If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a tweet is worth … well, at 140 characters max, certainly a whole lot less than a thousand words. Maybe 32 or so, I’d guesstimate. Unless there’s a Twitpic attached, in which case it’s worth about 1,032 words.
Nevertheless, this Twitpic-free tweet from Floyd Mayweather on Wednesday is certainly worth a thousand words of reaction: “I’m fighting Miguel Cotto on May 5th because Miss Pac Man is ducking me.” The tweet was just 14 little words long, but its emotional impact on this longtime boxing fan and writer is not so succinctly summed up.
A list of some of the feelings stirred by “Money’s” loaded declaration: anticipation, excitement, depression, frustration, anger, bewilderment, revulsion, confusion, and maybe even a little guilt and self-loathing. Allow me to lie down on Dr. Melfi’s couch and explain.
On the one hand, Mayweather vs. Cotto is a decent fight, the most marketable and second most competitive (behind only Mayweather vs. Sergio Martinez) fight Floyd could have considered if we take Manny Pacquiao out of the equation. It’s a big event. On certain levels, I’m looking forward to it.
However, I’d still need about 8-1 odds to even think about betting on Cotto. That’s not a good sign. Mayweather-Cotto is to Mayweather-Pacquiao as The Departed is to Goodfellas. It’s the difference between having Andy Reid reliably guide you to 10 wins a season and an early playoff exit and Bill Belichick take you to 13 wins and a Super Bowl title. It’s serviceable vs. spectacular. And of course, relativity works both ways. This ain’t Mayweather-Pacquiao, but at least it isn’t Mayweather-Robert Guerrero, right? In a year in which nothing has gone right so far for fight fans, Mayweather-Cotto is both a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and a slap in the face.
Then there’s the “Miss Pac Man is ducking me” part of the tweet. Never mind the misogynistic derision from a man who recently pled guilty to beating a woman. I’d rather focus on the word “ducking.” Is that what we call it when a man expresses an interest in fighting you and suddenly you find a new way to sabotage negotiations by insisting a 50-50 purse split is unacceptable? Just when public sentiment had turned in favor of Mayweather and against Bob Arum, Floyd found a way to turn it back against himself. You get the feeling that if Manny said he’d let Mayweather keep 100 percent of the money, Mayweather would say there’s no deal unless the fight takes place in his Las Vegas mansion with both fighters riding Segways for 90 seconds of every round.
If Mayweather doesn’t want to fight Pacquiao, for whatever reason (and there aren’t many that make sense after how human Pac-Man looked against Juan Manuel Marquez in November), then so be it. But, please Floyd, at least have the self-awareness not to accuse the guy of ducking you five minutes after you publicly ducked him!
I guess I should appreciate Mayweather vs. Cotto for what it is: two of the three most bankable fighters in the sport facing each other, neither of whom is totally shot (even if Cotto is significantly less potent than he was five years ago), with a chance for entertainment value because Mayweather picked an opponent who’s never been in a bad fight. But I can’t commit to that positive spin. I just can’t. And that makes me feel a few pangs of guilt, like there’s something wrong with me.
The sad reality is that, even with the signing of the somewhat appealing Mayweather-Cotto fight, 2012 has a chance to be the worst year for boxing since World War II. Granted, we have a tendency to exaggerate everything in the moment; if you believe what you read on Twitter, Blake Griffin’s dunk on Kendrick Perkins was, for a few hours, the greatest play in the history of sports. So I’m probably guilty of some hyperbole here if I call this boxing’s lowest point in 70 years.
But look at what fight fans have been subjected to so far in 2012: the latest month-long BS Mayweather-Pacquiao tease; the postponement of January’s only big fight, Erik Morales vs. Danny Garcia; the postponement of February’s biggest and best fight, Victor Ortiz vs. Andre Berto; and rather than a can’t-miss fourth fight between Pacquiao and Marquez in June, probably Pacquiao-Tim Bradley, which could be a stylistic nightmare and rates to be far less competitive than Pac-JMM IV. There’s so little going on that some folks have gotten excited about Epix airing three heavyweight “title” fights in three weeks, even though those fights are Vitali Klitschko-Dereck Chisora, Alexander Povetkin-Marco Huck, and, God help us, Wladimir Klitschko-Jean-Marc Mormeck. 2012 has not been kind to boxing fans so far, that isn’t likely to change over the next few weeks, and there’s nothing coming up that convinces me it’s going to change in the spring, summer, or fall.
Ending where we began, with Twitter: My follow boxing scribe David Greisman tweeted on Wednesday, “I can’t get excited about Mayweather-Cotto. I don’t know if this makes me jaded or realistic.”
I know what it makes you, David: both. Everything is relative. Relative to the fight we all want to see and probably never will, Mayweather-Cotto is a miserable excuse for a superfight. Relative to the rest of the 2012 calendar, Mayweather-Cotto is a true superfight.
Because it’s the only superfight we’ve got.
And if you think your emotions are conflicted now, wait until mid-April when an injury postpones the fight.