Pacquiao v Mayweather – Good Vs Evil?
We’re a mere eleven days away from the super fight of a lifetime between Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather Jnr. and Manny Pacquiao and the buzz is beginning to build to a crescendo.
Tickets have gone on sale, HBO have rolled the tape on their superlative mini-documentaries and both fighters are in the final days of a gruelling training and media schedule.
All that is left to decide is the question of who is the greatest of their generation? For mere mortals, it’s an insignificant question, but for two men, whose sole purpose was predestined from birth, it is a fight that will define their lives and their legacies.
From a wider spectrum, outside the gaze of both fighters, the importance of who wins should not be understated. Much like ‘Who is the fastest man on earth’, ‘Who is the best boxer on the planet’ is an answer we, by pure instinct, are all naturally fascinated by.
It is also important for other, more human reasons. For years now, this bout has become more than about who is the greatest.
It has festered into an equation of good vs evil; of right vs wrong. Whether you agree with that or not is immaterial – it has become that way through both men’s actions over the course of many years.
The general love for Floyd Mayweather Jnr. is hard to fathom in many ways. Despite being one of the all-time greats, unbeaten in 47 professional fights, ‘Pretty Boy Floyd’ has a dark past – a past that should not be ignored by anyone with a decent moral compass no matter how good he is at his craft.
Mayweather’s history of domestic violence should disturb those with any sort of conscience.
Seven alleged incidents against five different women. His ex-partner, Josie Harris, claims she suffered physical abuse on six different occasions at his hands with hospital records detailing the injuries, his own son bearing witness to the alleged assault.
Incarcerated for the offence on a plea bargain, Mayweather has continually stained his reputation as a man, and the reputation of his sport, by these actions.
You can forgive the vulgarity of his ‘Money’ persona. Many fighters before him have used boorish facades to forge identities and promote their fights, but beating women should never be condoned or glorified. Would you really want your own son or daughter to eulogise such a despicable figure?
Manny Pacquiao is no saint, either, however. His numerous reported infidelities are beneath a man of his stature, despite his wife, Jinky, standing faithfully by him through it all, and yet these kinds of sins are eminently more forgivable.
It helps, too, that Pacquiao, a very humble man by nature, has done so much for his country, spending millions of his own money helping his fellow Filipinos, even becoming a congressman in his home nation to help aid its growth.
Whilst Mayweather wagers sweaty wads of cash on basketball games, Pacquiao is busy ploughing it into his charities to help the poor.
Unfortunately, sport is never just about sport, and boxing is no different to any other. It is also about how our heroes appear when we hold them up to the light; when we examine the merits of, not just their talent, but their actions outside their profession.
In Floyd Mayweather’s case, whatever the result, a dark spectre will forever cloud his legacy.
Both are pound-for-pound, two of the greatest fighters ever, but on May 3rd, a Manny Pacquiao victory would serve boxing far better than the arm of a false idol being held aloft.