A wise man once said "Haters want to hate. Lovers want to love. I don't want...none of the above, I want to—"...well, in boxing the haters and the lovers can be seen in their full partisan glory all over the wonderful world wide web.
No dispute in the sport has inspired more vitriol, in terms of sheer numbers, than the beef between the factions of Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao. This is the kind of topic that makes open comment boards seem like a bad idea.
On any number of venues, from YouTube videos to boxing columns, the conversation in the comments section typically denigrates into bitter, personalized animosity, with racial expletives and hollow threats of violence in abundance.
Maybe it's just that boxing fans are inherently sociopaths.
Relax...just kidding...kind of.
Perhaps it's the violent nature of the sport that lends itself to these impassioned defenses of our beloved pugilists—"You said what about my guy?! Well, triple F you, you blank, blank, blank, blank, blank!!!"
And from the friendly confines of a desktop, that's a much safer proposition.
Certainly, there is a great of deal of enlightened, very civil discourse on the sweet science taking place all over the world, even on-line no doubt at this very moment. But I want to focus on these epic comment section showdowns, where macho posturing, racial taunts, and vicious threats are a daily occurrence.
Dudes....relaaaaaax. It's not worth getting so fired up about. I've seen these things go from "Floyd Mayweather rules" to "F*** you, you dumb N-word" in nanoseconds.
Who are these guys, waiting to pounce at the mere mention of a name with a retort so dastardly it would make David Duke toast Saddam Hussein in hell? David Duke's still alive? Oh well, F-him too.
And this type of thing extends way beyond the realm of any one topic...basically anything with enough readers is gonna bring out the wackos. Mayweather-Pacquiao just takes it to the extreme.
Videos, articles, and anything remotely related to the topic brings out legions of fanatics from both sides, willing to debase and ridicule their on-line foes using whatever abusive language is needed.
I've always said, if you're bothered by the comments, don't read them. Others disagree, and find posted comments that go into that kind of dark, irrationally hateful territory very offensive and off-putting—even arguing that a website has a responsibility not to display comments in the vein.
In the end, it's just stupid children acting like stupid children. If you don't want to watch, don't watch. There's plenty of other things to do with your time.
Occasionally I'll stumble across something and get a chuckle.
I caught one on-line feud where, in the midst of back and forth racial and personal insults, one commenter sent the other a video of Pacquiao to enforce his point—but it was in the wrong media format, so they began arguing about that, unleashing streams of F-Bombs in between phrases like "zip file" and "Adobe reader."
If only the two sides of the fight that never happens were as passionate and angry about making the fight as the Internet creeps engaging in daily bloodbaths on behalf of their heroes.
And better yet, if only we could put the on-line jousters into an actual ring to air out their grievances. I have a feeling the tone would be a wee bit more conciliatory. Might actually have an interesting debate.