Once regarded as slightly more appealing than road kill, the sport of boxing is enjoying a renaissance, which is not a coincidence since Floyd Mayweather is effectively retired.
Floyd was good for Floyd, and not the sport that made him wealthy.
A great boxer who was a brilliant self promoter, and a thoroughly boring fighter, it’s good Floyd is gone. Manny Pacquiao should join him, although he is a willing puncher who looks to swing rather than to just duck. He’s also 40.
Although the heavyweight class remains a class of Guys Unknown, boxing has a current collection of characters and fighters worth watching. Young guys. Smaller guys. Guys in their prime. Guys like Spence, Crawford, Canelo, Lomachenko, Golovkin, and Porter.
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On Saturday night at Jerry’s Club, one of the sport’s more promising fighters will enter the ring, and Pacquiao may just be at ring side to do some scouting.
After the pride of DeSoto, Errol Spence Jr., defeats Mikey Garcia on Saturday night to defend his IBF welterweight title, the next guy he wants is The Pacman.
“I want to be mentioned with Floyd, especially when it comes to Pay Per View buys, and this is Step 1,” Spence said last week before a training session at his gym in Dallas. “Hopefully I can do great numbers, so guys like Manny Pacquiao will see that and think, ‘This is a great business decision. He draws a big crowd.’”
However you say this is in Filipino, please no mas to Spence v. Pacquiao.
Pacquiao was a great champion. He is also done. I don’t care what the Pay Per Views buys from the Philippines say.
Any fight fan can remember Larry Holmes abusing Muhammad Ali in 1980, when the former champ was 38 and already showing signs of Parkinson’s disease. No one wants to see that again.
Any fight fan can remember the night a young Terry Norris whipped Sugar Ray Leonard to essentially end his career in ‘91. Even after that fight, Norris called it a “sad victory.”
Sugar Ray fought only once more, six years later, and lost easily to Hector Camacho.
Alas, Pacquiao is the guy Spence wants.
“It’s a good thing Manny Pacquiao is considering to fight me,” Spence said. “Hearing he might come to the fight, that’s great knowing I’m in the position now to where the big money fights are looking at me. And Future Hall of Famers are willing to fight me.”
There is a payday to be had, and if Spence has to be a combination of Terry Norris and Larry Holmes and beat up some washed up former champ’, he’ll do it.
“(Pacquiao) just won a title so ... you have to ask him, why do it at 40?” asked Spence’s trainer, Derrick James.
Why? Because old guys hanging on to fight once more will always happen in boxing. Guys need the cash, and they simply surrender to the allure of the ring. Ask anyone who has ever boxed once, and they will tell you they can’t wait to do it again.
Spence should be fighting a younger guy next, preferably Terence Crawford. Or Shawn Porter. Those are better fights.
But this is boxing. Other than college football, no sport gives us the product we don’t entirely want quite like boxing.
“I want him to do his best and to get whomever he wants,” James said. “If that’s the fight, that’s the fight.”
Pacquiao doesn’t want to retire. Spence wants another big fight. And this is what we will get.