I may be in the minority, but consider me excited to fork over $64.99 Saturday night to watch the Manny Pacquiao-Shane Mosley fight on Showtime PPV. Of course, I’m not thrilled about the steep price, but I am excited for the fight itself – or at least what it represents.
No, this is not the fight we were hoping to see, and yes, it probably is a sizeable mismatch that will result in the younger Pacquiao (32 years old) spending the majority of the fight applying continuous pressure to the older Mosley (39 years old). But still, anytime Pacquiao enters the ring the sport of boxing takes considerable strides back towards its once prideful status.
No fan can pretend that boxing hasn’t drastically fallen down the rungs of the sports popularity ladder over the last several decades – actually precisely at the moment Mike Tyson infamously flashed a smile and a pair of handcuffs to the camera on his way from the ring to the cell. And since then, guys like Evander Holyfield and Oscar De La Hoya just have not been able to generate the enthusiasm that Ali, Tyson, and the legends before them did. Combine that with shady promoters, confusing weight classes and belt titles, and most importantly the rise of MMA over the past decade, and the result is a second-tier sports status.
Then along came Pacquiao and trainer Freddie Roach, perhaps one of boxing’s greatest working duos and its best chance to bring the sport back to prominence. Since being introduced to the boxing world following his odds defying and remarkable pounding of De La Hoya in 2008, Pacquiao has seamlessly moved through weight classes and collected titles with ease. And if he continues on this torrid pace and gains another defining win, he may well end up as the greatest fighter of this generation and be remembered as the guy who saved the sport.