Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. Fans: Where's the Balance?

Vitali SCorrespondent IApril 4, 2011

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 14:  Manny Pacquiao looks on at a press conference to promote his upcoming fight with Shane Mosley at The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers on February 14, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

By writing this article, I am risking being verbally torn apart by fans of Manny Pacquaio and Floyd Mayweather Jr., nevertheless I feel that it must be written.

Before going any further, let me make something clear: I am not a full-fledged fan of either. I like and respect both fighters for their achievements and form my opinion based on what I have seen, heard and read.

When trying to find in-depth information and criticism on any given fighter, fan-based forums are the place to go. Boxing fans, despite being limited to what they can extract from the media, are in my belief generally more knowledgeable and involved than the media itself. We may get the news first, and sometimes get the chance at first-hand interviews, but it’s the fans that absorb everything they can get their hands on, from every possible source. In case of Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr., things get a bit more complicated.

Over the past decade, both fighters acquired a colossal number of fans by providing people with entertainment and results. The downside to this is many boxing fans swiftly transitioned into one-sided fanatics. It is not at all my intention to insult anyone, but instead, bring to attention a very unusual and interesting phenomenon.

I have written numerous articles on Pacquiao and Mayweather Jr., as well as have read dozens of pieces written by great columnists and fans. There has been a tremendous amount of coverage on the topic of Pacquiao vs. Mayweather Jr., covering everything from the PED’s to Manny’s upcoming lawsuit. The public craves their fight like no other I have ever heard about before. What I have also noticed, is the aggressive dedication and loyalty of the fans, but the ferociousness of the average Pacquiao fanatic is far more significant.

Floyd’s fans have been on Manny’s case for various reasons: PED’s, avoiding Juan Manuel Marquez for another fight and handpicking slower, and in some cases, older opposition. Freddie Roach has also gotten some of the blame from the Mayweather fanbase for making Manny fight insignificant and easy fights.

Pacquiao fans are also constantly drawing their guns at the Mayweather camp, claiming that Floyd is scared of Manny, is doing everything to avoid the fight and that Roger is a joke of a trainer.

What I am about to say, came from my reading a large quantity of articles, and going through the comments trying to find a balance, or imbalance in the fans bashing one or the other. What I have discovered, and you could easily do the same with a little time investment, is that Floyd Mayweather fans are far more flexible than the Pacquiao fans. They show respect to Pacquiao and avoid going to the extremes. Seldom do they not give Pacquiao a chance to win, even when promising a Mayweather Jr. victory.

When discussing the proposed mega fight, the Mayweather Jr. fans tend to try and take the fight apart, carefully explaining their position. Sure some go overboard and make bold and offensive statements, but they don’t comprise the majority. What I saw, was that most of the Mayweather fans were loyal yet realistic, creating nothing more but a stylistic buffer for Mayweather Jr.

Pacquiao fans on the other hand, tend to start their comments by insulting Floyd, instantly claiming that he is running scared and that Pacquiao would destroy him inside the ring no matter what. Mayweather Jr. gets no break or much respect from the majority of the Pacquiao fans. Some do tend to go into educated details and clarify why they think Pacquiao would destroy Mayweather Jr. in the ring, still most prefer to go with bold unrelenting absolutes.

Why do so many fans easily dismiss a world class champion? Is Mayweather Jr. absent from the pound-for-pound list? Is he not an unbeaten champion with an impressive resume? Did he not dominate most of his opponents? Did he not display legendary reflexes in the ring?

Pacquiao is definitely not a force to be reckoned with. He goes through his own resistance like a meat grinder. Having said that, this fact can play against a fighter down the road; wear and tear is a very real thing, not a just a textbook concept. After so many fights, an average boxer’s body tends to show the physical fatigue and a decline expeditiously occurs.   

In some cases, it sounds like nothing short of a racial war. Racist slogans fly back and fourth, as the armies of fans duke it out for their fighter. Undeniably, the size of Pacquiao fanbase overshadows the much lesser one of Mayweather Jr.’s, thus it becomes an awfully imbalanced verbal conflict.

All the blame for not letting their fight come to fruition is being unloaded on the Mayweather camp. Even this one-year-old poll shows just how severe the separation is.

My opinion on this topic is this: the main reason for the extreme imbalance to the information being pushed in the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao predicament is the massive outweighing of Pacquiao fans to Mayweather fans. In other words, I think that any tiny media speculation grows exponentially into a fully functional “fact” via the excessive distribution and influence of the fans.  

Both fighters deserve it all. Pacquiao was able to overcome all odds and displayed a tremendous, unparallel determination. Going up in weight and cleaning out division by division is something that most of us never expected him to do.

Mayweather Jr. is unbeaten for a reason. He fought good opposition and consistently displayed his speed and accuracy. I have never seen him out of shape and out of ideas. He is a very smart fighter with a ton of natural ability.

All the drama is a great way to build up a fight. It makes the news, takes up space on the front pages of magazines and newspapers and virally spreads on the internet. Nevertheless, I urge people to avoid tuning into speculations too much, as most of them are likely artificially elevated.

No, I don’t think Mayweather Jr. is scared of Pacquiao. And no, I don’t believe Pacquiao ever took any illegal substances. As a matter of fact, I don’t believe most of what I hear about these two these days. Time together with fanaticism, have created a storyline, a fairly tale that makes the whole conflict much more exciting and marketable. One thing about fairy tales: they are meant to entertain but tend to bend the truth.

As to whom I would pick to win the fight? I am leaning towards Mayweather Jr. His ring smarts, along with the ability to adjust, should give him the edge. Is there a chance that Pacquiao could win? Undeniably yes! In some boxing fights, predicting or picking a winner is straight forward, in others, it gets difficult. How anyone can guarantee a victory for either Mayweather Jr. or Pacquiao is a mystery to me. They are both world class professionals with unparalleled abilities; therefore taking either out of the winning equation is illogical.