Floyd Mayweather texted his personal reporter, Stephen A. Smith, and said that he would love a rematch with Manny Pacquiao after Pacquiao recovers from surgery on a torn rotator cuff that apparently impacted his fighting ability during what was billed as one of the biggest fights of all-time, between two of the best of all-time, and cost $100 to rent.
There are now countless stories about how Pacquiao, who was apparently legitimately hurt, kept his injury from, well, everyone, including the Nevada State Athletic Commission when he filled out a questionnaire the day before the fight and failed to disclose his serious shoulder injury. It wasn’t until two hours before the fight that he let them know, when he requested permission (denied) to take a painkiller.
Barry Petschesky at Deadspin wrote about the implications of Pacquiao’s nondisclosure on legal (and illegal) gambling operations. But what about the fraud perpetrated on the millions of people who ordered the event? Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports writes about the potential legal ramifications:
Have no doubt that there will be lawsuits filed by fans who paid extraordinarily inflated prices, which will not only make Mayweather and Pacquiao rich but which lined the pockets of the promoters and the casino, as well.
They’ll argue they didn’t get what they paid for, and they have a point. That said, injuries are a part of sports and the small print on all boxing sales posters says “card subject to change.”
Bullshit. Injuries are a part of sports, but in almost every other instance, the viewer or fan goes into the event knowing that they could play a part and affect participants, whether team or individual sport. Boxing is different. The whole point is to determine which finely-tuned athlete, who has spent months training for an event, is better. The expectation is that there are no major injuries, otherwise a fighter, like Pacquiao, who ostensibly was competing to win a title (but really just for the money), would postpone a match until they were at or near 100%, an option not afforded competitors in sports with more traditional and fixed competition schedules. There’s also the fact that other sporting events are typically available to most fans through basic cable packages, not to those only willing to pay $100 for a one-hour (max!) fight. There’s got to be a different standard there, especially when the event is billed as “the best fighting the best,” as Mayweather put it, and competitors reap a reported nine-figures(!), each. I’m not really a boxing fan, but, like many others, the allure of watching two of the sport’s best made the decision to rent the fight an easy one. But we were sold a bill of goods. In other sports, even when certain events are hyped as a showdown of the “league’s best” or “sport’s best,” the viewer is still presented with what was advertised– a fair competition. And though injuries and other unknown factors come into play all the time in sports, the expectation is different in prize fights. Mayweather-Pacquiao was akin to the Masters being a one-day event between Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth, only if organizers forgot to tell people that McIlroy had a broken leg but still charged viewers $100 anyway. It was a fraud, plain and simple. Yet the fight’s promoters still have the balls to threaten legal action against platforms and individuals who live-streamed the fight. And now comes the inevitable drumbeat for a rematch, which undoubtedly will cost the same, if not more, to rent. No thanks.