Boxing fans still long for past after Saturday night’s dupe
In the movie “Field of Dreams,” James Earl Jones delivered a passionate speech about America’s love of baseball and how a nation longed for its past heroes.
Many Americans who grew up watching Rocky Marciano, Sugar Ray Robinson, Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson have the same affection for boxing and its past champions.
We wanted to believe the past was coming to life Saturday night in Las Vegas, where Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao fought in what was billed as the “Fight of the Century.” Folks who had not seen a boxing match – on TV or in person – and those who had not watched one in years had to see it.
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When the fight was announced, we forked over the $99.95 pay-per-view cost without thinking twice. Parties were planned; bets were placed. Those attending at the MGM Grand paid thousands of dollars for tickets – if they were lucky enough to have a chance to buy them – and $800 for hotel rooms that were $69 a few days earlier.
Surely this fight would go down as one of the greatest in history – right up there with Ali vs. Joe Frazier, Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Marvelous Marvin Hagler and Bobby Chacon vs. Rafael “Bazooka” Limon, Ring Magazine’s 1982 Fight of the Year at the Memorial Auditorium.
We long to see those championship bouts again, and we proved Saturday night that we’ll pay almost any amount to do so. In boxing, it’s chumps we have and champs we lack.
Instead of feeling as if we dipped in those magic waters that took us to the past, Saturday’s one-sided fight left us feeling punched in the stomach and robbed of 100 bucks. And we allowed it to happen.
Sorry, kids, no milk this week. You’ll have drink water with those peanut butter sandwiches.
What to watch
NBA playoffs, Memphis at Golden State, 7:30 p.m., TNT: Stephen Curry gets his MVP trophy, then attempts to lead the Warriors to 2-0 series lead.
@RealSkipBayless: “Floyd Mayweather Jr. is the best defensive fighter ever. But he just got away with a whole lot of fancy run-run-running.”
On this date
2007: Floyd Mayweather Jr. beats Oscar De La Hoya in one of the richest fights ever. Mayweather, using his superb defensive skills and superior speed, wins a 12-round split decision and the World Boxing Council 154-pound title in his first fight at that weight. The sellout crowd of 16,200 at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas sets a record with a $19 million gate.