It’s the ‘Fight of the Century’, apparently. And with the Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao just days away, we feel the need to discuss this major sporting event in the only way we know how: loosely, with a heavy emphasis on polemics, analogies and sweeping generalisations…
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We at The Public Apology have always stressed the importance of good vs evil in sport. And this upcoming fight seems the perfect example of a well-loved ‘hero’ versus an evil villain.
Of course, villains can’t just simply be ‘evil’. They must also be really good at what they do. Every Superhero in the history of cinema/TV has had a highly capable villain to contend with. Whether its the sophisticated Hans Gruber in Die Hard or the frightening psycho cannibal, Hannibal Lector – charming and intelligent, yet ice-cold – villains must be capable, otherwise they’re just silly.
And there is no doubt that Mayweather is really good at boxing, having never lost a fight.
It seems that boxing is embracing the ridiculous pantomime usually reserved for WWE wrestling. As I see it, Pacquiao and Mayweather are past their prime and, really, should have fought five years ago. As such, the emphasis is on story-lines, just like in Wrestlemania, where Hulk Hogan, Undertaker, Kane, ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, The Rock always divided fans based on their public personalities and mostly fictitious backstories.
Pierce Egan, a British journalist in the 1800s, was best known for his five volumes of articles entitled Boxiana. Egan referred to boxing as “the sweet science of bruising,” this ‘sweetness’ the inspiration for ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard’s nickname several years later. Egan wrote glowingly about the ancient craft of pugilism – and to this day, boxing is still considered ‘elegant’ and ‘pure’, the technical side of the sport celebrated, despite the clear and devastating effects it can have on long-term health (exhibit A: Muhammad Ali).
Here are some ‘facts’ that may influence who you support on May 2, 2015:
- Mayweather once said in reference to Pacquiao that he was going to “stomp on that midget” and “get him to make me a sushi roll.” This is wildly inaccurate given Filipino cuisine is mostly a combination of Malay, Spanish, Chinese, Latin and American influences, but an extremely villainous comment nonetheless.
- Pacquiao ran away from home as a boy because his father ate his dog. This is a domestic tragedy that we can all relate to.
- Pacquiao is a southpaw Filipino congressman/basketballer/pop star. Basically, he’s Chuck Norris plus politics.
- Mayweather stuffs his mouthguard with US$100 bills. He also employs a crew of employees to do very specific jobs, including one man who is tasked with picking up “the Champ’s” underwear. He has a lot of money and really wants you to know about it.
- Mayweather is a serial domestic violence offender. This is not funny and should influence your decision on who to support. It is not too much of a stretch to say that a vote for Mayweather is a vote for violence against women.
I expect this fight to resonate highly in Australia, if nothing for the fact that Australians tend to see everything in black and white.
As freelance writer Jonathan Green writes, when it comes to issues like the death penalty, the sacking of SBS presenters for waging their own opinions on Twitter, or just an innocent slip of the tongue on breakfast TV, Australians are there with their pitchforks, ready to take sides without considering the complexities.
The Pacquiao v Mayweather dichotomy plays right into our stupid fucking hands. This is one thing we can’t tear each other apart over. Pacquiao is ‘good’ and Mayweather is ‘bad’. It’s that easy. And in these troubled times, this fight cannot come soon enough.
God bless the simplicity of sport.
By Dave Edwards with staff writers