Thursday, February 4, 2010

Pacquiao-Clottey, Mayweather-Mosley: Why The Fans Feel Duped

Now that I've satisfied my self-imposed 30 day hiatus from writing about Pacquiao and Mayweather, it's time to "talk about the past" and come to grips with my feelings.
Release the hounds!
First, a quick recap of the past 90 days on this subject.
Late November, Pacquiao demolishes Cotto and all eyes looked towards a super fight between pound for pound greats, Manny and Floyd.
In mid-December, the pre-fight hype was burning red hot, although steroids had entered the equation. Fans didn't care, they just wanted to see the fight.
By the end of December, the fight was in jeopardy, and both sides were posturing for PR position. The media and fans began pointing fingers and taking sides, while remaining hopeful.
And then we hit early January and the fight was officially called off. The fans were fuming and everyone was wondering "WTF went wrong ?"
But suddenly, things turned around.
Within days of the fight collapse, Pacquiao's promoter, Bob Arum announced that his fighter would take on welterweight bruiser, Josh Clottey.
While he's no Floyd Mayweather, most fans, hungry to see Pacquiao go toe-to-toe with anybody, accepted the strong-chinned Clottey as a suitable replacement.
The media and fans looked to the Mayweather camp for a response.
And then Haiti happened.
The sad disaster for this island nation was too much for countryman Andre Berto, and he subsequently pulled out of his scheduled bout with Shane Mosley. Thus, the doors were flung wide open for the possibility of Mosley finally meeting Mayweather—a match that had somehow never materialized while both fighters were in their prime.
And within a couple weeks, what felt like boxing's version of a punch to the groin, was beginning to heal with the promise of two spring time matchups including four of the biggest names in the welterweight division in Pacquiao, Clottey, Mayweather, and Mosley.
So why then, do I feel duped?
Like I was the recipient of a great bait and switch.
Because these weren't the fights I wanted.
Sure, I will be glued to a flat screen on Mar 13 to watch Pacquiao beat up on Clottey.
And, if the Mayweather-Mosley fight actually gets signed, I'll be the first in line to buy the pay per view.
But this just feels fishy, and I don't know why.
We knew the fans wanted the fight.
We all believed that Floyd wanted the fight.
We all believed the promoters wanted the fight.
Certainly, nobody could've predicted that a natural disaster of great magnitude would derail the Berto-Mosley fight, just days before the event.
But in retrospect, maybe the signs were already there. And we, as fans, were blinded by the bling of the fight that could've been.
At one point, Freddie Roach said March was too soon for a fight with Mayweather. He wanted time for his fighter to heal from the pounding he took from Cotto—even though we already knew Pacquiao would be unable to fight in May because of his pursuit of a congressional seat in the Philippines.
And during negotiations of Mayweather-Pacquiao, Arum kept dropping names like Yuri Foreman into the conversation as a backup for Pacquiao, should the fight not happen.
We ignored the fact that the Mayweathers were more focused on unprecedented drug testing, rather than the promise of a $50 million pay day and reclamation of the pound-for-pound crown.
Some of the more optimistic fans quickly point out that this scenario has the potential for an even bigger event (is that possible?), should Pacquiao and Mayweather both win, and eventually come to terms on a fight later in 2010.
They point to these spring fights as "tune-ups" for both fighters. That by the time Pacquiao and Mayweather get into the ring, it will be for all the marbles, all the accolades and all the belts.
And I buy into that. Sort of.
Sure, I'm relieved that Team Pacquiao and Top Rank were able to act fast and put Manny in the ring in March against a tough opponent.
And, as a boxing fan, I'm satisfied to see Mayweather finally face a very hungry, but aged fighter in Mosley, that many claim he has ducked for so long.
So, why then, do I still feel duped?


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