Floyd Mayweather Vs Manny Pacquiao, At Long Last

The myopic bubble in which boxing fans sometimes live is the hard-earned kind. On Friday, one of the biggest and most important fights in boxing history was announced — Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao, May 2 —  and the reaction from the hardcores was, almost unanimously, “Finally.” For those of us who have been listening for five-plus years to all the back-and-forth, day-in, day-out, for all the questions we get from our less religious friends about whether the fight would happen and why it hasn’t yet, this moment is bittersweet.

But it is time for some of us to tread cautiously forward into excitement, not that the feelings of exasperation and bitterness and frustration are misplaced. This is the moment almost everyone wanted, even if it is a moment that came later than we wanted. We’ll never get back what Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao could have become in, and for, boxing. But what it is now remains a fight that will transcend our niche sport — not quite a Super Bowl, like it might have been back in 2010, but something just below it. It’s a fight that, even now, years after their primes as both pugilists and attractions, pits the two best fighters in the world against each other, and the two best welterweights. It’s a fight that pits each man against the best opponent of their whole lives. It’s a fight that puts the two best, and two most well-known, fighters of their generation against each other.

No one has to let go of their resentments; they were, as said in the opening sentence, hard-earned. That this fight hasn’t happened by now will be a nagging asterisk from today until even after the fight ends. Much of what I said about the bout, and how it might go, is here. It’s still true, mostly.

But it might have underestimated how big, and how good, this fight can be for boxing even for a thing that should’ve already come and gone. We, the long-suffering diehards, will still feel aggrieved, and we will know what will probably only get glossed over by the mainstream media’s coverage, which is that this fight taking this long to happen is something of a dark mark on boxing. But it won’t be that way to everyone else. This is going to be the moment people who don’t normally pay attention to boxing are going to pay attention, and that is, more than likely, a good thing. Perception is reality. And the hype will be very, very real, eye-rollingly real (“Last important fight in boxing/fight to save boxing” headlines surely en route).

May it live up to even a fraction of the the hype that is about to come.

(Picture via)

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (http://www.tbrb.org). He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.