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Manny Pacquiao: THE END IS NEAR – Boxing’s Lifeline About to Disappear

By Geno McGahee

With very little star power in the sport of boxing, and no network coverage, and without any single fighter really stirring up the American crowd, everyone has looked at Manny Pacquiao, 53-3-2, 38 KO’s, as the man. He is the man that people want to see fight because he gives the boxing fans that feeling of excitement that has drawn us to the sport. I’m 36 years old, and I grew up watching Mike Tyson fight. He brought electricity and you knew you were watching something special. He was the total package, charismatic, angry, powerful and quick. Pacquiao has some of the same characteristics.

Pacquiao will end his feud with Juan Manuel Marquez one way or another come November, which will be the third and presumably final encounter between the two, and the hopes will arise, should Manny win, that a bout with Floyd Mayweather, JR., will materialize. It most likely will not happen.

Boxing is not a dying sport. It is dead. The David Haye – Wladimir Klitschko farce, Pacquiao – Shane Mosley non-effort, disqualifications, bad decisions, a pathetic heavyweight division, and the list goes on and on. What is even more disgusting is that the boxing community is doing absolutely nothing to help the situation. Who is the next Manny Pacquiao? Any ideas?

Pacquiao came along at the right time and he was matched well against over the hill big name fighters, for the most part. A win over Oscar De La Hoya is the golden ticket in boxing, but add that to wins over Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales and Shane Mosley, and you understand why Pacquiao wins. To be the man, you have to beat the man, and he’s beaten several fighters that used to own that distinction, but despite his track record, he doesn’t have “the fight” or fighter that can define him. It’s not the fault of Pacquiao. It’s the opposition. It’s the sport.

I often wondered how a die-hard fan of boxing can be turned into a casual boxing fan, and I totally understand now, as I am certainly that now. Where is the excitement in watching Wladimir Klitschko jab an unwilling opponent to death over 12 rounds? Even though Marquez is capable, he is 37 years old. Ricardo Mayorga is getting a title shot. Erik Morales is getting a title shot.

A lot of people have been very critical of Don King, but his pay per views were far better than anything we get nowadays. The Bob Arum shows, the Golden Boy productions, and every other show typically feature a decent main event and showcases for their prospects on the undercards. You typically feel ripped off at the end of the night.

Floyd Mayweather, JR., is criticized for taking a business approach to the sport, but it is a business and every match is typically strategic. There was a time when the best fought the best without question. You don’t have to wonder why MMA is more popular. Look at their consistency. They produce better matches. We had to wait 3 years to watch David Haye run for his life against Klitschko. We will have to wait at least 3 years now for Pacquiao-Mayweather by the time they step into the ring.

Boxing is Manny, Floyd, and everyone else. That is the way the majority of people look at it, and that is the way that most boxing publications look at it. You can’t go to a boxing site without seeing dozens of Manny Pacquiao articles. It’s rather sickening. What did Manny have for breakfast? What does Manny think of Hell’s Kitchen? Countless articles, some by very good writers, some by very poor writers, but all with the same agenda: get people to read, and Pacquiao brings fans. He has enough fans to keep the poor writers in business because there are some “PacNuts” that seek out anything and everything about him. I don’t know how Manny fights comfortably with so many writers on his knob.

The sad thing is, like the sport itself, the boxing publications will fall by the dozens when Manny loses or retires. As he fades away, the wagons that are hitched to him will be dragged away into obscurity as well. There are some very good publications out there, still cover the sport the right way and still putting out quality articles about good fighters that are not Manny Pacquiao, but the sad thing is that integrity comes with a price. Their numbers aren’t that good, but it’s probably better to have fewer views then to be a Pacquiao fan site, unless that is your purpose.

Get ready to watch Floyd Mayweather outpoint Victor Ortiz for 12 rounds, and Pacquiao to defeat Marquez by decision most likely, and then … a signed fight between the two, then another collapse with both pointing fingers at each other.

I have been saying for years that ABC, NBC, CBS and other big networks need a fight night, but the interest seems to be in terrible reality TV programming and the American public is eating it up, so there may be no hope for boxing. Enjoy Pacquiao while he lasts…won’t be much longer now. It will be interesting to see what happens to the sport when he decides to hang up the gloves.

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