Tonight is going to be, as far as I’m concerned, the biggest night in boxing for 2014.
Manny Pacquiao, one-time Ring Magazine‘s pound-for-pound king and hero to Asian and Asian American boxing fans everywhere, is squaring off against Timothy Bradley Jr. in a hotly-anticipated rematch bout. Boxing fans will remember the highly-controversial first fight between Pacquiao and Bradley, which resulted in a 115-113 split decision in favour of Bradley by judges despite near-universal agreement by ring-side journalists and fans that Pacquiao won the fight (I was among those who felt Pacquiao was robbed). Notably, both judges who scored the fight in favour of Bradley — Duane Ford and CJ Ross — are now no longer active judges in the sport; Ross famously “stepped down” after handing over another absurd scorecard in the Mayweather-Canelo fight last year.
Tonight, Pacquiao and Bradley are calling a do-over of their first match in Pacquiao-Bradley 2 (HBO PPV, starting 9pm EST). And, the casual observer may assume that tonight will be a redemption for Pacquiao; however, the events of the intervening year since Pacquiao-Bradley I strongly suggest that tonight will go a different way.
Tonight is likely to mark the end of the Pacquiao era.
I’m not usually a huge sports fan — I’m one of the few Asian American bloggers who didn’t weight in on Linsanity (or Linsanity, part 2) because I don’t watch basketball. But, I make an exception for boxing, which I’ve been into for a few years. Those of you who are boxing fans (and perhaps all of you who are Filipino/Filipino-American, whether or not you watch boxing) are aware that this weekend is a big date in boxing: Manny Pacquiao, a major athletic figure turned Filipino congressman, is scheduled to stage a comeback this Saturday.
Those of you who followed Pacquiao’s recent rise to boxing stardom — Pacsanity? — which culminated in him being named Ring Magazine‘s pound-for-pound best fighter in 2009, (temporarily displacing boxing superstar and anti-Asian racist Floyd Mayweather) might also remember Pacquiao’s more recent fall from grace. After a controversial scorecard defeat at the hands of the talented but unknown Timothy Bradley last year, Pacquiao suffered a second and unprecedented total knockout in his fourth match-up against Juan Manuel Marquez — a fight that most fans thought would be tough victory for Pacquiao but one that would erase the bad memories of the Bradley loss.
The question foremost on all our minds on the night of Pacquiao-Marquez 4 was: is this the end for Manny Pacquiao in boxing?
Since 2001, Reappropriate has been the web's foremost Asian American activism, identity, feminism, and pop culture blog!