The Mega Event
The MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas is packed to the house, with ringside tickets costing as much as $35,000 each. The least expensive tickets by the rafters were being sold by scalpers for as much as $1,500.
The list of celebrities attending sports' mega-event, not just of 2009, but of the decade, is pretty extensive. We see legends such as Muhammad Ali, Thomas Hearns, and Marvin Hagler a few rows behind the ringside seats.
Journalists from over 50 countries in as many languages are covering a Super Bowl-like atmosphere. The Pacquiao Mayweather collision - labeled "For All Time Greatness" - broke audience records for HBO's 24/7 pre-fight build-up.
Around the arena, Hollywood stars such as Sylvester Stallone, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Eva Longoria Parker, and Woody Allen dot the packed landscape.
Athletes such as Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, David Robinson, Magic Johnson, and Shaquille O'Neal are excited to be in attendance. It seems the majority of the mega-fight's attendees are celebrities, politicians, journalists, or athletes.
U.S. Senator, and former presidential candidate, John McCain - an avid boxing fan, and a former boxer during his Naval Academy days - is nicely tucked in front row with his family. Several U.S. senators and congressmen are also in attendance.
The first three to four rounds featured a more predictable ring dynamic. Floyd has been using his speed and footwork to distance himself away from Manny's jab range.
When he has been caught around the ropes, he has aggressively used his lightning quick hand speed to pick at head and body openings of Manny.
Since the opening bell, Manny has been bobbing and weaving with left and right attacks, and has been hitting Floyd's left shoulder and left arm as Floyd blocks Manny's right jabs and right hooks with his trademark head-tucked-in-under-shoulder defense.
Both the crowd and televised viewers are increasing in their collective impatience. Floyd's superior accuracy is causing Manny's right eye and brow to swell half shut, and is a discomforting sight to the whirlwind's fans.
In the 2nd and 4th round, Floyd semi-lifted Manny as Pacquiao - frustrated by Floyd's defense - aggressively lunged forward, and was popped - briefly lifted - by 3 Floyd uppercuts, providing brief flashes of the Marquez II fight.
Floyd, however, refuses to take advantage of the briefly stunned Pac and focuses on scoring points. His counters are succeeding in racking up points.
Surprisingly for some viewers, Manny's consecutive 5- and 7-punch combinations while Floyd is trapped in the corner is causing droplets of blood to drip from Floyd's right eyebrow - nothing serious - by the blood is noticeably streaking.
At the end of Round 6, the first half of the fight - HBO's Lederman scorecard has it 4 -2 in favor of Floyd. Larry Merchant has scored a 3 - 3 tie. Manny is looking for a fight. Floyd is looking for points.
ROUND 7 -
Pac is in his last fight. His September match with previously undefeated knockout artist Edwin Valero produced a stunning 4th round knockout for Pac.
In his last fight – the culmination of his against-all-odds boxing journey – Pac throws up his gloves in the air, in frustration at Mayweather. Seemingly carefree, the People's Champ invites the Master to a dynamic fight - a brutal fight.
He has thrown somewhat lackadaisaical punches, aimed to poke and provoke - again the People's Champ throws his gloves in the air. He nods at the Master. In a somewhat taunting gesture.
Both gestures are highly apparent to on-site viewers and the TV audience. Sporadic claps spur both men to duke it out.
Floyd steps away from the ropes. His small right eyebrow cut temporary sealed by his corner - a few spots of blood on his white shorts apparent to the keen eye.
He connects on a blindingly fast left hook - an answer to his opponent's taunt. His opponent had provoked the Master. Pac’s sweat flies off his head - with a forced grin, he punches his gloves.
"COME ON." (Pac, long ago, ceased to possess winces as reaction to inflicted pain.)
The Hero has taken flight. Staggered by a follow up right upper cut from Floyd, the brute monstrosity becomes transfixed in our eyes. The emerging hulk alter-ego – a Tazmanian dervish climbing the steep mountain-cliff of boxing immortality
Left right combinations to the Master, blocked, but the force sent its convincing message. Another straight right from the Master - showing desperation and slight panic at the sight of blood on his gloves (from a somewhat streaking eyebrow.)
The Dragon / Tiger / White Crane styled Pac is briefly staggered - he has been asking for this kind of fight - punches his gloves and nods his head. MORE.
A forced cultural grin – alien to the American Floyd.
Floyd – in his last fight – the (untested) Master is on the verge of entering the unknown - is on the verge of entering reckless abandon. He is staring at bloody gloves - for the first time in his life, he is staring at his own abyss.
He has loosened his grip on what he has known his entire life. And in crossing his threshold of Apotheosis, by the spur of abyss and blood, hints of echoed cheers and encouragement ensues.
A wide right hook partial connects – another hit on a now enraged Pacman, who has reloaded his arsenal of artillery, missiles, and torpedoes - aimed at the right and left flanks of the Fortress.
The Fury flies.
The Impregnable Fort retaliates.
Floyd's frequent facial expression of “You Can’t Touch Me,” turning aggressive.
A long time ago, in forgotten and desperate circumstances, Pacquiao did the impossible to climb out of His abyss. And emerged a Fighting Monstrosity:
Mayweather, in his last fight . . .
– in forced circumstances –
– in desperate measure –
. . . is climbing out of His abyss and becomes a BEAST, himself.
It was written on the scrolls of Sports History,
That once upon a time:
In attempting to survive against PACMAN –
This BEAST - in attempting to destroy his tormentor - destroyed the idea of “Pretty Boy.”