Saturday, January 31, 2015

FINALLY!: The Mayweather-Pacquiao Saga

Floyd Mayweather tends to catch lots of heat for the way this proposed mega-fight between him and Manny Pacquiao has come together only to previously fall out. Many say Mayweather has been running from Pacquiao for YEARS.

Floyd Mayweather has always been about the money, and if the financial side of things don't fit his personal preferences or satisfies his pride, it's just not happening. Boxing in general has grown to be a sport in which money is the motive for everything. In a sport where crooked refs and one-sided fights all may be lie, you can blame money for the root of it all.

Not in any way am I speculating this has had anything to do with Mayweather or any other boxer's decisions, it's just a valid generalization.

So when people say "Mayweather has been running for years, Mayweather has been running for years!!!", it only serves as a possible half-truth. Yes, I agree, Mayweather is probably terrified to end his career with one blemish, especially at the hands of Manny Pacquiao, the man who continues to prove he's back on the top of his game, not to mention the heated rivalry these two men have had without even stepping in the ring once to validate the feud.

Technically, Floyd Mayweather is a selfish negotiator. No matter how you look at it, this is the reason why after six years, he's yet to fight Pacquiao. Hopefully that ends in May.

The fight is six years stale. Don't eat it, it's bad for you, it will make you sick, it has a weird taste (this will make sense later).

The selfish antics of Mayweather has hurt the sport more than it has helped it.

Realistically speaking, anyone with common sense or anyone who at least follows the sport to any degree knows maybe a little of how these negotiations go down.

Let's use some common sense here.

In boxing, there lies a side-A and side-B, you know, like those tapes your parents still have hoarded in their basement. Anyway, from a business standpoint, side-A is the breadwinner here, side-A sets rules, regulations and ultimately they control the cash flow and how it gets distributed. They choose venues, glove size and can even request their own referee preferences.

Seriously, I did my research.

In essence, you can say some of these things has kept Floyd Mayweather undefeated since of course he's been side-A for a very long time. He's had a couple of controversial calls that has went his way and if you're ever wondering why, without making outlandish statements, take a second to think maybe why, the aforementioned reasons may be why.

On to side-B. Which is by now self-explanatory.

Side-B gets the lower end of the money and takes a risky investment. They don't choose venue, glove size and the preferred weight of the opponent as side-A also has the right to do. Side-B always comes out on the shorter end on the stick money wise. In side-B's case, the opportunity to defeat side-A is always more valuable than the money. When Mayweather fought Marcos Maidana, he took home nearly 30million more in guaranteed cash. Yet, Maidana seen this as an opportunity to make a return on his investment and had a very great chance to get the job done, so did Canelo Alvarez.

The problem in the case of Mayweather and Pacquiao is that they have very similar careers and has been at the top or near the top of their weight classes and the sport itself for that same span. Mayweather and Pacquiao has always been side-A.

There cannot be two number ones, two kings, or two of anything with one slot.

Mayweather wanted to be side-A back when the fight was supposed to happen back in 2009. Only problem was that Pacquiao was well deserving of that spot, too. From 2008-2009, Manny Pacquiao was probably at his best ever. Not only did he win fights, but he beat some very prestigious fighters including Juan Manuel Marquez, Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton, knocking Hatton out in the 2nd round. I'd say that's well deserving.

Mayweather, as previously said is and always will be about the money. He wanted a 65/35 split with Pacquiao in 2009, a split that was not deserved seeing as how Pacquiao showed why it should've been closer or even with Pac-Man coming out on top on the money side. They couldn't agree. Pacquiao's camp said that the split should be talked about after the fight; that the winner should take a 60/40 split, not a 60/40 split regardless of the outcome of the fight.

Fair, right? I'd say so.

Let's make one thing clear. Floyd Mayweather is not scared of Manny Pacquiao, and vice versa. It is the politics of the situation that has hurt the mega-fight since 2009.

Mayweather has all the tools needed to bob-n-weave his way to an unanimous decision or even score a TKO. The problem was that Mayweather refused to be treated as a lesser fighter to a man he already felt he was better than regardless of the layoff he took while Pacquiao was beating any and everybody six years ago.

Since then, the two has had their share of fights. Mayweather's record remains unblemished while Pacquiao's contains two more losses.

Let's be real, even though Pacquiao is on a three-fight win streak, Mayweather has leverage so to speak. He can rightfully hold those two losses Pacquiao has taken since 2009 over his head and push negotiations in his favor, which I'm sure he has did.

So now, the fight is reportedly on, set possibly for May 2nd, with those same reports stating that PPV could cost the viewers at home $85.

