Tuesday, May 12, 2015

What I Gained from Watching Mayweather vs. Pacquiao: Part II

Folks are still talking about the Pacquiao vs. Mayweather fight. Have you noticed?  As the head timer at a track meet last week,  all seven of the juniors helping me—stopwatches in hand—brought it up to debate and discuss between races. On Monday, I drove the varsity boys golf team to CCS playoffs in Carmel Valley, a two hour trek. A decent amount of airtime was given to Pacquiao's shoulder and what he should have disclosed. Another student felt sorry for the fans who spent $40,000 dollars for a seat. And that's where I put on the brakes. You felt sorry for what???

And that's exactly why I feel it's time to share Part II of What I Gained from the Pacquiao-Mayweather Fight.

2. The questions it raises for me...
I believe this fight is a moral land mine. The half-page graphic inside of Sports Illustrated could fuel discussion in Sports and Spirituality for an entire week. Here are some to consider.

Five hundred of the 16,000 tickets for the fight went on sale to the public. The price range was $1500 to $7500. As of Monday before the fight, the highest resale price on StubHub was $128,706. MGM can charge what they want, I get it. But what I cannot understand is how someone is willing to pay that much for a singular event? 

In his first fight, Pacquiao won 100 Pesos, $2 US. According to an article in the International Business Times,  
The latest estimates for Pacquiao say that he made upwards of $100 million for his role in the fight, and some predictions right before the bout said he could earn close to $120 million. While Mayweather was given $100 million after the fight, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said Pacquiao would be paid $50 million on Monday, no matter how well the PPV sold.
At least $300 million, and possibly more, will be split between Mayweather and Pacquiao. If they had fought in 2010, their combined purse would have totaled an estimated $150 million. Even with inflation, that’s equal to just $165 million in 2015.
I don't understand that amount of money period. Moreover, I can't comprehend how it's remotely possible to pay an athlete that much money for one event. One of my favorite lines from the movie "Top Gun" states "son, your ego is writing checks your body can't cash." I guess in this case, both fighters are...
This info-graphic gives plenty of social justice to chew on....
I teach a social justice course. I can never check that mindset at the door. Wages and the worker are matters that I discuss and advocate for quite often. So does the Church. As much as sports are an egregious offense to this paradigm, those salaries are real. The questions are too. The amount that people are putting toward an event that isn't even guaranteed to go 12 rounds at three minutes each is real. Wow.

3. The art of boxing
Most of my girlfriends wanted to know how I could stomach the violence. I hate to say it, but maybe all of these years of watching football have me conditioned for taking in calculated violence. Granted, football players wear helmets and pads, but we don't say that a player got his bell rung for nothing. You hear those hits.

There certainly is an art to boxing and it's one I'm not entirely familiar with—but I did enjoy watching defense unfold as well as a good jab, hook and they way the referee that sacrifices himself in the middle of it all. I will admit, when the cameras replayed hits to the head, slow motion—those were tough to see. 

But as too many people complained, there wasn't a whole lot of fight in the fight. Regardless, my interest was piqued for how the sport is scored, the talents that each boxer holds and what makes good fighters great.
This was taken at the JPII Shrine in Washington DC
St. John Paul wrote about the dignity of the human
person & that work makes us co-creators with God

4. Why do you do what you do?
At some point, this is a question we must all ask of ourselves. I believe our answers—the why—reveal a lot about who we are. And the response from Mayweather and Pacquiao come as little surprise. 

Pacquiao said that he fights for his country. He wants to make his people happy. A deeply religious man, he added "I fight because God gave me great gifts and talents in this way. I can honor God by using them." His answers were a 180 degrees from his opponent. 

Mayweather gave five reasons he fights. 1. For me. 2. For money. 3. For my legacy. 4. To be the greatest ever. 5. To be the wealthiest athlete there is.

He is unapologetic for his views. He believes "I say what everyone thinks." Although I do believe many people do what they do for several of the reasons he listed, I disagree. Strongly.

We all have mixed motives, but to let every single reason come back to one person—yourself—goes against my values and beliefs. Floyd Mayweather, Jr. challenges me from start to finish. I like the fact the invites me to consider these questions and conscience qualms. But the greatest moral quandary he presents to me leads to my final question.

5. Why do we cheer for who we do...
In 2010, I spent 8 days in the hospital. Those days were marked by doctors. tests, visits from friends and family and two things I read. 1. My Life in and Out of the Rough by John Daly and 2. a lengthy piece in Vanity Fair: Tiger Woods' Inconvenient Women. I have never been able to cheer for Tiger again. If you are a fan. do not read it. You might be able to check what you read at the door, but that's highly unlikely. 

The same applies to Mayweather and his treatment of women as written in "The Trouble with Floyd Mayweather, Jr." As much as I don't want to admit it, Deadspin has good writers and reliable sources. It's no Rolling Stone of sports journalism. They do their homework. A lot of people know that Mayweather has been convicted of domestic violence against four different women. Most people do not know the extent of it.
The questions of why you do what you do, only led me to consider why do I cheer for who I do? It's another question every sports fan should answer.

The Fight of the Century may have been a flop, but its narrative continues. The questions it has spawned are not one dimensional. And it made me take the words from Mayweather/Pacquiao: At Last to heart:
You wouldn’t want to ponder a world without fighters.You wouldn’t want to ponder a world where everyone settled for the easy way out.There’d be so much less to intrigue you. So much less to inspire you.

Here here.

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