It was billed as the “Fight of the Century,” a sporting event so grand that only the NFL’s Super Bowl or the Summer Olympics could compare. After five years of verbal jousting, the most skillful boxers on the planet finally agreed to fight and the outcome was set up to be awe-inspiring.
Many adults in this generation weren’t born to witness Muhammad Ali’s classic matches such as “Rumble in the Jungle”; or they were too young to appreciate Mike Tyson’s relentless power as a 21-year-old champion; or they never saw the battles of Sugar Ray Leonard and Tommy Hearns.
Mayweather and Pacquiao were the pugilists who could rejuvenate the exciting feeling that made boxing a prime time sporting event in the 1970s and ’80s.
The promoters and MGM understood this fact and decided to add on to the hype by creating the value. The MGM Grand Arena holds a bit over 16,000, but only 500 tickets were released to the public. Ringside tickets reportedly sold for $10,000 or more.
Some hotels in Las Vegas tripled their room rates and bars charged as much as $300 to watched the fight closed circuit. Pay Per View also increased its price by selling the fight for $100 per order.
The increased value created the hype and all of the prize fighters had to do was deliver.
However, Mayweather and Pacquiao never gave the anticipating audience an event that was beyond spectacular. Pacquiao found it difficult to penetrate Mayweather’s elusiveness and defense. For those who enjoy boxing techniques, Mayweather put on a clinic. But for the casual boxing fan who waited on excitement, it never came.
Instead, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao provided an average boxing match that some may view as a glorified sparring session. Mayweather solidified his greatness with the victory and is one victory away from tying Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 record. But when history looks back on this moment, the “Fight of the Century” could be remembered as the “Fail of the Century.”