Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley is not the matchup fans wanted to see, yet there seems to be some backlash against the fight that doesn't make a lot of sense.
Yes, the allure of a Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather dream fight makes anything else they do seem pointless. But to completely dismiss a fight simply on the basis of "It's not what we wanted to see" is foolish.
In fact, there is a lot to like with Saturday night's Pacquiao-Bradley matchup. Boxing has been in a very precarious position for years, with only a select few fighters being able to generate enough mainstream interest in the sport for it to register on anyone's radar.
Right now, only Pacquiao and Mayweather are in that marquee spot, where the rest of the world stops to see what they did, how they did it and what it means for the future.
Because Pacquiao is such a strong presence, it makes sense that someone like Bradley to be put in a fight with him. Bradley is an up-and-coming star in the boxing world, with a 28-0 record under his belt.
For fans who are underwhelmed by Bradley seemingly being given a spot against Pacquiao, that is missing the point of what Top Rank Promotions is trying to do. Yes, there were bigger names who could have gone up against Pacquiao, but why not focus on trying to build something for the future?
That is what this fight between Pacquiao and Bradley is all about: Present vs. Future. No one is going to deny Pacquiao is the Top Rank's golden child right now. He could probably generate more money in one fight than the rest of the promotion's fighters put together.
Bradley represents something far more important than just a placeholder for Pacquiao. He could be a future star in the sport of boxing, and having him go up against one of the biggest sports stars in the world would give him the exposure he desperately needs.
I don't think that Bradley is going to defeat Pacquiao—not that I am alone in that regard—but if he puts forth a valiant effort, even in defeat, boxing will have a new superstar to build around.
Another reason to tune in to this fight is because we don't know how much longer Pacquiao is going to fight, and do so at a high level. There are not enough adjectives to describe how great he has been, especially during his current five-year undefeated streak. But eventually time takes its toll on your body and skills erode.
Even more than a great fight, fans love to see a great individual performance. Did people watch the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s to see the team win a championship? No. They watched because Michael Jordan was the best player on the planet.
Pacquiao is the Jordan of boxing—dominating the sport like very few have in history. Fans need to enjoy the greatness while it lasts, because one day Pacquiao is going to wake up without the same speed and power that he has right now.
Even if you don't think you want to watch Pacquiao vs. Bradley, you need to make a point to get in front of a television on Saturday night to see what these two have in store for the fans.