If it's true that boxing and mixed martial arts are mutually exclusive, then Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. are doing the sweet science a grave disservice.
For the record, I see no reason why that conditional would be true—there's certainly enough time in the day for both, and logic argues for the pair to complement each other rather than detract.
As for those who prefer MMA to boxing and using myself as one example, the disillusionment with boxing has little to do with the existence of the Ultimate Fighting Championship and its competitors.
It's more about the existence of Don King, Bob Arum, and their lesser spawn.
Nevertheless, there seems to be a growing culture war between the two, perhaps born of their inherent pugilistic tendencies.
The aforementioned Arum lists amongst his many accolades this blinder in which he describes the UFC fan base as "skinhead white guys watching people in the ring who...also look like skinhead white guys."
Nor is he too impressed with the fighters or, as Bob puts it, the "guys rolling around like homosexuals on the ground" (keep watching for the rebuttal by Bas Rutten, pretty classic stuff there).
UFC President Dana White cannot play the innocent either, although his shots have been lobbed more directly at Arum as opposed to the overall sport or supporters.
Regardless, the schism seems to be very real and that means the Pacquiao/Mayweather superfight represents an ENORMOUS opportunity for the sweet science to reclaim some of its lost territory.
The currently "dead" bout would've seen the greatest thing going in the heavier gloves square off against the hombre some argue he replaced.
In other words, pick your superlative and use it to describe anything about the fight.
Profitability, public anticipation, capacity for promotion, whatever.
The UFC is gaining ground at an almost exponential rate and nothing would throw a hitch in its' giddy-up like a fantastic, high profile boxing match.
One that would hold the fight world's attention through multiple UFC cards (including the big boy, UFC 110 in Sydney, Australia).
Furthermore, if it turned out to be a classic once the gladiators got inside the ropes, the buzz would last for months.
Yet it looks to be stiff and getting stiffer in the morgue. Even worse, the dreaded "S" word has reared its ugly head, or are we calling it the dreaded acronym these days?
As in "PED?"
Whichever it is, the subject's been broached in boxing and there's no going back now (although the UFC shouldn't get too cocky—anyone who saw that dude, allegedly Frank Mir, demolish Cheick Kongo knows its day is coming soon enough).
Manny Pacquiao can make all the legal rumblings he wants, but he's a public figure so any claim for defamation against Floyd Mayweather Sr. is a non-starter.
Unless the elder Mayweather has some proof or sincerely convincing evidence that Pacquiao did NOT take performance-enhancing drugs and that probably doesn't exist.
It's an uncomfortable truth athletes and fans will have to accept, but the mere fact that the Filipino fighter has torn through a professional sport in the Steroid Era removes speculation over his possible usage from the "malicious" category needed to secure the charge for remarks made against a public persona.
I've referenced the story before, but Tim Montgomery and Marion Jones have both admitted to doping despite never failing an Olympic drug test—the most stringent applied as far as I know.
This means, until testing protocols are developed that can actually catch the guilty parties with credible reliability, suspicion and/or public debate over the topic will very rarely be legally actionable (so long as the individual is a public figure).
For those who don't trust a random blogger, law students call it "New York Times malice."
All this means is the whispers will continue as long as Manny Pacquiao refuses to surrender to the testing. Perhaps longer.
Is it fair?
Of course not—boxing rules don't require Olympic-style testing for any other fights so why should this one be any different?
Was it wise of Floyd Mayweather's camp to use the ploy?
Of course not.
Now the most visible and beloved face boxing has must face questions and unwarranted accusations about his training regimen and chemical intake.
Now, Pac-Man's claim to be superstitious of needles despite being plastered with tattoos looks awful, despite the difference in needle used.
Now, his willingness to submit to MLB/NFL/NBA-style testing seems fatuous given the known users who populate those ranks.
Now, his insistence on some semblance of a testing schedule sends up red flags and, even worse, it gives Bob Arum another chance to open his mouth.
According to this 78-year-old man, the United States Anti-Doping Agency's refusal to acquiesce to a schedule or testing limitation is "ludicrous."
Uh, no Bob, it's honoring the definition of "blind" and "random" tests, i.e. it's quite the opposite of "ludicrous."
Imagine, living that long without acquiring an ounce of integrity.
All of this is bad for Manny Pacquiao, but it's also bad for boxing.
And that's good for mixed martial arts.
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