How many things in life are actually bullet-proof? I would venture to say not many, but in sports there are a few things that really are bullet-proof and can't miss.
The Super Bowl is bullet-proof. By that I mean it doesn't matter which two teams play in it, it's going to draw the biggest television audience of the year. The tickets will be more money this year than they were last year and the commercials will also be more expensive than they were for last years' game. There will be parties at residences and restaurants everywhere the day of the game. And if you are traveling on the road while the game is being played, you can count on no traffic. No, it doesn't matter if the game is between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Arizona Cardinals. If the Jaguars and Cardinals ever met in the Super Bowl, it would be the biggest and most widely covered game of the year regardless of the fact neither team has much juice outside of Florida and Arizona. So you see, the NFL can't lose regardless of what two teams meet for the Lombardi trophy on the first Sunday of every February.
Unlike the Super Bowl, the World Series, NBA Finals and the Stanley Cup Finals need at least one big market or establishment team in it to draw really big numbers. Can you imagine the putrid numbers a San Diego Padres vs. Tampa Bay Rays World Series would bring? Or an NBA finals featuring the Charlotte Bobcats vs. Memphis Grizzlies? MLB and the NBA along with the television networks broadcasting the games would be praying for some kind of monumental controversy to stir interest if they were stuck with a Padres-Rays World Series or a Bobcats-Grizzlies NBA final.
Some say professional boxing is on the decline. However, boxing has it's own version of the Super Bowl, it's titled Mayweather vs. Pacquiao. And it is as completely bullet-proof as the Super Bowl.
You can bet the house on it that the moment it's announced and becomes official, look out, because it'll dominate everything boxing until the night of the fight. I remember in 2009/2010 it was Mayweather-Pacquiao 24/7 but it never happened. I say because of Mayweather's reluctance, but there are those who disagree. Back then it was a legitimate Super Fight and a case could've been made for either fighter winning, which is paramount in the making of a Super Fight. (Of course that is by no means the case today.)
Last weekend, Pacquiao avenged his decision loss to Timothy Bradley from two years ago. And ever since the moment his hand was raised in victory, all talk has centered around when he's going to fight Mayweather. In less than three weeks Mayweather will fight and handily defeat Marcos Maidana, and after the fight all anyone will want to talk to him about is fighting Pacquiaio.
Remember when they were both thought to be unbeatable about four years ago? A lot has changed since then. As of this writing Mayweather is 37 and will soon be on the decline, I think. Pacquiao is 35. In addition to that, Pacquiao has been officially defeated twice, has been knocked out cold for two minutes lying face down on the canvas, and he hasn't won by knockout in five years. What will it take for the boxing media and fans to grasp that Mayweather-Pacquiao isn't a big fight and there's no longer a scintilla of drama as to who will come out on top? Is there really one boxing observer left who doesn't think that Mayweather played his hand perfectly waiting Pacquiao out and for him to shows signs of undeniable erosion? Are there still boxing aficionados around who don't see Mayweather administering a one-sided boxing lesson to Pacquiao once they step into the ring when they finally meet? It's blatantly obvious that Pacquiao no longer has the punch or power to make Mayweather do anything that he doesn't want to. And without that he really has nothing else to fall back on to swing the fight in his favor. With Floyd not having to worry about getting stopped or really stunned to the point where he can't recover, he can do what he wants in order to control the fight.
It seems that nothing matters, all boxing fans care about is Mayweather and Pacquiao fighting. I could see if Manny was still the non-stop punching dynamo he used to be, but he's no longer that fighter. Even if you think he beat Bradley the first time, and he did. There's still a great case to be made that he should've lost the decision to Juan Manuel Marquez in their third fight. It was close but I had it for Marquez. And the disputed decision in their third meeting is what really prompted their fourth fight, and Pacquiao was knocked out in one of the most devastating fashions we've recently witnessed in that bout. Also, has everyone forgotten that Mayweather tortured and dominated a younger Marquez over 12-rounds back in late 2009? In fact Marquez didn't win a round, no, he didn't win a minute of that fight. Yet for some reason Mayweather and Pacquiao have to fight so the world keeps rotating?
I can't explain why but the media and fans feel their lives won't be complete if they don't see Mayweather and Pacquiao fight, regardless of the fact that there isn't a morsel of a doubt as to who will win. In fact, I bet the day of the fight Mayweather is about a 12-5 favorite and nobody will bet Pacquiao without getting odds. If Mayweather-Pacquiao were really so intriguing why will those betting Mayweather have to lay over 2-1 in order to bet him in the fight? That's pretty overwhelming in favor of Mayweather for a fight that's supposed to be must see and a toss up.
I really believe Pacquiao could fight and get knocked out by the Marquez-Alvarado winner in the first round, yet if he announced at the post fight press conference that he's signed to fight Mayweather five months from now, the fight would still be the biggest grossing bout in history. Actually, I'll go one further. Pacquiao could fight and get knocked out by Marquez and Alvarado in consecutive fights and still meet Mayweather five months later and break all PPV buy records. I've lived through big fights during my time, like Ali-Frazier I, II & III, Ali-Foreman, Leonard-Duran I & II and Leonard-Hearns...and believe me Mayweather-Pacquiao is nothing compared to those Super Fights.
Mayweather-Pacquiao is about as bullet-proof as any sporting event or fight that I've seen in my life. There is only one thing that could derail a fight between Floyd and Manny, and that too is bullet-proof. You know what that is, if Mayweather lost before they fought. That might be its death blow. But what are the odds of that? First of all there's nobody around Mayweather's weight who can beat him, and if that fighter existed, say a prime Paul Williams who forced Mayweather to retire once already, we know Floyd wouldn't fight him. So the only thing that could cancel Mayweather-Pacquiao can't happen. And once it's official, regardless of how eroded Pacquiao may have looked in his previous bouts, the moment his name is joined with Floyd's, it'll become the latest fight of a life-time.
There's nothing that can change that won't make it a big deal once it becomes official. I've never seen anything like it where clear thinking, reason and logic have been so completely rejected and thrown out the window. Since 2010, Pacquiao has been defeated twice, knocked out and lost a decision he should've won and was given one he should've lost. But that doesn't matter because everyone wants to see if he can beat Mayweather, despite there the fact there isn't a morsel of evidence to suggest that he can. When Mayweather and Pacquiao are mentioned most boxing fans are like sharks during a feeding frenzy. In other words, Mayweather and Pacquiao are going to fight, I don't care that Pacquiao is eroding and the result is a forgone conclusion. And that's exactly what makes Mayweather vs. Pacquiao bullet-proof.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com