foreman.
As time passes, these iconic figures in the sport have become forgotten and almost mythical, as our demographic is much more familiar with George Foreman the grill salesman than the all-time great heavyweight. Today we have two prominent figures in Floyd Mayweather (47-0) and Manny Pacquiao (57-5-2), who will one day be among the greats when they hang it up and can perhaps make boxing the center of the sporting world once more, maybe for the last time. With every waning moment, the sport’s popularity diminishes with the UFC and its chaotic nature, itching closer and closer to the sport’s extinction.
For years and years, we heard rumblings about these two fighting, but what was the fuss about?
I mean, one guy has never come close to losing a day in his professional life, while the other still gets made fun of on the Internet for getting knocked out just two years ago. What makes this fight so interesting is the contrast of styles in how each fighter approaches each match. Mayweather is an all-time great defensive fighter, perhaps the greatest of his kind, and Pacquiao is a no-holds-barred brawler with devastating punching power he still possesses at the age of 36. Pacquiao is also left-handed and fights southpaw, which has been a problem for Mayweather in the past with their awkward angles and combinations of punches. Pacquiao is still one of the greatest fighters of our generation, despite his reckless abandon nature which can get him in trouble, as we saw against Juan Manuel Márquez in 2012.
What’s also very compelling about this fight is the comparison of hand speed and quickness. Mayweather usually overwhelms his adversaries with his all-time great defense and quickness. Pacquiao is just as quick with his hands as Mayweather, so whoever can set the tone and pace of this fight and force the other into their realm of boxing should come out on top.
With Pacquiao bouncing back from the devastating blow to his legacy that was the Marquez knockout with convincing wins against Brandon Rios, Timothy Bradley and Chris Algieri, this fight should live up to the hype and give boxing fans the dream matchup that’s been lacking in the sport for decades. Two marquee names that can both satisfy the attentive fan and draw in the casual fan are exactly what the sport needs to see a possible resurgence in popularity and attract some of the younger viewers who are more infatuated with the UFC. While this fight might not be Ali-Frazier in 1975 or Hagler-Hearns in 1985, in 2015, it’s the closest we can get to an all-time great fight.
With all that being said, the two best fighters of our lives will finally square off on May 2, and personally, I can’t wait.