Countdown To Mayweather-Pacquiao: Why It's A Dead-End Super Fight

mayweather vs. pacquiao

What does the upcoming Mayweather-Pacquiao Super Fight mean for boxing's future landscape?

In the past, “Super Fights” there often were residual effects from the outcome which set up the next highly anticipated bout. When “Smokin” Joe Frazier clipped the wings of “The Butterfly” Muhammad Ali on March 8, 1971, it set forth a four year period in which Ali fought George Foreman and Frazier two more times as they exchanged the undisputed heavyweight title between the three of them. That period is considered one of the best eras in heavyweight history. And it all started with the super fight in which all super fights are measured, Frazier vs. Ali in 1971, the most widely anticipated and comprehensively covered boxing match ever.

In June of 1980 Roberto Duran 71-1 (55) beat Sugar Ray Leonard 27-0 (18) in the “Brawl In Montreal.” Duran's win as a 9-5 underdog set up a rematch with Leonard five months later. Leonard won the rematch and within a year met undefeated destroyer and WBA welterweight title holder Thomas Hearns 32-0 (30) in a bout that was billed as “The Showdown.” Leonard stopped Hearns in the 14th round of a tremendous give and take bout to become the undisputed welterweight champion. Five months later he was forced to retire due to suffering a detached retina in his left eye. During Leonard's absence after setting the stage fighting both Duran and Hearns, “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler emerged as the baddest middleweight in the world. And between the three of them (Hagler, Hearns & Duran) there were some really big super fights which captivated the boxing public circa 1983-85. A few years after Hagler stopped Hearns in three rounds, Leonard fought Hagler in his initial come back bout and won the WBC middleweight title in April of 1987. As you can see as a result of the first Leonard-Duran bout, a series between four all-time greats encompassing nine fights was set in motion, taking place in between 1980-89.

The 1988 undisputed heavyweight championship bout between Mike Tyson 34-0 (30) and former undisputed light heavyweight champ Michael Spinks 31-0 (21) was a monumental bout because it would clear up the confusion as to who the undisputed champ was. After Tyson dispatched Spinks in the first round the consensus was Mike would hold the title as long as he wanted to. With Olympians Riddick Bowe and Lennox Lewis both turning pro in early 1989 the table was set for them to eventually meet Tyson for the title in future super fights in the early nineties. Then the unexpected happened and Tyson lost the title in his third defense against James “Buster” Douglas 29-4-1 (19) in what many consider to be the biggest upset in boxing history. So it can't be said Tyson-Spinks was a dead end super fight because there were dream fights out there for Tyson had he been able to hold onto the undisputed title a couple of more years as expected.

However, there have been many dead end super fights since the “Fight Of The Century” between Ali and Frazier 44 years ago. Hagler-Leonard, Tyson-Holyfield and Lewis-Tyson come to mind, just to name a few. A dead end super fight is like a match race; its single purpose is to determine the winner between two superstar fighters who have been on a collision course that haven't yet clashed. There are usually no residual effects from them and the result doesn't set up other big fights down the road other than perhaps a rematch.

Hagler-Leonard was huge because Marvin and Ray, along with being all-time greats, were two of the most dominant fighters of the eighties and were close in weight and physical stature. Everyone who even casually followed boxing wanted to find out who was better between them. And after losing a split decision to Leonard in a bout he was certain that he won, Hagler retired from boxing and never flirted with returning to the ring again. Leonard, after scoring the most gratifying victory of his career, milked the public for a few more years, fighting a rematch with Hearns and a rubber match with Duran. Two years after beating Duran in their third bout he was taken apart by Terry Norris in 1991 and that was pretty much it for Sugar Ray Leonard as a superstar fighter. His ill-fated comeback against Hector Camacho in 1996 was virtually ignored by the boxing world, and rightly so.

Tyson-Holyfield I, like Mayweather-Pacquiao, also happened five years after its original sell-by date. And the only reason why it was so big was because everyone wanted to find out after all those years of anticipating–as is the case with Mayweather-Pacquiao–who'd win between career rivals Mike and Evander. The same applied to the Lewis-Tyson and De La Hoya-Mayweather mega bouts. They were nothing more than match races between superstar fighters with one of them on a severe decline (Tyson & De La Hoya). There was no discernible fallout from either bout in regards to being the springboard for another big fight.

When examining Mayweather-Pacquiao under a microscope, it doesn't matter whether or not you believe it will be a terrific fight from an action point of view. But there can be no conclusion other than it really is a dead-end super fight. And that's not because it's happening five years too late….Actually, like the third fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, more commonly known as the “Thrilla In Manila,” Mayweather-Pacquiao can still be an exciting/great bout.

