Women love bad boys. There’s something about them that makes our heart beat a little faster. Whether it’s the leather jacket, the big muscles, or the rap sheet – we want to dabble. Is it that good girls want to be “bad,” or that we think our nurturing can change them? Whatever our attraction, most of us have indulged at one time or another in our own personal version of “Leader of the Pack.”
Professional boxing is rife with bad boys—from Jake LaMotta and Jack Johnson (as I’ve been told) to Mike Tyson and James Kirkland (as I’ve clearly seen). We love them, and we love to hate them. Most women will always join the crowd in rooting for the good guy or the underdog. But we are secretly enchanted by those tough disrespectful boys we could never take home to meet Mama.
The Bad Boy versus Good Boy theme has never been more evident than in the difference between Floyd “Money” Mayweather and Manny Pacquaio, boxing’s most infamous and famous current figures. Since they haven’t come to terms for the mega-fight that the whole world is waiting for, there’s an unresolved tension between Floyd (born with both the perks and the curses of the Mayweather legacy) and Manny (who grew up in the toughest of worlds without losing sight of his manners).
Manny raised himself out of the worst possible poverty to become the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world. Through his boxing excellence, his willingness to fight anyone, and also his generosity and compassion, he has become the most beloved and respected person in his native Philippines and one of the most popular athletes on the planet. He has used his personal success as a platform to aid his countrymen and entered politics so his helping hand could reach further. He can be brutal in the ring. But in the real world, he is as sweet as: “Honey.”
Despite his undefeated record, Floyd is arguably among the most vile and oppositional personalities ever to be called “champ.” With five criminal charges still pending against him and two past convictions for physically abusing women, he fights publicly with family members, often scorns the media, and shows blatant disregard for boxing fans. He is as happy winning by a sucker punch as showing his fans boxing brilliance. The reward or satisfaction he contemplates: “Money.”
During these difficult economic times, Manny’s countrymen know that they can come and get much-needed free food from their idol as well as a kind word. Floyd publically burns one hundred dollar bills and shows no remorse about his YouTube rants that defame truly good people.
When Floyd fights, he seems starkly devoid of support as he enters the ring. When Manny fights, the arena explodes in cheers.
The crowd responds to the respect that Manny has for the sport, his fans, and his opponent. He gives people what they came for. He lets his talent and boxing skill do the talking.
Good versus evil is a sports staple and a longstanding tradition in boxing. From my seat at ringside, I have seen both Manny and Floyd fight on numerous occasions. I can tell you, when it comes to Money versus Honey, the girls don’t love to hate the villain. They just hate him.
Without a single punch being thrown between them, Honey beats Money every time. We girls might want to dabble with the leather jacket. But we never really want to wear it.