We are less than a week removed from the superbly fought bout between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin, and the controversial decision that ended the fight in a draw.
By most accounts, including my own, Alvarez fought well, but not as well as Golovkin, who after slow start, out boxed Alvarez the rest of the match. Everyone seemed stunned by the one judge who awarded Alvarez a dominant win, except Canelo and his camp. This looked to not only be another black mark for a sport already on life support, but possibly the final nail in boxing’s coffin.
The only saving grace was that a draw would certainly guarantee a rematch, and while that would be enough for many, including analyst Teddy Atlas, to claim that the decision was fixed, it left us fans with the possibility of watching another terrific fight by two of today’s top boxers.
Only now it looks as if the rematch isn’t going to happen, at least not anytime soon. After initially saying he’d agree to a rematch “if the fans wanted it”, Alvarez has seemed to back off those initial statements, and may be looking to take some time off.
Of course, with Golovkin likely turning 36 years-old by the earliest possible rematch date, the speculation has already begun that Canelo’s motivation to take time off is to age GGG out as long as possible to increase his chances of winning.
The possible strategy by Canelo is not that far-fetched. GGG has struggled more than ever before in his two recent fights, and has now gone consecutive bouts without a knockout for the first time in his professional career. The recent history of boxing also plays into this, as this tactic has been done plenty of times. It’s one of the things that is killing the sport.
Immediately this bring up 2015’s Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao bout. While the two fighters spent much of the mid-2000’s the top two “pound for pound” boxers in the world, it took them almost six years to actually meet up in the ring. By this time, both fighters were approaching 40, Mayweather had already retired once, and Pacquiao had lost two of his last five fights, to Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez.
Anyone who watched the fight when it actually happened knows it was more disappointing than hearing The Chainsmokers sing Closer in concert. The funny thing is, the fight has since been attached to Mayweather’s legacy like an albatross. The overwhelming feeling is that Mayweather purposely dodged Pac-Man until he was past his prime. I have even heard many knowledgeable boxing fans say this, and it couldn’t be further from the truth.
Sure, there were other factors involved, such as the purse split, but the biggest obstacle was the fact that Maywether believed that Pacquiao was using performance enhancing drugs. The olympic style drug testing that the Mayweather camp wanted are blood tests, and, despite what he stated, Manny Pacquiao did not want any part of a blood test. Interestingly enough, Manny Pacquiao was able to avoid those types of tests for a long time.
Manny Pacquiao was never subjected to olympic testing because he skipped the Olympics. He blindly offered financial support without wanting a blood test from a love child he had with an alleged prostitute. He stated that he was scared of needles, even though he has a tattoo. He’s stated that having blood drawn makes him weak, although medically it is proven that giving blood does not weaken you. He even asked about the penalties for testing positive, and if a positive test could be kept secret for the “sake of boxing”, according to a report by boxing analyst Teddy Atlas.
Top that off with the fact that Pacquiao moved through eight different weight classes while still conditioning and boxing, and it’s easy to see why there was whispers around the sport about the legitimacy of Pac-Man’s accomplishments.
In other words, it’s understandable why Mayweather would be so hung up on the strict drug testing. It’s also understandable how it’s easy to dislike Floyd Mayweather. He’s obnoxious, brash, cocky, and has that domestic violence stuff from his past. He’s also black, and while I’m not usually one to pull the race card, if you think that’s not an issue, you obviously didn’t see how many more supporters Connor McGregor had during their fight, using a remarkably similar persona.
So while the narrative of the 2015 mega-fight will forever be looked at by some as a fight that Floyd Mayweather ducked until he was certain that he could defeat the Filipino Senator, it’s just as possible that Pacquiao avoided the fight to keep his cheating a secret, only relenting when he was past his prime and looking for one last huge payday that he was no longer in a position to command.