When Ali 48-2 (35) and Frazier 32-2 (27) fought their rubber match during the fall of 1975, Muhammad was four months shy of turning 34 and Joe was four months shy of turning 32. Much to the surprise of many boxing observers, Ali-Frazier III turned out to be a real war and great fight, despite neither being close to the great fighters they were the first time they met four years earlier in 1971. And the reason for that was neither Joe nor Muhammad had much left defensively and couldn't get out of the others' way. The older and slower versions of them landed almost everything they threw at each other, resulting in a back and forth bout in which ruined both of them as all-time greats. But the fight was very relevant because it was the culmination and final chapter of what is truly the greatest sports rivalry in history. So Ali-Frazier III certainly cannot be considered a dead end super fight.

The same cannot be said for Mayweather and Pacquiao, who have never faced each other. They've both defeated practically every big name fighter currently campaigning at welterweight. The biggest reason why the fight between them has finally been made is simply because neither Floyd nor Manny have anyone left to fight that boxing fans really care about seeing them in the ring against. Once they finally fight and the result is history, then what? Where does Pacquiao turn? It's not like the world is waiting with baited breath for him to fight Amir Khan or Keith Thurman. Manny has nothing left to prove to anyone or himself. He's already established himself as one of the all-time great pound-for-pound fighters in boxing history having won a world title in eight different weight divisions. If Pacquiao loses to Mayweather his legacy won't be the least bit diminished, and if he beats him his legend grows in leaps and bounds almost to Roberto Duran-esque stature. Manny Pacquiao is pretty much done as a professional fighter aside from fighting Mayweather again in a rematch.

As for Mayweather…..it all depends on what happens against Pacquiao. If he wins and controls the fight most of the way, I would venture to say we'll never see them fight again. Why? Because it's not like Pacquiao can change his stripes and beat Floyd by fighting a different style in a rematch, and most boxing fans understand that, and if they don't they should. If Mayweather wins a close fight, say 115-113, and the decision is seen as being disputed or controversial, he'll probably have to fight Manny again to erase any lingering doubt. And if the worst possible for Mayweather is realized and he loses to Manny, then he has no choice but to exercise the rematch clause in their contract (which stipulates Pacquiao must give Mayweather a rematch if he wins). Let’s say for argument sake Mayweather beats Pacquiao, which I have no doubt he will. What's next if he doesn't fight him again? Nobody can convince me that there's interest in Mayweather fighting Keith Thurman or Amir Khan after finally beating Pacquiao. Add Canelo Alvarez and Timothy Bradley to the list. Nobody wants to see Mayweather-Alvarez II, and Mayweather-Bradley is something I'd use as a threat to make prisoners watch if they didn't snitch on their partners in crime, that's how terrible that would be to have to sit through. So who or what's left for Mayweather?

Gennady Golovkin for the middleweight title without a catch-weight stipulation? Perhaps, that would certainly be something, but it wouldn't be as big as Mayweather-Pacquiao to quasi boxing fans because they don't know who Golovkin is yet. In the boxing world Golovkin-Mayweather is huge, but not outside of it.

As you can see Mayweather vs. Pacquiao is really just a match race between two world renowned thoroughbreds that have been on a collision course for almost six years. Once it's over only one of two things will happen. Either Floyd and Manny touch gloves once more or, they will fight a swan song bout affording their fans one last chance to celebrate their hall of fame careers before they move onto the next stage of their lives. What does the fight really mean for boxing’s landscape? It's a super fight because of the money it will generate.

But it's one of the only recent super fights along with Hagler-Leonard (1987), Lewis-Tyson (2002) and De La Hoya-Mayweather (2007) that has nearly a dead end, other than a rematch and that's about it.

But that doesn't mean it can't or won't be a terrific fight on the night of May 2nd 2015 regardless of who wins.

Frank Lotierzo can be reached at GlovedFist@Gmail.com

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COMMENTS

-Radam G :

