A chance conversation with a few of my friends occurred earlier this week. We'd skirted around talking about our lives, our jobs or what was going on in the rest of the country, to instead discuss Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao, otherwise known as "The Fight of The Century" or in some instances, "The Final Day Of Boxing In The History Of Boxing".
"I don't like Floyd," one friend said. "The arrogance is what gets me. I feel for him if he can't read, but damn, he's so arrogant."
"I think people don't like Floyd because he's flashy. And a chronic domestic abuser. And looks like a California Raisin," I joked back. Here's the caveat: Two of my friends, who follow sports but not as intently as me and another friend didn't chime in. It wasn't that they don't know who Mayweather or Pacquiao are; they simply had nothing to offer to the conversation.
Which is likely where a lot of people will reside Saturday evening when they realize they're living through one of the year's most important sporting events not named the Super Bowl. There will be fight parties, people will chip in on the outrageous $100 pricetag for the pay-per-view. People will argue, people will drink and things will be merry. But, for the person inside of you who could not care less about boxing and are just showing up for the free food and camaraderie, let us help you with this newbie's guide to understanding Floyd Mayweather versus Manny Pacquiao, aka "The Fight Of The Century."
WHO IS FLOYD MAYWEATHER? Floyd Joy Mayweather (no, seriously his middle name is Joy) is arguably the best defensive boxer who has ever lived. He's undefeated (47 wins, 0 losses or draws, 26 knockouts), and will remind you of such at every waking opportunity. He's an asshole to the nth degree. (Easy example: He said he was greater than Muhammad Ali). Being the villain has made Floyd a gargantuan amount of money. It has also made him the one person, licensed to fight, that people want to see get his comeuppance in a hellacious and humbling fashion. He bets huge money on sporting events, has an entire closet of white clothes (and a garage of white exotic sports cars), although he is not exactly the most exciting fighter. However, since he is technically sound, he's appreciated. He's also been charged, convicted and jailed (for 30 days) on accounts of domestic abuse of several girlfriends about which Deadspin wrote a hell of an expose.
WHO IS MANNY PACQUIAO? Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao is a fighter from the Philippines. He's also a congressman (in the Philippines, I doubt the U.S. would have fighting congressmen, although I'd gamble that more shit would get done), the owner of a professional basketball team in his homeland (for which he also plays), and is arguably the most exciting fighter when it comes to action in the ring. He's lost a few times (five fights) but has won 57 of his fights, 38 of them by knockout. He's become a man of the people just because he has been viewed as the best fighter in the world solely because he likes to punch -- a lot. He also grew up in poor, terrible conditions in his homeland before turning professional at age 14. He ran away from home at age 12 because his dad ate his dog. That's a true story. He's also a terrible singer but is really, really likable.
MOST EMBARASSING MAYWEATHER MOMENT: Last year, during the hysteria of the ALS Challenge, 50 Cent challenged Floyd Mayweather to a ESL challenge, back when the two weren't friends. Also, "The Breakfast Club," the morning show on New York's Power 105.1 found audio of Mayweather attempting to read a radio spot for them. It did not go well.
MOST EMBARASSING PACQUIAO MOMENT: It may be the singing (jump to the 4:12 mark) but Pacquiao's most embarrassing moment happened in -- ring when he fought Juan Manuel Marquez for the fourth time in 2012. Pacquiao was knocked out cold in the fifth round, spawning more memes than you could count.
BEST FLOYD MAYWEATHER ASSET: His shit-talking. It's a family tradition from Mayweather's father, whom he feuded with before they reconciled, to his uncle Roger who trains him. All of them talk plenty of shit. All of them. The defensive shoulder roll is a close second.
BEST MANNY PACQUIAO ASSET: His hands. They retired Oscar De La Hoya, who hasn't been the same since.
WHY DO PEOPLE CARE ABOUT THIS FIGHT: Mayweather & Manny Pacquiao have talked about fighting one another for six years, the back and forth even garnering an award by Ring Magazine in 2010. There have been discussions about Olympic style blood testing, sizes of gloves, purse splits & more. Had it happened when they were 32 & 30 respectively, it would be a big damn deal. Now that they're doing it at 38 & 36, it's still sort of a big deal, but not as a big deal. So big that people are betting hundreds of thousands of dollars on whoever wins.
WHY IS THE FIGHT SO EXPENSIVE? In terms of revenue, the fight is believed to be the richest in history with Mayweather earning a 60/40 split. It is believed that the fight is going to generate over 3 million PPV buys. To order the fight on PPV, it's going to cost you $100 to see it in HD. Total revenue could exceed $400 million. Tickets to watch the fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas started at $1,000. They sold out within minutes.
WHAT IS THE MONEY TEAM? The Money Team is a group of superfriends who have all either walked Mayweather down to the ring, played piano at his house or has generally been an underling/associate for him. Notable members include Lil Wayne, Justin Bieber, 50 Cent, Triple H. Former members: Ray J. Good money Bieber is walking with Floyd to the ring Saturday.
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WHO DO GIRLS LIKE MORE: Manny depending on the crowd. You can be an asshole, and then you can be Floyd Mayweather. Two totally different levels of asshole-ism there.
WHO DO GUYS LIKE MORE: Pacquiao, by the slightest of margins. Mainly because Mayweather is living the life of a "boxing Scrooge McDuck" and Scrooge McDuck had bank.
DO YOU HAVE TO LIKE BOXING IN ORDER TO ENJOY THIS? No. It's like football the first weekend of February.
WHO SHOULD YOU ROOT FOR? Pick a side. If you pick Mayweather, it's like wanting Darth Vader to crush the Ewoks and blow up Tatooine. If you pick Pacquiao, you're against guys who beat women, throw money at your face and walk around like super villains. Really, you can't go wrong either way.