I am a hypocrite. I like boxing. I always have. I hate violence. I always have. The fact that I enjoy sanctioned violence is hypocritical. But still, I like boxing and I cannot seem to stop. I used to be in Gold Gloves when I was a teenager. I liked it. The thought of actually hitting someone with my fists repulses me, though. I hope I never have to do it. But I don’t mind watching other people getting paid to do it well. I am a hypocrite. So is boxing. The sport is there for the athletes who box well to make lots of money. Then the sport turns on itself as it has since the Floyd Mayweather and (allegedly) Manny Pacquiao match this past Saturday. Lawsuit after lawsuit from all kinds of people and angles, trying to chip away at those people involved in a match that made at least $300 million. Saturday’s match could have put boxing back in the public view of entertainment sports, but almost immediately the business of boxing reminded everyone why it fell from the graces of the sports-minded public in the first place: it’s a dirty, backstabbing and cruel business. I like boxing. Boxing hates itself.
I am a hypocrite. I know this; I own it. In almost any other sport or walk of life, when someone has allegedly committed domestic violence I immediately root against them. Domestic violence is awful, not a laughing matter, and completely intolerable. So, I admit it was hypocritical of me to want Floyd Mayweather to beat Manny Pacquiao this past Saturday night. The only way I can tell myself this is OK is that I do not really see either person as virtuous. I think Pacquiao uses his faith as a crux to make him look better in the eyes of those willing to spend money to see his fights. I see his comments about Mayweather’s domestic abuse, like “Mayweather should hit me instead of his wife,” as judgmental, something the Bible says no man should do towards another. Someone straining so hard to prove what a good Christian he is might want to be a bit more humble about it. You know, like Jesus. Also, would someone who was so devout in the principles of a major religion choose to tell untruths about the biggest moment of his professional life? There is no way out of this for Pacquiao since his camp decided to come forward with a statement saying he had injured his shoulder weeks prior to the match. Pacquiao is either lying about the shoulder injury, which he thinks he should do because he got beat so badly by Mayweather and feels he needs to make an excuse, or he actually did injure his shoulder, did not tell the general public and took money from lots of people who spent their savings and/or disposable income on a fight they thought was a fair match. The fact that whether Manny was injured or not seems to not matter because after watching the fight there is difficulty in imagining Pacquiao ever having a real chance at beating Floyd. The fact is Pacquiao is either telling a complete untruth about the shoulder injury or kept the truth from us about actually having the injury. One way or the other, Pacquiao did not tell the truth. That does not sound very Christian to me.
Now the lawsuits have come and it gets complicated. I do not pretend to be as Christian as Pacquiao. My advice to him would have been that if he really was injured to keep that to himself. At least, if he really is injured and told no one before or after the fight we would not be going through the litany of litigious mockery we are now heading into. It might still be keeping the truth from people about the injury, but it would have been for the general public’s good. Pacquiao’s camp must have not thought this out very well. In fact, they are simply stupid. Their guy loses decisively while making millions of dollars. That much is fact. So, they decide to say their fighter was injured. Did they not think many people would get upset and feel rightfully wronged that so much was paid for a fight where one boxer had the disadvantage by being injured? In other words and to borrow a cliché, it wasn’t a fair fight. They sold people a bad bill of sale and made a lot of money from the transaction. It is no surprise that class-action lawsuits have sprung up from people suing to get their money back from viewing the match. They deserve to get their money back as well, if Pacquiao truly did hurt his shoulder.
But the aftermath of the match has proven to be, pardon the pun, another black eye for boxing. People can get upset with the quality of the fight, although they should not. People who actually watch boxing know that the quality was not so bad as it was just clear that Mayweather was much better at his craft than was Pacquiao. I watch boxing. I can attest to it not being a fair match. Floyd is a much better fighter than Manny could ever be. Still, the fight was not bad. There was action, and Floyd fought as Floyd fights and wins. And Manny did not look like he was injured. He just looked like the lesser boxer. If Pacquiao’s camp had decided to not talk about an injury, all anyone would have been left with after Saturday is just that the fight was not a great one because it only contained one great boxer. Instead, the biggest moment in boxing’s recent history is once again doomed by the business of boxing. Sadly, what is killing the sport of boxing is the people involved with it. That is the simple truth, just don’t expect Manny Pacquiao to be able to tell the difference.