Mayweather-Pacquiao 2015 was never going to be a “super fight”—and we all (media included) knew it


Every Monday morning, Section 215’s Akiem Bailum gives an in-depth and unfiltered look at all of the latest sports news in The Monday Morning Realist. You can follow Akiem on Twitter @AkiemBailum.

May 2, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Floyd Mayweather (black/gold trunks) and Manny Pacquiao (yellow/red trunks) box during their world welterweight championship bout at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mayweather won via unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

This weekend, after the sports media put so much hype into a boxing match, Realists, it virtually took us back into the 1940s or 1950s, both the sport and the sports media suffered a debilitating TKO.

Much was made this previous weekend regarding the more-than-ballyhooed matchup in the ring between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. In fact, much has been made for the past five to six years about what would happen if, arguably, the two best boxers in the ring were to go face-to-face and toe-to-toe.

It finally happened this past weekend at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Like Vegas would care about the overall status of the sport of boxing this weekend. Vegas made pure bank off the fight. Do not even get started on Pay Per View with Pacquiao-Mayweather going for $100 a pop and sports bars charging more than usual just for average joe’s to get in and see the fight.

But, did we all of a sudden forget how we got here in the first place?

Boxing fans and the sports media at large have been tubthumbing for a Mayweather-Pacquiao matchup for the past five years, specifically since both wanted to put their respective legacies in stone as one of the greatest boxers in history. Defeating the man perceived to be the top guy is certainly a feather in a boxer’s cap (or should I say glove, Realists?).

As Ric Flair would say, to be the man, you’ve got to beat the man.

Except, a Mayweather-Pacquiao bout in 2015 would be akin to a WWE booking of Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels circa 2005. Both old, past their prime, and stealing shine away from the young and up-and-coming.

The fight was not half bad, per the reactions on social media. But it was nowhere near the “SuperFight” it was built up to be. The problem is that Pacquiao-Mayweather in 2015 was never going to be a Super-Fight. That would have been the case in 2009 or 2010 when both (especially Pacquiao) were at the top of their game and Mr. Pacquiao was not already thinking about his prospective future as a politician in the Philippines.

The media had to know this, but thanks to the Mayweather machine, ESPN, and the power of Vegas, they were able to snooker people into believing it would be a Super Fight when it never was going to be.

The fighters, the media, and the boxing promoters essentially were doing all they can to make up for the fact that they did not get the real Super Fight which would have been if Mayweather and Pacquiao were to have faced off circa 2009 or 2010. Indications, including the fight setting a new Pay Per View record, and front row tickets to May-Pac going for $10,000 (Super Bowl-type prices, by the way) seem to hint that it worked.

Mayweather received $180 million for this fight and Pacquiao got another $120 million to put in his already fat bank account.

This is a case of brand vs. brand. In business (and there seems to be no scuzzier of a business nowadays than that of boxing), your brand can mean more than your product. Because of the fact that we have allowed big business to turn us into a consumer culture, for example, we will pay an arm and a leg for a pair of Michael Jordans because of the Jordan brand, not because they are good shoes.

The media in 2009 would have been capitalizing off Pacquiao and Mayweather, the fighters. In 2015, the media, the promoters, and the Vegas sports books all capitalized off Pacquiao and Mayweather the brands.

In the end, this turned out to be another week in which boxing proved why that in 2015 it plays second-fiddle to the MMA. A fight that was never going to be the “Fight to end all Fights” marketed as such, details regarding Pacquiao fighting with a bum shoulder, Mayweather relinquishing his belts, and both fighters as people.

Pacquiao has been revealed to be anti-gay marriage. Mayweather is a serial domestic abuser. There’s a reason why Mayweather’s business outlet is called “The Money Team.” Because he really believes that you should be immune to everything as long as you have a little dough in your pockets.

And he has a lot of it. When Floyd Mayweather, Sr. was asked questions regarding his son’s domestic violence transgressions, he inexplicably tried to deflect the conversation back to the fight—you know, what the Mayweathers make money off of.

Not to mention, four reporters that have talked critically about Mayweather’s previous domestic violence transgressions (including Turner Sports’ Rachel Nichols and ESPN’s Michelle Beadle) were banned from the fight by TMT.

Kelly Swanson tried to trackback and say that they were not banned, but given that she is a PR person representing someone who needs all of the PR people “money” can buy, she was immediately called out on it.

Swanson—a female public relations person that represents a serial woman beater. That is an entire column in itself.

Apparently, HBO was able to recover Beadle’s credential but she was so flabbergasted by what was going on that she decided to go back to Los Angeles to watch Game 7 of San Antonio Spurs-Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center.

Good move if you’re Beadle—except that she’s a diehard Spurs fan and they were bounced in the first round as LA won.

Nichols was also re-credentialed but also decided not to attend.

Not to mention, are we entering a climate where the media was so desperate to hype up a SuperFight that never was that it was willing to brush aside Mayweather’s history of abuse against women?
Last year was the year where the mask of domestic violence in sports was ripped off after the cases of Ray Rice, Greg Hardy, Adrian Peterson, Ray MacDonald, and others. The press went wall-to-wall on those cases, but not much in the mainstream media was talked about his past.

Social media, the internet, and the blogosphere had to fill that void, once again solidifying their places as legitimate media in a digital age.

Realists, overall, something tells me that this fight will be used as a case study in future academic courses regarding the status of the media in 2015. Just as ESPN’s marketing people had more of a hand in “The Decision” than the journalists, their marketing people had to have more of a hand in their wall-to-wall coverage of Mayweather-Pacquiao 2015 than their journalists.

The only silver lining is that since the fight is over, and both of their careers appear to be ending soon, let us hope that we do not get scammed by boxing promoters and the Vegas sportsbooks on this scale ever again.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

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