High Excitement, Low Expectations pt. 2

On April 14th, I penned an article detailing what to expect from last night’s bout between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, which can be found here:

In this piece, I noted the 2 telling stats that would determine the winner as who would land the most strikes, and who would land at the higher percentage. Now for most, this seems like a simple equation for a win in any bout, but with fighters like Mayweather and Pacquiao, the importance of these numbers were huge.

Over each mans last 5 bouts, the average numbers were as follows:

Mayweather: 200 of 484 (41%), 132 power strikes landed, 140 of 608 (24%), 98 power strikes against.

Pacquiao: 211 of 605 (34%), 162 power strikes landed, 119 of 536 (22%) 90 power strikes against. (Noted that the Marquez bout ended late in the 6th round, so Mayweather has 6 full rounds of stats on Pacquiao.)

Now for the full stats from last night, which should explain just how Mayweather won the bout:

Mayweather: 148 of 435 (34%), 81 power strikes

Pacquiao: 81 of 429 (18%), 63 power strikes

To steal a quote from the original piece, “If Pacquiao is to land an average of 175 out of 606 punches (28%) against Mayweather, and Mayweather to land an average of 160 out of 510 (31%), the reputation once again of being a defensive fighter will play into Mayweather’s favor. Simply put, if Mayweather can make you miss more and land even close to what you put out, he is in good shape”

Obviously, Pacquiao fell far short of what was needed to earn the victory, and was far short from his usual offensive output, while Mayweather, while also below expected averages, was able to do what was needed. Pacquiao attempted close to 200 less strikes than his 5 fight average, while landing over 100 less. On the other hand, Mayweather attempted close to his average 5 fight output, while landing about 50 less.

Pacquiao was able to land double-digit strikes in only 3 of the 12 rounds, which will start the “Mayweather just ran” garbage again. Last I checked however, if a man back peddling can attempt and land more strikes than the man pushing forward, perhaps the issue was with the man pushing forward. Why don’t we hear the “Manny should have just rushed him and took his head off” talk? Well for starters, that would be an unneeded risk to take just to appease the crowd, you know, the same way Mayweather didn’t take any unneeded risks either. Pacquiao was the one that needed to outwork Mayweather, land more strikes and control the bout, and simply put, he did neither. He did not fight like the Pacquiao many had pictured, and that is no ones fault but their own for expecting it, as Pacquiao hasn’t been the old “Pacman” in several years.

This is the type of fight Mayweather needed to capture the victory, and should have been no surprise to anyone that this was his game-plan, as it has been for almost all of his fights in recent years. But for some reason, people feel cheated with this win, and it goes back to the title of this piece: High Excitement, Low Expectations.

Simply because it was a bout between the 2 top pound for pound fighters competing on a massive platform did not mean Mayweather was going to transform into an all out brawler just to please the masses. If anything, why are people not more angry with Pacquiao? He was the aggressive, balls to the walls fighter that fans had pegged to defeat Mayweather because of the aggressiveness, but because Mayweather did to him what he does to everyone, the blame falls on Mayweather for fighting like he always does?

Far too many media and television outlets marketed this fight as can’t miss because of the names, but failed to properly explain to the masses just who these names are. You cannot build a fight up without the proper facts to support why you are doing it. This fight was never going to be a Ward/Gatti type war, hell, it wasn’t even going to be a back and forth affair like the first 3 Pacquiao/Marquez bouts. This bout went as most boxing pundits expected, yet it fell short of expectations? But it only fell short because people placed unrealistic expectations on it.

Perhaps the most humorous part of the evening though was the this fight might have killed the sport talk, where only a week ago, this was somehow the fight to save boxing. Casual fans are always a nice boost to any fight night, the extra money brought in can never hurt and is always welcomed. But when these fans somehow feel entitled to go on rants following a fight in a sport they generally know nothing about, they are what kill the sport, not the fighters. No one forced people to drop 100 dollars on the PPV, the same way no one forced any in attendance to drop thousands on tickets. People did so with a skewed view of what to expect, and now feel like they must lash out to justify just how wrong they were in assuming something without actually, well, knowing anything.

People wanted to see the Heavyweight knockout style of bout, yet when Wladimir Klitschko defeated Bryant Jennings 2 weeks ago in New York City, there was barely a peep of the fight floating around social media beside the boxing pundits and fans. Next weekend, Middleweight star Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, the man holding 31 career knockouts in 46 bouts, takes on James Kirkland, a man with 28 career knockouts in 33 bouts, and I can almost guarantee that this bout will come nowhere near the viewers that last nights bout pulled in. The next time Terrance Crawford or Nicholas Walters enters the ring, check the numbers the next day, see how many “I want action” fans put their money, or time, where their mouth is.

So fans want nothing but action and knockouts, but only want to see them from the guys they want to see them from? Sorry folks, not how boxing, or any sport, works. Simply because you paid more for a fight does mean it HAS to live up to the expectations you have of it. Perhaps before dropping an amount of money you didn’t mind spending before, yet instantly regret spending, look into who is fighting, and more importantly, what they are as fighters. You shelling out more than usual doesn’t mean Mayweather was going to turn into a mini Mike Tyson and unleash power shot after power shot until his opponent simply cannot take anymore.

Last night might not have been the action packed, high volume bout some “expected”, but at the end of the day, these same people made both fighters 9 digit paydays, and virtually re-wrote the PPV record books. And like all Mayweather fights, fans will bitch and moan about how bad it was, then proceed to shell out PPV money just to go through the motions all over again when he fights again, like they have for the last 10 years.

If Mayweather is true to his word and his bout this coming September is his last, fans will need to find a new scapegoat to blame for not meeting their laughable expectations of every fight. And as they do, Mayweather will look at his bank account and the record books and smile. As for Pacquiao, this might have been the last time we witness the greatness of Pacquiao at this level of the sport, which is equally sad as losing Mayweather.

Boxing is a chess game. It is not all offense all the time, it is outsmarting your opponent to reach the ultimate goal: winning. No fighter owes any fan anything when they compete, no matter how much self entitlement they may heap onto their shoulders. The next time you watch any combat sport, try watching it and getting that they aren’t there for your dreams to be met, they are there for their own dreams to be fulfilled.

You may be surprised at just what you have been missing all this time.

 By: Jasyn Zangari

Credit: collateraldamagemma.com

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