Unless you have had your head under a rock for the last several days, you no doubt know the Fight of the Century goes tomorrow in Las Vegas. Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao for the pound for pound boxing title!
Still, I notice at least one loyal employee is trying to help his company’s bottom line and drum up ESPN viewership against this pay per view.
In an obvious effort to encourage people to tune in the other sports on his own network, ESPN’s Keith Olbermann has called on the fans to boycott the fight, over domestic violence allegations against Mayweather. He also called for a boycott of the NFL Draft for similar reasons. Now, didn’t he also want to boycott the Final Four over the Religious Freedom law in Indiana, too? I think so.
Now, Olbermann is right to be mad, and domestic violence is a serious issue and so on, but going around “boycotting” sports events is pointless. In fact you can find reasons to boycott any sport if you looked hard enough — you can boycott the Olympics and soccer World Cups for setting up their competitions in totalitarian places that have no human rights; same for Formula 1 and their races. But history has shown boycotts accomplish little, because the competitions still get held and people still get rich.
If Olbermann thinks he is going to deny me my enjoyment of this long-awaited Fight of the Century, he’s got another thing coming. But here’s what I’ll do instead.
Instead of boycotting watching this fight completely, I’ll simply boycott paying for it. In protest of Mayweather and all the money being charged in the pay per view, I’ll try to watch the fight for free in some casino or bar somewhere. Also, there’s no way I’m cheering for Mayweather. I’ll cheer for Pacquiao, because he’s a nicer guy anyway — even though I’m convinced Mayweather will flatten him. Heck, I still remember what Juan Manuel Marquez did to Pacquiao in their last fight. Seriously, it looked like Marquez had killed him.
But no, I’m not boycotting the fight. Are you kidding?
I’ve been reading a few articles online referring to boxing’s decline and sort of pointing to this fight as sort of a last gasp for boxing. The common theme in these articles, I notice, is these are all American perspectives on the state of the sport. It’s all about how Americans have turned off the sport. But if you look at other places in the world, like Mexico as a good example, boxing is still as strong as ever. The Philippines, for one, is practically going to shut down when this superfight happens, because they’re all cheering for Pacquiao.
And frankly, even in the USA enthusiasm for this fight is through the roof. Everyone is talking about it — hardly the sort of reaction befitting a “dead” or “dying” sport. Yes, there’s a nostalgia element going for it as well among people who loved the old superfights, but I think there’s a real desire from people to see the glory days return, somehow.
There are still tons of fight fans out there who would love to see this sport get back off the canvas and solve a lot of its problems, and develop some compelling personalities and be as big as it used to be in the Eighties. Because honestly, it’s still a great spectacle.
Besides, what’s our alternative — the UFC? After what happened this week with Jon Jones‘ hit and run charges and the stripping of his title as a result? I’m sorry, but UFC is a shambles right now. This is one week in particular when we can forget about UFC and its problems and be fans of the other “fights” out there.