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Mayweather – Pacquiao: Will there be respect?

Floyd Mayweather Jr Manny Pacquiao Marco Antonio Barrera Naseem HamedBy Rusty Nate: I have been thinking about the hatred and abuse that seems to fly from bloggers and forum posters recently. Now don’t get me wrong I know that this happens regarding a lot of fighters in all divisions but let be honest it’s not been as intense as the age old battle between the “Pactards” and “Floydiots”.

Unlike a lot of sports where a physical participation as a child causes the love, like Football or Tennis, boxing is a sport that can be equally loved by a person that has been no where near a ring. Everyone has a reason they fall in love with boxing, it might be that you saw Rocky 1 in the cinema in 1976 and you thought that it was possible to go from rags to riches, maybe you were watching the day that Mohammed Ali defied all logic and knocked out the unbeatable monster in Zaire or then again you might be from a boxing family background and so there was no chance of you escaping the clutches of the sport!

Now to the point! What I was thinking about was when I was younger and following boxing as a relatively passionate fan of the sport.

I used to find myself liking particular fighters and following their careers as you do. What I also found myself doing was becoming unconditionally defensive of those fighters regardless of the situation or discussion. To give you a relatively recent example, Naseem Hamed. I loved to watch Naz fight, he was fast, powerful, exciting and he fought for a KO every time he entered the ring. I used to laugh uncontrollably at the tongue in cheek comments he would make in pre and post fight interviews. He was a fighter much like Mayweather in that he is usually either Loved or Hated, no in between!

When Naz was announced as being the next opponent for the on fire Marco Antonio Barrera back in 2001 (I cant believe it was that long ago) I immediately went into the defensive aggressive mode of arguing with all the bloggers and writers and fans about how there was no way that MAB was going to get near Hamed in this fight. Naz was going to blow the little man away with his unbelievable power punching, MAB would be exposed as a average slugger who couldn’t live with a superior boxer etc etc blah blah blah.

What I actually knew at this time as well as the rest of Naz’s fans was that Naz had not performed to his highest abilities since before the Kevin Kelly fight in 1997 where as MAB had been destroying all in his path since returning from retirement Including a world class Eric Morales.

We all know what happened in that fight, MAB came out as a master boxer! He proved the world wrong, possibly even some of his own fans!

I found myself afterwards with an unusual level of respect for Barrera that mounted into a love to watch him fight and a respect for what he had achieved in his career as well as how he had mastered a fighter that I was naively emotionally convinced could not be mastered. All the anger towards him before the fight had gone and all that was left was a feeling of “wow this guys is clearly one of the best ever” – he is now in my top 3 all time loved fighters.

What I am trying to get at is that the fans tend to allow emotion and passion to interfere with their judgment when discussing up coming fights and even allow it to blind them to the truth that all these fighters deserve massive respect and in many cases admiration for what they are doing in order to entertain us.

I guess the question relating to the article title is………

If and when Pacquiao and Mayweather fight will the divided fans suddenly show a humbling respect for the winner of the bout?

Will the fans of the winner suddenly show a bond to the fallen warrior and respect for his efforts and accomplishments in his career?

I certainly hope this happens. It woke me up all those years ago when Naz vs Barrera finally proved, to me at least, that absolutely no one is beyond defeat!


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