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Pacquiao vs. Mayweather: Why Media Hype Will Lead to Disappointment

LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 12:  Boxer Manny Pacquiao prays in the corner of the ring after his WBO world welterweight title fight against Juan Manuel Marquez at the MGM Grand Garden Arena November 12, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Pacquiao retained his title with a majority decision victory.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Avi Wolfman-ArentCorrespondent IINovember 16, 2011

If Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao finally fight, the media will sell the showdown like it's a gift from boxing heaven.

It'll be the "Fight of the Decade" or "The Fight that Saves Boxing" or "A Battle of East Meets West."

Don't buy it.

Don't buy the marketing hoopla packaged as canned optimism. Don't buy the notion that this fight will be great. It won't be.

No amount of subplot and storylines can compensate for the fact that both fighters are past their physical prime. No level of symbolism can turn back the clock to a time when these two truly dominated the sport.

Pacquiao's had 59 professional fights and Mayweather's had 42. Pacquiao's 32-years-old and Mayweather's 34.

Those numbers matter, and they tell me this fight won't, can't deliver on what the media will surely promise.

Of course the fight promoters will distract from the quality of the fighting with talk about the pair's personality split.

They'll mention Money's finely-tuned bad-boy image and Pacman's quiet fury. They'll surely invoke Mayweather's racist, homophobic rant directed at Pacquiao in 2010. And of course they'll mention how difficult this fight was to consummate, how each side gestured and balked and ran interference.

So what?

So what if a fight was hard to arrange? That doesn't make for great boxing. Great boxing comes from two combatants, in peak condition and at the top of their sport, giving every ounce of themselves to the competition.

After watching Pacquiao struggle against Juan Manuel Marquez on Saturday, we can't honestly say Pacman still has every ounce of himself left to give. At 34, I'm not so sure Mayweather can make the claim either.

The result should be a tepid affair with media-imposed implications in grave disproportion to the actual skill of the boxers. Mayweather will play defense, Pacquiao will probe for an opening. Someone will win, someone will lose.

I'm just not so sure it matters.

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