Why you should care
It’s the only boxing match you’ll ever need to watch. You’re welcome.
“The Fight that Never Happened” is now happening. And if you watch only one boxing match in your whole life, it should be this Saturday, when the undefeated and usually rambunctious Floyd Mayweather takes on the electrifying Filipino Manny Pacquiao. Uncharacteristically, Mayweather has held his tongue in the last few days, even dismissing watching any tape of one of the best fighters of all-time. Yeah, right.
His subdued run-up to the match could be a ruse. And it wouldn’t be his first. Back when knockouts — or match-ending blows — were the sport’s main attraction, Mayweather, whose major flaw was a lack of Tyson-esque knockout power, hatched a plan: He’d play an obnoxious, villainous character whose explosive personality could make up for his weakness. Not gifted with the power many fighters are born with, Mayweather figured people would pay to see him lose — arguably the greatest marketing ploy in the history of boxing. In a sport where the object is to beat your opponent senseless, Mayweather skirts his weaknesses by outthinking his opponents and relying on an impenetrable defense to win over the judges. He told OZY he’s never given more than 40 percent, but now we’ll see if his defense, and legacy, can stand up to the lighting fast strikes of the Phillipines’ finest. Read more here.
Around this time last year, Chris Algieri was sleeping in the basement apartment of his parents’ house — along with his brother, sister-in-law and nephews. He was just beginning to make it, after six years climbing the boxing ranks, by defeating little known Wilfredo Acuna down the highway in Huntington, New York. He was considering ending his semi-respectable career, retiring from the sport and heading to medical school. Last November, he faced down one of the top two fighters today and face down he went. Six time to be exact. It was a thrashing, sure, but Algieri could potentially throw a wrench in Floyd Mayweather’s fight post-Pacquiao (is there such a thing?!), by facing Amir Khan, who was been itching to get at either Pacquiao or Mayweather before they decided to square off against each other. Read more here.
Jerome Le Banner, a French kickboxer, who tips the scales at 265, and at about 6′3″ is aptly described as a mountain of a man, made his debut in ’95 in the K-1 fight promotion. Squaring off against him is one Mike Bernardo, a South African hard-ass. Oh, and at 6′4″ and 240 also a veritable hunk of man. Called forward to hear the ref’s instructions immediately pre-match, Bernardo and Le Banner face each other doing the stare down of death, the 15-second, prefight scramble for advantage right before the punches are thrown. Then the unlikeliest of things happens, outside of two men about to beat the crap out of each other and being excited about beating the crap out of each other. Jerome Le Banner kisses Mike Bernardo. On the lips. Read more here.