So the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. Yeah, remember that thing? Boxing may be the only sport where a match can have Super Bowl-like buildup, only to wake up the next morning wondering if it ever actually happened (i.e. Tim Tebow, Jeremy Lin). I am still amazed at how these bouts can be marketed so heavily for a sport no one seems to care about 364 days out of the year.
I understand that this was the biggest fight ever revenue and advertising-wise, ultimately bringing in $400 million. I’m a fan of both as fighters, and one as a person (sorry Floyd). But no more than once or twice a year is there a big buildup for a fight, and yes this surpassed any, but how does it get to that point? Where does the fanfare come from? Does the endless marketing itself and the fact that we can only get it on pay-per-view make it cooler?
Obviously a big selling point is the gambling which boxing is notorious for, maybe more so than any other sport. Many of these prize fights take place in Vegas, where the glitz and glamour brings various A and D-list celebrities together to be spotted at the biggest event of the night. So is that our only care with prime time boxing? That there is plenty of money at stake (even though we’re probably not invested in it), that it’s what the cool kids are doing (celebrities) and that modern-day gladiators duke it out in the ring for our enjoyment?
Ultimately that may be the answer. We can watch celebrities watch two physical specimen beat the living shit out of each other, who just so happen to be millionaires for entertainment. This makes us feel privileged; we’re not fighting! We’re doing great, like the Romans who got to sit in the stands while the less fortunate fought to the death in the friendly confines of the Coliseum.
The event is clearly more about, well the event, than the actual fight. Like Kim Kardashian’s wedding, when there are enough celebrities and media present, any event can feel important. Which now makes the fight feel like it holds the magnitude of the American Revolution, even after the only unanimous decision was that it proved anti-climactic. Then again, how can something that costs $100 on pay-per-view that you can’t own stock in not disappoint?
So much of the added formalities around the fights seem unnecessary, but that’s where the intrigue is built I suppose. There’s the weigh-in and subsequent stare down, plenty of trash-talking and of course the odds in Vegas. That’s why it’s oddly ironic Tom Brady and friends came from the Kentucky Derby to make the fight, it’s the Kentucky Derby with people! Everyone looks just as happy holding their bets and hoping for a winner as they do at the Derby. At least we don’t rely on horses for transportation anymore, although maybe we should.
What “The Fight” actually looked like:
Courtesy of someone way cooler than me on imgur…