You ever told someone the cookies you were eating were "old" and had a weird taste? Don't worry, I have, I can relate. Anyway, has that person tried those same cookies and said "ain't anything wrong with these" and continued to eat them? This is how fans and those anxious for this fight has been. They'll watch no matter what, because even though the two fighters are way past their primes, a bout between them sounds good every time. I don't blame you. I might eat a couple of those stale cookies myself.

So after more than five years of speculation, false starts and hopes, the fight that the public has demanded (which also plays a vital part in this equation) is finally on track to happen. The fight will command an infinite amount of mainstream attention.

Mayweather, as power tripping as he can be will finally settle his personal differences to help provide something the public has been wanting and the sport has been needing, hopefully.

My only prediction is that Mayweather will be much more aggressive than usual, for pride reasons, maybe. Maybe that also will play right into Pacquiao's hands. Literally.

We'll finally get to settle the score on who is the best, pound-for-pound boxer. If it happens, it will be an epic one.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Remembering Stuart Scott

Longtime ESPN anchor Stuart Scott recently lost his private battle with cancer. He was 49. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Scott got his start at a few stations in the south, making stops in North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida. He leaves behind a legacy that many anchors first dared to do and now aim to duplicate.

He Was Fearless

Stuart Scott was a natural showman from the beginning. When I turned on Sportscenter, Scott resonated with me. He communicated with the world in a way that was frowned upon at first. Scott embodied the art of “code switching”, as said by many of his colleagues. Code switching is a self-explanatory term; it is changing the way we talk or present ourselves to fit the needs of not just one audience, but multiple audiences. Scott revolutionized the field single-handedly. Scott looked to not only do his job the best way he knew how but also fearlessly put his own spin on to things, regardless if you liked it or not. Eventually everyone was repeating his catch phrases that included “BOO-YAH!”,  and “He’s cooler than the other side of the pillow” among many that would be repeated every time he was on the air for 21 beautiful years.

But His Fearlessness was heavily criticized

Whenever I turn on my television to further learn about the man that is Stuart Scott as ESPN and other networks pay their respects, I further learn about the criticism his revolutionary style of news casting brought him. He used Black Vernacular; he alluded to scenes in hip-hop and other avenues of black culture and to many black and whites that just wasn’t how it was supposed to be done. Most viewers were accustomed to a very bland, “black and white” style of news casting. But to no avail, Scott never abandoned his authentic way of presenting news and sports. Not everyone could profoundly understand Scott’s jargon, and not everyone could get with how he did his job. But if one thing is true, you cannot possibly please all the millions of people tuning in to see him at work. People couldn’t stop watching, though. He was a likeable person at heart, not even his far-reaching style could piss enough people off.

The revolutionary style reflected his passion..

The very way Scott presented himself; the flair and showmanship minus the gimmicks reflected his love for the world of sports. This is no guess, if you’ve ever watched any of Sportscenter, chances are you’ve caught Scott at his best, the state in which cancer couldn’t even bring down on-air. His voice was always high-pitched, words enunciated and certain phrases were emphasized and in almost every highlight reel, Scott threw in one of his legendary phrases. If you’re like me, you said the phrases with Scott because you knew which one was coming, you envisioned yourself in his seat, passionately presenting the world of sports to audiences young and old.

He didn’t just embody a single demographic

No, Stuart Scott was not a savior for African-Americans; he wasn’t a rebel, by no means. What Scott did was teach people to be themselves, learn how to be authentic in everything you do, even if it’s performing in front of millions everyday. Scott was not put on television just to give blacks a reason to smile, no; he was liked by many of all races. He also got the chance to show that he could work with others of a different race.

He also knew how to switch it up

This is not to say that how Scott presented himself on TV was full of parody and whatnot; he took what he did seriously, for sure. Every June, when the Larry O’Brien Trophy was presented to the best team in the NBA, Stuart Scott was there for all of the postgame interviews and the announcing of the NBA Finals MVP, even as he was fighting internally what would soon take his life. He nailed it, effortlessly. But what cancer couldn’t take were his spirit and his professionalism. Owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban said, “the only interview that mattered was the Stuart Scott interview on the last day of the NBA season”. He conducted one on one interviews with some of sports’ greatest athletes from Michael Jordan to Tiger Woods. Versatility is an understatement.

Stuart Scott’s contributions to the world of sports and to the world of broadcasting are only one part of the legacy he leaves behind. He was an inspiration for his colleagues and his instant infusion of talent and unconventional style has forever bucked the trend for how sports are casted on air and in the field. He helped to bring the field into the new century and amid criticism for how he did it, Stuart Scott kept it going until the end, genuinely staying “As cool as the other side of the pillow”. Rest easy, Stuart.