Make it happen: Mayweather vs Pacquiao – The show has ended. It's good to be home and recharge the batteries after one of the great sports experiences of my life.
After what I saw and experienced in Las Vegas this past weekend, it's hard to imagine that boxing is not what it used to be. Tell that to the promoters, the sponsors, MGM Grand, or the thousands that packed the Grand Garden Arena, or the thousands more who came in to town just to be around the scene and spectacle that is fight weekend.
Tell Floyd "Money" Mayweather and Miguel Cotto and Canelo Alvarez and Shane Mosley that boxing isn't a big draw. Or better yet, tell Justin Bieber and Lil Wayne and 50 Cent. They were there to be seen just as the champ, Mayweather, wanted to be seen with them and build up his fans base.
Before there was UFC, there was prize fighting. There was Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard and Marvin Hagler and Julio Cesar Chavez, etc., etc. Today, there are still megastars in the game – Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao and soon enough if not already, Alvarez.
Critics say the lack of big-name heavyweights hurts boxing. But who needs them when the lower weights have plenty of top draws? Beyond the biggest names, look at the followings that Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Amir Khan, Sergio Martinez and Juan Manuel Marquez. These guys draw crowds and make headlines.
Boxing is still relevant. But it has to stay that way, and the easiest way to do is to make it happen. Make the fight of all fights happen, Mayweather vs. Pacquiao. Work it out. Make the deal. Set new pay-per-view buy records.
This is the fight boxing fans, hardcore and casual, want to see. The time is now, or if not this year than as soon as possible. Mayweather and Pacquiao aren't getting any younger.
Mayweather is a showman and a shrewd businessman. He's in great shape at 35, can talk the talk, can take punches (Cotto landed quite a few) and even though sometimes his personality is too much to put up with, he says it's just for show.
Bieber and the other stars who accompany him to the ring Saturday don't seem to mind Money's antics.
Any fight with Mayweather will be a entertaining, that's for sure. Imagine who might join him in walking to the ring!
Same for Pac-man. The Filipino statesman, pitchman and songbird must first get by undefeated Timothy Bradley in a WBO welterweight championship bout on June 9 in Vegas, during which Mayweather will be serving a jail term.
With Mayweather's 90-day jail sentence ending in September and Pacquiao's upcoming fight, plus the divide between the promoters as to how to split the purse – Mayweather blames Bob Arum of Top Rank for holding things up – a superfight between the two is unlikely to happen this year. But even if it happens next year, it must take place.
But while we wait, why not another major event? Canelo made certain everyone knew he wants a shot at Mayweather or Cotto. Golden Boy Promotions and Oscar de la Hoya said Alvarez is ready for it.
If Golden Boy and Mayweather can work together, as they did this past week, then they certainly can again. The question is whether Mayweather or Cotto will take the fight and a deal can be reached.
Welterweight is where it's at in boxing today, and until Mayweather and Pacquiao happens and goes down in history, that should remain so.
Sign the contract, and people will come. People will buy. They will pack the spots where there is closed-circuit TV. Regardless of ethnic background or any other difference, people will unite to see this fight.
It happened last weekend. The magic of boxing is still there.