Shots from the Peanut Gallery…

This Saturday night for the first time since Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis faced off in Memphis in 2002 boxing will have top billing in the sports world.   And it will be happening on one of the biggest sports weekends of the year.  You have the Kentucky Derby, NFL Draft, and crucial games in both the NBA and NHL playoffs all happening this weekend.  And it will be boxing that will be the biggest story.  That’s because the fight people have been clamoring for the past 5 years is finally happening.  Future Hall of Famers Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao will fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas this Saturday.

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The biggest issue from detractors is well is this fight 5 years too late.  Some blame Manny for not agreeing to Floyd’s demands for the style of drug testing for the fight not happening sooner.  Some blame Floyd and think he was so scared to lose to Manny and spent the last five years making up reasons to not fight him.   I have said it before and will say it again both fighters were pawns and scapegoats to why the fight didn’t happen before it will now happen Saturday night.    Both fighters had bosses in Oscar De La Hoya (Floyd) and Bob Arum (Manny) who for years despised each other and wanted to ultimately control everything.  They wanted things on their own terms in spite of the other.  So in the end we saw five years pass with no fight, countless accusations, and the only people who lost were the fans.

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But the question does remain is this fight happening five years too late?  Should this fight have happened in 2009 when it was first discussed as a possibility?  I say a resounding no.  Actually to quote the late Whitney Houston, “Hell to the No.”    Sure Floyd and Manny were 5 years younger and closer to their prime.  I can’t dispute that.  But the reality is this fight is happening at the perfect time.  This fight is expected to generate over 70 million dollars at the gate on fight night.  Compare that to this year’s Super Bowl which is currently the King of Sports that took in about 60 million dollars at the gate.  Tickets for the fight (the very little made public) were gone in less than 60 seconds.   People who will be in Vegas that weekend and can’t get tickets are spending between 150 and 200 dollars to watch this fight on closed circuit.  They are spending that money to sit on some hard uncomfortable metal chair in a room with a bunch of random people all looking at a big tv in some hotel on the Vegas strip.  Speaking of hotels, the average room on the strip on fight night is going for an average of 1000 dollars.   Oh and of course there will be the millions of people not in Vegas that weekend who will be spending 100 bucks to watch the fight on HD from their homes.

I don’t know a lot, but I know one thing is for sure.  Five years ago there is no way this fight could have generated these kind of numbers.   Social media had nowhere close to the impact it has now five years ago.  Twitter now is how this fight was announced by Floyd.   People actually sort of still liked Floyd five years ago.  Since then Floyd has embraced the role of villain and ran with it.  To the point is he will never take the black hat off again.  Personally I think he’s gone over the top with the persona.  Matter of fact most of the millions of people watching this fight Saturday are watching this fight to see him lose.  Actually that’s being nice they are watching this fight with the hopes of seeing Floyd getting knocked the hell out.  Five years ago the casual sports fan couldn’t even pronounce Manny’s last name.  Now Manny is more marketable as he has improved on his English to where you can see him on Jimmy Fallon regularly to also seeing him in Nike commercials.  Oh and let’s not forget Floyd and Manny didn’t need to fight each other 5 years ago.  They had other options that could generate them big money and they both took those fights and consistently saw over a million pay per view buys for each fight. Neither fighter had a need to take the giant risk and fight the other.    Now both have seen declining numbers in their Pay Per View buys to the point where neither fighter in their last two fights has reached a million buys.  So from a financial standpoint they need each other now more than they ever have.   The bottom line is this fight couldn’t have happened at a better time not just for the sport of boxing and the fighters, but for the sports world overall.

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It’s all about the timing for this fight and the timing for this fight couldn’t be more perfect.