On Saturday night in Las Vegas, Nevada the world witnessed the “Fight of the Century” in the long anticipated meeting between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao. The buildup was ridiculous and the hype was outrageous which meant that anyone with half a brain knew that the fight could never match either. Almost as soon as the bell rang and the fight started you could tell that both fighters were on two different skill levels. Mayweather took control from the outset and began to put on a masterful boxing performance that most boxing experts had expected. Manny had his moments in the 4th and 6th rounds when he landed his vaunted left hand and was able to trap Mayweather on the ropes, but that was about it. The rest of the fight belonged to Floyd and his array of check hooks, jabs, and overhand rights that kept finding Manny over and over again to the tune of a unanimous decision victory from the judges.
Pacquiao may have lost on the scorecards and the final punch stats, but that is not what made him the real loser. The fact that he was so ungracious in defeat and delusional about losing made him a true loser. The same man who spoke so eloquently about God, his faith and how humble he has become ended up being an excuse filled, sore-loser. Not one word of compliment or respect was spoken about the man who just dominated him like no other. Not one word of humility was said about how he had finally met a fighter who was just so much better than he was that he couldn’t overcome him. All he could do was utter some nonsense about winning the fight that seemed like it had been scripted for him to say by his trainer and promoter.
That is not even the worst of it. At the post fight press conference which was televised by ESPN and even Top Rank, Pacquiao started out by saying that “I did my best. But my best wasn’t good enough”, which gave the impression that the true Manny Pacquiao was coming back to reality about what had just happened to him. After he sits down his promoter, Bob Arum, begins to go on an excuse filled rant of why Manny lost the fight. At one point, you can even see Roach pull him over to coach him as to what to say and that’s when he became this “new” Manny again. The blame was placed on everyone but himself and his team. We got the classic “Mayweather ran too much”, to the “I was the aggressor the whole time”, to the “Floyd never hurt me” and the easiest excuse of all. “I hurt my shoulder before the fight so I couldn’t use my right hand”. Having injuries is commonplace in sports is probable in combat sports for sure but most respectable athletes do not use them as an excuse for failure.
All the lame excuses are to be expected from Freddy Roach and Bob Arum as they have little honor or integrity to speak of when it comes to their fighters, but Pacquiao was always viewed in a different light. He was always the “good” guy who even when he was lost in a fight, he was still humble and gave respect. When he wasn’t awarded the decision in the Timothy Bradley fight, that even a blind man could have judged, he still spoke highly and humbly of his opponent and held his head high with honor. Even better yet, when he was brutally knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez he woke up and took his loss like a man and vowed to come back even better the next time out. On this night however Manny shattered the image of himself as a gracious loser and a humble, God-fearing fighter. He basically went the Judas route to use a bible reference. Only in this instance he turned his back on the millions of people who look up to him as a righteous man filled with honesty in favor of becoming a dishonest, dishonorable fighter who lacked integrity.
Sure, in the end Manny will continue to have his loyal followers who love him no matter what he does because he is their countrymen, or because they are related to him or just because they hate Floyd Mayweather enough to turn a blind eye to what Manny has done after this fight. But those fans that respect the sport and those people that admire humility and integrity will not see Manny Pacquiao the same way and may never be able to. Sometimes winning, money and accolades are not worth losing yourself morally and ethically. Sadly that may be the real loss that Manny suffered Saturday night when it is all said and done.
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