They say believe nothing you hear, and only half of what you see. How much of what we’re hearing out of the Mayweather-Pacquiao camps should affect our boxing picks for the Fight of the Century?
Have we reached peak silliness yet with the Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight? This past Wednesday, Pacquiao went on Jimmy Kimmel’s talk show and sang his new song with Kimmel: “Lalaban Ako Para Sa Filipino.” It was… strangely heartwarming. And it’s going to sound even stranger when Pacquiao comes out to this weepy ballad on May 2 at the MGM Grand.
Surely this means that we should put Mayweather in our boxing picks instead. Then again, Mayweather is expected to be brought to the ring by Justin Bieber, who may or may not sing his entrance music. Even if we’re spared that experience, will the “Bieber Curse” strike Mayweather this time, as it has for everyone from the Pittsburgh Steelers to Spain’s national soccer team?
No. No, it won’t. There is no Bieber Curse, and Pacquiao isn’t going to be less effective in the ring just because he didn’t come out to a more aggressive theme song, perhaps something by Enya. But let’s keep digging and see what other shenanigans are happening in the run-up to the Fight of the Century.
Must I Paint You a Picture?
If aggression is your top criterion for making your sports picks, here’s another reason to bet on Mayweather. He’s got a painting up in the locker room of his newly renovated gym, featuring Mayweather punching Pacquiao in the face and leaving him in smithereens. The painting was done by the Art Mobb, and was given to Mayweather by his friend Isaiah Thomas of the Boston Celtics. In February, Mayweather gave Thomas a $200,000 Bentley. That was quite friendly of him. Does he know Pacquiao is a Celtics fan? Pac-Man made sure his 2012 fight against Timothy Bradley wouldn’t start until after Game 7 of Boston’s Eastern Conference final versus the Miami Heat.
I Know Kung Fu
Pacquiao’s got plenty of friends, too. On Thursday, Pac-Man posted a photo on his Facebook account, featuring himself, his wife, and Keanu Reeves, who had dropped by Pacquiao’s home in Los Angeles. “Thank you Keanu Reeves for visiting me and my wife Jinkee. God Bless you always,” the caption read. Pacquiao also took the time this week to applaud Tim Tebow for getting another crack at the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles. Tebow had visited Pacquiao’s training camp last month to watch him spar. Pac-Man’s message: “Congratulations Tim Tebow and God Bless. Keep working hard.”
A Really Big Shoe
Because you can never have too much advertising, the daily fantasy sports people at FanDuel say they’ve bought the rights to have their name printed on the belt line of Mayweather’s boxing trunks for the Big Fight. As part of the deal, FanDuel is also giving away six tickets for the fight, with a face value of $10,000 apiece. Plus you get a meet-and-greet with the Money Man himself. Meanwhile, Reebok will continue to get completely free advertising as Mayweather’s preferred brand of footwear. According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, Pacquiao will be wearing his usual sponsors on his trunks: Nike, Cafe Puro and Air Asia, among others.
Swifter, Higher, Older
Mayweather might not have had a pleasant experience at the Olympics, where he had to settle for the bronze in the 1996 Atlanta Games after getting hosed by the judges. But Pacquiao never even got to fight in the Olympics after turning pro at the tender age of 16. Now that Olympic boxing is no longer restricted to amateur athletes, Pac-Man wants to attend next year’s games in Rio de Janeiro. Unfortunately, the International Boxing Association has announced a limit of 20 professional fights for anyone who wants to qualify for the Olympics. Pacquiao had his 20th pro fight in 1997.