It’s hard to imagine, after so many years of waiting and all the hype, that Saturday night’s showdown between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao will live up to expectations.
Though it has all the ingredients of a wildly entertaining fight between two of the best pound-for-pound boxers of the past decade, it could be a one-sided, boring affair that blows up in the sport’s face – despite the money that will be made.
Boxing, however, is pushing in all its chips to the center of the table that this fight will pay off.
This is the bout the boxing world has been waiting for since Mike Tyson ruled, and boxing is banking on Saturday night to help save a sport that seemingly has become less relevant since the extinction of the American heavyweight.
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The boxing community – trainers, managers, promoters and TV networks – also hopes this megafight will lure another generation into the ring. Somewhere around the globe, there must be another Mayweather or Pacquaio, who will be inspired to put on the gloves and step into the ring after what they see Saturday night.
Even if Mayweather-Pacquiao never happened, boxing would survive. There are many up-and-coming fighters to keep the sport alive. But there’s no question the Ultimate Fighting Championship has cut into boxing’s business by drawing many former and would-be young viewers.
Today’s generation is more attracted to the combative style used by UFC fighters. Now it’s up to two nearly 40-year-olds to show them what they’ve been missing.
This is a fight boxing cannot lose.
What to watch
Baseball, Giants at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m., CSNBA: It’s a rematch between aces Madison Bumgarner and Clayton Kershaw.
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On this date
2003: Peja Stojakovic scores 27 points and Chris Webber 26 to lead the Kings to a 99-82 victory over Utah and a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven first-round playoff series.