Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Still shaking my head after that Pacquiao loss

This appears on

Still SMH after that Pacquiao loss
by rick olivares

Three days after the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight, talk has not abated one bit about the outcome. In fact, the headlines are still screaming it.

Manila broadsheets initially espoused conspiracy theories backstopped by two other subplots about how Floyd received painkiller injections before the bout and how his pop admitted he thought fight was much closer.

If you go on social media, Filipinos and other fight fans are lambasting the Nevada State Athletic Commission, Max Kellerman, boxing in general, and to no surprise, Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

It leaves me shaking my head in sadness and dismay.

While I feel bad that Manny Pacquiao lost, I think generally, the people are in denial. The country’s brightest star (even if his luster has somewhat faded) lost on the biggest stage and not only has national pride been pricked but people are also coping by lashing out at anyone and anything.

It’s the Nevada State Athletic Commission! Floyd kept hugging, clinching, and running away (while conveniently forgetting that Money landed more shots than Manny). Floyd is the poster boy for everything wrong in sports today. Yadda Yadda Yadda.

We have Manny frozen in a time capsule. The scintillating boxer who after winning his trilogy with Erik Morales rolled over a who’s who of challengers. On the way to international stardom, he had his own version of a “No Mas” moment when he forced Oscar dela Hoya into quitting the fight; it is a victory that propelled him to epic heights. Yet people conveniently forget that dela Hoya was getting in on the years and was clearly not the fighter he once was. Nevertheless, from one Golden Boy to another. The result was the Philippines had its first true global icon.

He proceeded to feast on David Diaz and Ricky Hatton (who was felled by a an incredible knockout), bloodied Miguel Cotto, and bludgeoned Antonio Margarito to the point where he was not the same after.

It seemed as if the train ride was unstoppable. While fight cognoscenti noticed signs of slippage, they were still largely ignored even if he “lost” to Tim Bradley. But when you think about it, he lost significant power as he failed to bludgeon the American into submission. Had he place a beating on Bradley, he would have been undoubtedly the winner. It should be noted, however, that it was also around this time when talks of a Money-Pacman match were first floated with the former accusing the latter of taking performance enhancing drugs.

After the loss to Marquez (that I saw coming after the Mexican felt robbed in his two defeats to Pacquiao including the controversial third fight), I felt he was fed stiffs who couldn’t hold his jockstrap. The same accusation levied at Mayweather for fighting nobodies… well, I thought that he needed some confidence building fights en route to the mother of all fights (against Mayweather).

Only this was like the Joshua Clottey fight redux. Prior to that match, all the two fighters did was exchange pleasantries. While Pacquiao never gets into a war of words or taunts, his opponents sometimes do. Against Clottey it was as if they were a tag team entering a WWE match.

And right before the Mayweather match, both boxers continued to exchange pleasantries. It was Pacquiao’s camp that did the trash talking. Freddie Roach was in his element. Bob Arum threw verbal jabs as well. The media lapped it up. Pacquiao fanned the flames by saying he’d win and put on the fight of a lifetime.

It wasn’t a Clottey fight where the opponent merely put up a wall behind an endless barrage. Mayweather, who some believed he would dispense with his stick and jab then dance away routine to slug it out, stayed with his forever game plan as he boxed and outpointed Manny.

While many decry this tactic, it has been as old as the sport. If you want to look at recent champions, Muhammad Ali, the self-proclaimed “Greatest” even gave the tactic a name – “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.” Sugar Ray Leonard also had the same style. When he opted to slug it out with Roberto Duran in their first bout, he lost. In the rematch, he went back to his style and won. “Can’t hit what you can’t catch,” he said.

If you put it in basketball terms, if a team’s strength is running the fastbreak, then you want to jam that outlet pass and slow down their offense to a crawl where they are probably not as adept at a half court game.

In Mixed Martial Arts terms, if you are a wrestler, you don’t want to face a striker in the center of the ring, you want to take it to the canvass where you can force him to submit.

The shoe is on the other foot and I thought it was well played. Floyd opted for a more humble approach despite the tactics about questioning the gloves etc. on fight day. In the post-match, whether he was being truthful or not, he was praising God and saying all the right things.

I thought that Pacquiao looked not only befuddled (something I have not seen since he fought Marquez the second time) but he also look dazed. He thought he won the fight. Look at the scene immediately after the final bell. Mayweather immediately raised his arms in victory. Manny? It took him a moment before he remembered to raise his arms. And he didn’t look convinced. Listen to the MGM Grand crowd that has always been pro-Manny. They didn’t think he won either.

Personally, I don’t have anything against what Max Kellerman asked. I think he was just as stunned as everyone was but that was a question that begged to be asked as Manny said he thought he won the fight (you don’t get points for being the aggressor; you get points for shots you land and winning rounds).

Now there’s talk about Manny hurting his shoulder three weeks prior to fight day and facing possible sanctions after not revealing that he suffered that injury. Some feel deceived by that because they felt it handicapped him. But if you look at all the newspaper headlines leading up to fight night, the Pacman camp was very confident and that victory was assured. Furthermore, fighters are always fighting hurt. It is the same with athletes from all over as they suck up niggling injuries. So there it is.

I thought Floyd won it. Just like Juan Manuel Marquez did in his third meeting against Manny (that was a controversial decision that has come back to snakebite Pacman twice).

I thought that after the Clottey fight, Manny should have hung it up. But like most great athletes, they never know when to call it a career. There’s always one more fight. And usually, it is one fight more too much.

He could have been the greatest. Now after three losses in his last six matches, Manny Pacquiao is now merely among the all-time greats.

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