With all due respect to fair and unbiased sports journalism: Manny Pacquiao, do us all a solid and knock out Floyd “Fraud” Mayweather. Get him in the first. The second. The 10th. After the final bell.
Fraud is 38, and he is going to give you a chance or two at that mouthy, punk chin, so don’t blow it, Manny. Saturday is not the time to be dumb and walk into a KO punch like you did against Juan Manuel Marquez.
Pacquiao already carries the weight of his native Philippines on his slight shoulders, but now throw another large sector of the world on his 5-foot-7 frame. Saturday is the last chance for the millions of fight fans, and sports fans, who are itching to see the biggest punk this side of Justin Bieber hit the canvas.
On Wednesday at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the two best fighters of this generation met for a final formal news conference, and one last verbal spar before their nauseatingly rich fight here Saturday night.
The scene at the news conference was akin to a zoo, only slightly less organized with more sunglasses and considerably more cleavage (not a criticism, just an observation). It was a beautiful collection of self-importance that made a Real Housewives episode look like Hamlet.
MayPac is the rare sports equivalent of Star Wars: The Evil Empire (Mayweather) vs. The Rebellion (Pacquiao).
Yes, both the Evil Empire and the Rebellion are stuffed with so much money either could buy a country, so it is hard for either to be classified as an underdog.
Yet, Mayweather represents the most Evil Empire in the sports universe. He redefines double standards for athletes. This guy gets away with everything, and he flaunts it.
No modern-day athlete is better at playing the media, and the masses, than Mayweather. He is obnoxious. He is a liar. He is a fraud. He is a con artist. He has a record of hitting girlfriends and wives.
I (tried) to ask Mayweather if he is OK to be painted as the villain. He politely complained that question had already been asked.
“That’s rhetorical,” he said.
No, I said, it’s repetitive.
Fighters from Jack Johnson to Muhammad Ali to Mike Tyson have for years crossed the legal line and manipulated the media with brash bravado, but no one does it any better in this era than Fraud.
Fraud says he is the Greatest of All Time, but that distinction belongs solely to Ali, the most important athlete of the 20th century. Ali combined athletic brilliance with wit, rhetoric and a social conscience that no athlete has duplicated.
What Mayweather does so well is line up a bunch of grateful lesser opponents who need his money, and then he gets us to react. At a minimum, he is a brilliant promoter. And I am the idiot because I know he is doing it.
He plays on the raw emotions of the paying public better than any athlete alive. He knows he is the villain, and he is counting on you to spend $100 for the chance to see him lose.
The last time Mayweather lost was in the 1996 Olympics against a Bulgarian, whose sad story was chronicled in a brilliant piece in The New York Times. Pacquiao is the last best shot to see Mayweather get it.
Mayweather’s flipside is The Pacman — whose rise from abject poverty in the Philippines to one of the most successful individual athletes in the world is both inspiring and sad. His promoter, Bob Arum, admits Manny can’t say no to family and friends. Pacquiao has all of the makings of the well-meaning guy whose “friends” and family will eventually bankrupt him.
His command of the English language is fair, but he is the anti-Mayweather. Pac is a born-again Christian family man, who comes across as a sweet guy who simply loves to box — and realizes how good he has it. Maybe it’s as much of an act as Fraud’s, but they are both convincing in their respective roles.
Vegas has Mayweather as the decisive favorite, and the money continues to move in his direction.
The sports journalist in me knows there is only a minimal chance this fight can live up to hype that is now roughly 5 years old, and there is even a lesser chance Mayweather will lose.
“I don’t think it’s five years too late,” former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson told a few reporters on Wednesday. “They are mature fighters. It’s going to be a great fight.”
Hopefully, Tyson is right, and we see history Saturday when Mayweather drops to 47-1.
Pacman, this is not just about you or your country. This is for all of us who want to see Fraud get his.
Listen to Mac Engel every Tuesday and Thursday on Shan & RJ from 5:30-10 a.m. on 105.3 The Fan.
Mac Engel, 817-390-7697
Twitter: @macengelprof and The Big Mac Blog
Welterweight unification fight
Floyd Mayweather 47-0, 26 KOs vs. Manny Pacquaio 57-5-2, 38 KOs
10:30 p.m. (approx.)
Saturday, Las Vegas
TV: Pay-per-view, $90-$100