Monday, May 4, 2015

Why Can't Filipinos Accept The Fact That Mayweather Is A Much Better Boxer Than Pacquiao?

Yesterday, when the bell rang at the MGM Grand to mark the end of the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, majority of writers, journalists, observers and avid fans knew who deserved to have his hands raised by referee Kenny Bayless. That's Mayweather. The American clearly took his Filipino opponent to school. Mayweather's technical skills and ring-savvy was just too much for Pacquiao. In the words of Scott Christ, a highly respected boxing journalist, "it's now clear, beyond a shadow of a doubt that Pacquiao is not as good as Mayweather".

But a lot of Filipinos just can't accept that fact. And they would do or say anything to discredit Mayweather and his well-deserved victory. During the duration of the fight, Mayweather was always backpedaling. Yes, that's a fact. He was hugging Pacquiao a lot. That's a fact too. But these don't take away the most crucial fact of them all - who landed more punches and who eluded more punches from his opponent? 

The answer to that question is Mayweather. Based on Compubox statistics, Mayweather landed 148 punches while Pacquiao landed only 81. Mayweather landed 67 jabs, Pacquaio only 18. Mayweather landed 81 power punches, Pacquiao only 63. Looking at these stats alone, Mayweather is the clear winner.

Certainly, there were moments when Pacquaio was able to land shots to the elusive American's head and body but these were few and far in between. Pacquaio just can't be declared a winner based on what he was able to do that night because Mayweather did a whole lot more. Yes, Pacquiao was the constant aggressor. Yes, he was pushing the fight. But when it comes to landing actual punches, Mayweather bested Pacquiao nearly 2-to-1.

Let's take a look at what the boxing world thought of the fight. First of all, most of the pundits sitting at ringside had it for Mayweather. Sports Blog Nation scored the fight 117-111 for Mayweather. ESPN had it 116-112 for Mayweather. Michael Rosenthal of The Ring Magazine had it 116-112 for Mayweather. Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times had it 115-113 for Mayweather. Boxing Insider had it 117-112 for Mayweather.
Image credit: Showtime Boxing via Facebook.
Who is saying that Pacquiao won? Most of them are Filipinos. There's Ronnie Nathanielz who is arguably among the most influential boxing writers in the Philippines. Nathanielz had Pacquiao winning the fight. And then there are the thousands of Filipinos flooding Facebook with exclamations that Pacquiao has been robbed. That Mayweather didn't deserve to win because he ran and hugged. That Mayweather was scared. That Mayweather played dirty. That Mayweather didn't fight like a champion.

In the blink of an eye, millions of Filipinos became boxing experts. They think Pacquaio won. The irony in this is the fact that the real boxing experts - the ones working and writing within the sport - had Mayweather winning.

Then there are those Filipinos who resort to coming up with below-the-belt stuff. Mayweather became Gayweather. Floyd became Chicken. There are even those who criticize the color of his skin. Needless to say, this is simply unacceptable. Your sports hero doesn't get his hands raised and your reaction is to call the winner gay? Not classy nor sports-like at all.

Then there are those who come up with stuff like, "Pacquiao is the real winner because he fights for God and country's glory while Mayweather fights for pride and money." This is an ill excuse. What's wrong with fighting for pride and money? Most boxers fight for pride and money. Lennox Lewis beat up Mike Tyson for pride and money. Muhammad Ali fought for pride and money. George Foreman fought for pride and money. That's why they are called prize fighters. They fight for a prize. Filipinos saying that Pacquiao only fights for God and country seem to easily forget that one of the reasons why the fight didn't happen earlier is a conflict as to who would get paid the bigger amount of money.

Mayweather won. Pacquiao lost. That's the reality. Calling the winner gay, a chicken, a scared cat, a runner, a hugger, a marathoner (even if it makes you feel better about yourself) won't change the fact that Mayweather is the much better boxer. Enough of this "Filipinos can't lose, they only get robbed" mentality. And don't go the route of saying that Mayweather won because the referee is black or because the fight was held in his hometown. Of course, no one's stopping you to go these routes. You have your freedom of speech, after all.

P.S. The thing that Mayweather was doing? That's not called hugging. That's called clinching. And it's a huge aspect of the sport of boxing. And to those saying that boxing is dead, you are clearly not a fan of boxing. There are guys like Ruslan Provodnikov, Lucas Matthysse, Marcos Maidana, and Deontay Wilder (to name just a few) who have been and will continue to bring good and entertaining fights. If you don't know these guys, you don't have the right to say that boxing is dead. You've got to widen your horizon beyond Mayweather and Pacquiao.

[Note: this is an edited version of the original article. The major edits involve changing/adding words so as not to make the impression that I'm claiming that all Filipinos don't think Mayweather had the upperhand over Pacquiao. My stand as to who is the better boxer remains intact.]