Despite the excitement that followed last month’s crowd-pleasing fight between Floyd Mayweather and Sugar Shane Mosley which the former won clearly on points, it wasn’t the contest the fans were longing to see, which was originally supposed by be Floyd Mayweather against Manny Pacquiao, billed as The Fight of the Century.
- That fell apart a few months ago after Mayweather’s camp insisted that Pacquiao took a drugs test after Mayweather’s father stated, “I think Pacquiao’s on steroids – that’s the only thank that could explain how he carried his punch through all those weight divisions.” Pacquiao won his first world title at flyweight and added title belts at five other weights through to welterweight, but Mayweather Snr’s insinuations are a bit unfounded when you take into consideration other great fights in the past who developed their punching power through the weights with great success. Take for instance the French Georges Carpentier, who fought at every weight from flyweight to heavyweight. He showed he had carried his punching power along with him when he went to American and took the world light-heavyweight crown from battling Levinsky on 12th October 1920. He battered the American to the canvas in the fourth round in Jersey City. Previous to this he had humiliated the two top British heavyweights Bombardier Billy Wells and then Joe Beckett by knocking them both out.
However the brave French idol took one step too many when he took on the legendary world heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey for his title on July 2nd 1921. Over 80,000 people paid nearly two million dollars to watch the fight in Jersey City. It was the first time the million dollar barrier had been broken and for a brief moment in the 2nd round of the fight it looked as if the championship might change hands when Carpentier caught the Manassa Mauler with a hard overhead right on his cheek which shook the champion. Unfortunately the punch broke Carpentier’s thumb in two places and badly sprained his wrist. Losing his most effective, he couldn’t stand up to Dempsey’s pressure and was stopped in the 4th round.
In more recent times Roy Jones Jnr didn’t do too bad either winning world titles from the middleweight division to heavyweight. The first time since Bob Fitzsimmons took over 100 years before.
A context between Mayweather and Pacquiao would possible gross over $200 million which would make it the biggest fight of all time and there’s now talk of the fight taking place in November. It would be a travesty for boxing if it didn’t happen but as money usually talks in the fight game I’m certain it will. If not we will be arguing for ever about who would have won.
In the meantime Manny Pacquiao has a lot on his mind, for the fighting Filipino who is idolized in his country was elected as a Congressman in the House of Representatives in the Filipino government in May of this year in a landslide victory and many believe he will won day be president of the country.
Pacquiao’s personality was forged in the destitute backwater where he grew up. His father made a living for the family of six raising corn and bananas. In the Philipines that’s a sure recipe for being poor as dirt and as a young many he slept in cardboard boxes and sold donuts for a penny to eke out a living. Now the extraordinary level of his popularity in the Philipines outstrips that of any boxer from any other country. His standing there is so high that is’s written into Philippine law that the army will go to his aid if his family is in danger.
Manny Pacquiao is now at the tail end of his boxing career but what a way to bow out of the game. If he could beat theunbeaten Mayweather, the boxer who has stated that he is better than Sugar Ray Robinson and Muhammad Ali. Now that would be some departure from the boxing game.
This article appears in the print edition 619 of Island Connections