As good a time as any to interrupt normal programming
The Bermuda Cricket Board announced two key decisions this week. One was to confirm that the overinflated Belco Cup of 2014 will revert to its more favourable format. And the other was to remove Fiqre Crockwell, or accept his request for withdrawal, from the Bermuda squad that leaves today for the ICC Americas Division One Twenty20 Championship in Indianapolis.
That it took so long for the benefit of hindsight to come to the fore is now irrelevant. Correct decisions have been made and the hope is that the BCB has been armed with an “accountability angel”, who can step in and say, “Hold on, fellas” before the heart gets to rule over the head.
Pragmatism and passion. Passion and pragmatism.
“My heart says ..., but my head says ...”
Where have we heard that before?
How many ever conversations are held this weekend, sport or otherwise, it will be almost impossible to get too far away from the words “Mayweather” and “Pacquiao”.
“You see the fight last night?” “Some fight.”
And from the very casual sports fan, and we are being kind to those who departed Earth for a novel concept called sleep: “Who won the fight last night?”
Floyd Mayweather Jr versus Manny Pacquiao has been a mega-bout in the making for the past five years and at about midnight tomorrow the waiting will be over. This promises to be the only event this year to make the entire sports world stop — hence its appearance in this space normally reserved for feats of Bermuda and Bermudian-based athletes and administrators.
The clash of personalities and the clash of styles are what make this bout the must-see event of 2015, notwithstanding that these are two sporting legends who have been at the top of their craft for the past decade and longer
Could they be any different?
Mayweather, the brash American from an underprivileged background, has outboxed everyone he has faced in the paid ranks — 47 times, 25 for world titles — and rightly holds the mythical but much prized title of pound-for-pound best in the world.
He flaunts his money, makes no apologies for doing so and would throw his own father to the curb if its suits his purposes (for the record, he has been there and done that, but for the time being, all is well again in the Mayweather family).
Pacquiao, the universally loved Filipino, is a hero in his country and officially a voice for the little man now that he has been elected to congress in the Sarangani province of the Philippines. It is fitting that he has made his climb through the ranks from being a slightly built flyweight at the 112lb limit to the 147lb welterweight class, where Pacquiao’s WBO title and Mayweather’s WBC, WBA and Ring titles are on the line.
Latterly, Pacquiao has endured a few stumbles, including a horrifically brutal knockout defeat by Juan Manuel Márquez in December 2012, but he has made a timely return to form so that the self-styled “Greatest Fight Of All Time” can be seen as much more than a money spinner. Much more.
The Money Man versus the Pac-Man. The Best Ever versus The Destroyer. Good versus Evil.
Every story needs a villain — and Mayweather is that in this matchup. Undeniably so. But boxing needs him more than the other way around and he will go down in the record books for all the right reasons, whatever Saturday’s outcome of the richest fight in history.
The expected pay-per-view sales and the boxers’ purses combined would wipe a sizeable chunk out of the national debt that has so poisoned the political climate in Bermuda.
To the match at hand, Pacquiao will be required to be at his very best just to stand a chance — odds against of 15-8 are not there for no reason. More pertinently, the odds against a Pacquiao points win (9-2) and those against a stoppage win (5-1) being virtually the same suggest that the Filipino may need a knockout to hand Mayweather his first defeat as a professional.
That requires hitting the fabulously elusive Mayweather, who has made a career of redefining the defensive arts, no matter what criticism might come his way.
Pacquiao with the lightning-fast hands; Mayweather with the lightning-fast reflexes. The prospects are mouthwatering.
The last time public opinion against Mayweather was so split, whether along subconsciously racial lines, nationality or simply because “I just don’t like him”, he won a split decision over Oscar De La Hoya, the “Golden Boy”, when it was patently clear that the African-American rather than the Mexican-American was the dominant force on the night.
That said, do not be surprised should Pacquiao put up a better fight than an overmatched De La Hoya did if Las Vegas revisits its infamous past of curious decisions becoming curiouser.
Cue “The Rematch”.
So to our view, and decisions to do with the heart and the head.
It is very difficult to be heartfelt about either man, considering the fortunes that are on offer — roughly $180 million for Mayweather and $120 million for Pacquiao before add-ons — so this will have to be one for the head only.
Mayweather on points.
Cue “I retire.”
Cue “The Rematch”.
And in other news, Malachi Jones was dropped from the Bermuda cricket team for being unfit. Who?