For as long as I can remember, I’ve been watching boxing with my Uncle Chuck. The sport has so much rich history with some of the best characters, moments, and athletes in sports. My memories of being a young fan were the Barrera-Morales fights, the epic Trinidad-De La Hoya fight. I remember watching When We Were Kings as a kid and thinking Muhammad Ali was the most badass dude on the planet. I’ve watched as many fights on YouTube as possible: Hagler-Hearns, Sugar Ray-Duran, Ali, Ward-Gatti, Julio Cesar Chavez-Taylor, Tyson-Douglas, you name it. With fights awesomely titled The Rumble in the Jungle, The Thrilla in Manilla, or The War, I have nothing but undying love for this sport.
As the years went on, boxing started to wane. Nobody watching, very few stars, and the introduction of UFC all played their part. But as everybody turned away from boxing, there was my Uncle Chuck and I buying every pay-per-view and watching the fights. For the past few years, boxing has had some sort of revival. HBO’s 24/7 is the most perfectly produced thing on television, two new superstars have taken over in Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, and people started buying and paying attention to boxing.
Name a big fight in the last 5 years, odds are that I spent my Saturday night watching it. I was at my brother’s apartment in Madison for the Mayweather-Hatton fight, I was in Nottingham, UK with my cousin Giv for Pacquiao-Hatton, my brother’s house for Mayweather-Mosley, my house for Pacquiao-Marquez III, and our friend Marcus’ house for Mayweather-Cotto. The venue changes, but I’m always watching in some way. On rare occasions, I’ll miss a fight live (Mayweather-Ortiz), but I will avoid everything until I can watch the fight. You’ve never heard a hungover guy yell “F*** that!” louder then at 10 AM when I watched Mayweather clock Ortiz.
All this history and love came crumbling down around midnight on Saturday, June 9th. As you would expect, my Uncle Chuck, my brother, and I were together to watch the fight. 24/7 again did an exceptional job in selling the fight and we were admittedly more excited for this one than most in the recent memory. During the introductions, my Uncle said “Alright, who you got? Call it now.” My response was “I’m going to go Bradley. I don’t know why, but I’ve got a weird feeling.” Obviously, I was in the minority. I didn’t honestly think Bradley was better, I just had a feeling.
As the fight went on, I surrendered and admitted defeat quite early. I believe it was in the 4th or 5th round when I kept saying “Manny looks goooood” and “I haven’t seen Manny look this sharp in a while.” And honestly, I haven’t. Not since his destruction of Hatton has Manny been that on point. Towards the end of the fight, everyone in the house was in agreement that it was a landslide victory. Manny was quicker, the aggressor, landed almost a 100 more punches, and barely got touched. Waiting for the decision, my eyes were getting heavy. I was so sure Manny won at least 118-110 that I was starting to fall asleep. Then, it happened. First judge: 115-113 Pacquiao. The collective reaction in the house is “Whoa. That’s way closer than it should be.” Then...115-113...Bradley. The house responds with “WHAT?” And then, of course, 115-113...to the new WBO Welterweight champion of the worlddd. Now, if you don’t know me or my family, let’s just say...we kind of like to cuss. And that’s what happened. Pure shock and outrage to the decision that just played out. We were so sure that Manny won, it wasn’t even close. And it’s not like we were a couple of guys that have never watched boxing before, hell, my Uncle was once a boxer and a trainer.
So, what was the natural reaction in this social media culture of ours? Check Twitter and see everybody else’s reaction. We already knew Lampley, Kellerman, and Lederman strongly disagreed, but it was to fun to see the disgust pour in on my feed. Everybody, and I mean everybody, was shocked and appalled by the decision. Tell me one person you know that thought Bradley won that fight and I will call them a liar and a very ignorant boxing fan.
The main reason I wrote this article, though, is to say goodbye to boxing. For now, at least. I am encouraging everyone not to buy the rematch on November 10th. It’s what Bob Arum wants, it’s what the bookies want, it’s what whoever-rigged-this-fight wants. Just, don’t. It’s a corrupt sport, it has been laughable for a long time (Don King). Why pay another $65 when they so blatantly spit in your face? Now, just to be clear, I’m aware that they wouldn’t fix a fight for Manny to lose when he’s the superstar. Unless, I don’t know, there was no else for him to fight and the soonest a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight could happen is next May. Oh, and if both fighters are promoted by the same company (Top Rank), which means all proceeds from a rematch go to one (the same) promotional company. I don’t know what happened, who made it happen, or sadly why it happened. But something was very, very foul about this fight. Don’t believe what Bob Arum is saying, it is exactly what he would do either way. Whatever happened on Saturday was a tragedy, it literally proved to everyone in the country why boxing is a joke. The WWE looked more credible that night. So, I ask you again, don’t buy the PPV in November. Boxing hasn’t made the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight happen yet, they clearly don’t care about the fans. Time to let the sport die until someone or something steps in to fix this mess.
Goodbye, boxing, I love you. Hopefully I’ll see you again some day.