Nice pugilistic marathon copy. But this scrap is a throwback of a 105 year ago and a 100 years ago. This scrap is a forced encounter, first and foremost. Money May was forced to dance with Da Manny by electronic Mafiosos Showtime and CBS. Let us not be shy to call a spade a spade and try to hide in da deep dark or the shade. This bout has elements of racism, tribalism, nationalism, jingoism, and a lot of other isms isms and stereotypical nonsense. A 105 years ago, racists and bigoted arseholes made Triple-J [James J. Jeffries] come out of retirement and be a tar baby for race superiority bullsyet. "Unforgivable Blackness" Jack Johnson destroyed "White Hope" Triple-J for the then richest purses ever in a pugging affair. A 100 years ago, mainland USA crooks struck a forced deal with 38-year-old "Big Smoke" Jack Johnson to dance with the "Pottatwatomie Giant" Jess Willard. The old-dead leg Johnson was a shot pug. His moves -- including the shoulder roll -- was long gone. For the fakers and posers -- who like to make up syet and don't know syet ' 'bout boksing -- Jack Johnson first learned to box while working on the dock of the Galveston Bay. He was taught by Italian and Filipino ship workers and fishermen. The "Galveston Giant" Johnson's leaning backward and shoulder rolling were/are short-on-height Italian moves. And moving in and out and side to side and jabbing and uppercut ting were Filpino to da maximum taught to him. And substantiating this is not hard to find by those in da real real and in da know of da game. Back to Money May! He didn't want this work. His legs are boksing dead. He won't be able to handle Da Manny's angling moves and speed. And you can forget about Money May's right hand clawing-types of shots. Da Manny is going to counter him bytch crazy. On the night in question, it will be the Filipino Pacific Rim Storm doing most of the countering and leading. The Bell Curve of Money May's boksing superiority will be destroyed. He will have a U.S. Midwest deep FREEZE! And will break like ice dropping off frozen trees and buildings. He can chop that wood. Holla!


-Buzz Murdock :

Joe Choynski is credited with teaching Johnson the finer points of pugilism when they were incarcerated together for a month after their boxing match. He also worked Jeffries corner. in the Johnson match-up. An enigmatic man who lived to a ripe old age. who fought the best heavyweights probably not weighing more than 168. This can be very easily documented by anyone whose interested...I didn't know about the Galveston dock workers....


-Radam G :

Joe Choynski is credited with teaching Johnson the finer points of pugilism when they were incarcerated together for a month after their boxing match. He also worked Jeffries corner. in the Johnson match-up. An enigmatic man who lived to a ripe old age. who fought the best heavyweights probably not weighing more than 168. This can be very easily documented by anyone whose interested...I didn't know about the Galveston dock workers....
Holla at the book "Unforgivable Blackness" or the documentary. The kid Johnson worked on the dock of the bay of Galveston starting at 11 or 12 years old. And use to knockout workers twice his age, but his similar size. He was BIG for a kid at 11 and 12 years old. Plus there are tons of more books, videos and documentaries and even docuflicks on "The Galveston Giant/Big Smoke." Da MAN is no joke. You even get da real real hook up about Johnson on Youtube. But haters and posers want to brain wash ev'bodee and dey momma not to believe anything on da NET unless they approve of it. Nevermind that the NET is an extention of valid information and fiction of our everyday lives. These jive muthasuckas are feeding you great di-ga-di-dawg fiction. And have no shame in their con game. They ought to do what they always claim -- "Keep it real!" And for those in da know, that is not a big deal. Holla!


-Buzz Murdock :

First off, got wind of Choynski 55 years ago in a Boxing Illustrated story, before the internet existed, Actually he knocked Johnson out in three rounds--and fought limitless exhibitions with the great Austrailian Peter Jackson. There's a picture on Wiki of Johnson standing behind Choynski measuring their arm arm length. Saw Unforgivable Blackness, and read the book....I'm an old guy. whose patience has worn thin for everything---Hater is just coloquialistic jive used to categorize a difference of opinion into a defensive posture----means nuthin----go Matthyse...


-Radam G :

First off, got wind of Choynski 55 years ago in a Boxing Illustrated story, before the internet existed, Actually he knocked Johnson out in three rounds--and fought limitless exhibitions with the great Austrailian Peter Jackson. There's a picture on Wiki of Johnson standing behind Choynski measuring their arm arm length. Saw Unforgivable Blackness, and read the book....I'm an old guy. whose patience has worn thin for everything---Hater is just coloquialistic jive used to categorize a difference of opinion into a defensive posture----means nuthin----go Matthyse...
All respect due. Go, Siberian Rocky! The part about Choynski is right. Most of the haters and poser -- again -- don't have a clue about Aussie "Black Prince" Peter Jackson. Holla!


-Domenic :

First off, got wind of Choynski 55 years ago in a Boxing Illustrated story, before the internet existed, Actually he knocked Johnson out in three rounds--and fought limitless exhibitions with the great Austrailian Peter Jackson. There's a picture on Wiki of Johnson standing behind Choynski measuring their arm arm length. Saw Unforgivable Blackness, and read the book....I'm an old guy. whose patience has worn thin for everything---Hater is just coloquialistic jive used to categorize a difference of opinion into a defensive posture----means nuthin----go Matthyse...
Absolutely beautiful. Well said.