The Mayweather-Pacquiao Fight of the Century, hailed as the dream matchup we’ve been waiting years for, has quickly turned into a nightmare for boxing.
For starters, the heavily hyped and heavily priced fight turned out to be a dud. Mayweather’s unanimous decision victory failed to deliver in the drama department with fans and writers alike slamming the lack of action throughout the evening. The aftermath of the fight has only added to the derision for what was just a few days ago lauded as the biggest bout in recent memory and now will go down as one of boxing’s biggest busts.
Pacquiao revealed that he was suffering from a shoulder injury heading into the fight that was so bad he needs surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff. While one might consider Pacquaio brave for stepping into the ring with Floyd Mayweather with one arm, it’s also led to some significant backlash. Fans feel aggrieved that they paid for the fight under false pretenses and Pacquaio could be in trouble for not disclosing the injury. For his part, Mayweather is already publicly angling for a rematch with a healthy Pacquaio that nobody really wants right now.
Jim Lampley was a guest on The Rich Eisen Show on Tuesday and opened up about the fight that he called not just failing to live up to expectations, but “cheating” fans who paid a crap ton of money to watch the exhibition. Lampley said the fight was “highly unfortunate” for boxing and for the audience who watched.
The transcript of Lampley’s remarks is via The Rich Eisen Show:
Well, i think a lot less of it now…Look, it was a cynical enterprise to begin with in certain ways and now seems even moreso…i feel terrible who spent 4 figures on a ticket, i feel bad for people who spent 89–90–100 dollars on pay-per-view who were not given proper information in advance on what it was they were seeing…i think there may be a consituency of people who think it’s in some way noble and brave for pacquiao to go ahead and enter the ring with an injury and try to perform, but i think that the only way that that would wash is if the public had known in advance…and to have gone ahead with the enterprise when one of the fighters turns out to be damaged goods. And for all of the advertising and promotions to have continued to base itself on the notion that this was the fight of the century and the best combat that boxing could offer to fans and unitiated fans who only know a little bit about boxing and see it from the surface level buy in at the level in which they bought in are bound to feel somewhat cheated today. I just really think it’s highly unfortunate for our sport, i think it’s bad for pacquiao’s image and taints his great and noble career, and i could go on and on about the ways in which this is unfortunate for boxing and for the audience…i can’t imagine, even under these circumstances, that a rematch would illicit anything other than an embararssing response compared to what they got the other night.
Only boxing. Only boxing could present a Fight of the Century that turns out to be a negative for the sport instead of a positive.
At this point it’s worth asking why Pacquiao wouldn’t just go ahead and have the surgery and wait until next year to have a proper superfight that wouldn’t leave such a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. The answer is easy, of course: the millions both fighters made that is more money than any of us will ever see in ten lifetimes.
However, that giant payday came with a price. Think of all the fans who shelled out nearly $100 on pay-per-view for the first time only to be wildly disappointed. How many of those fans are never going to pay that much for a boxing match again? How many will be turned off completely from a potential rematch?
Instead of highlighting the best the sport had to offer, all Mayweather-Pacquiao did was further tarnish boxing’s image in the eyes of sports fans. Even to the point that boxing’s preeminent voice publicly called it a sham. The only good thing for Mayweather-Pacquaio is it isn’t alone on that list.