rem·o·ra: noun \ri-ˈmȯr-ə also ˈre-mə-rə\ - An obstacle, hindrance, or obstruction.
The week of January 16, 2012 was a glaring example of just how far into the rearview of the sports world that the real beauty of boxing had been forcibly shoved.
For those of you that call yourselves hardcore football fans, what do you think of the co-worker, friend or family member who tells you that they only watch the Super Bowl for the commercials? What do you feel when your Alma Mater wins a bowl game, but someone tells you that it was just an insignificant money grab? Let's not forget the stiffs who may irk you when they say that a basketball game can largely be ignored until the last five minutes.
Take a moment to go back and look into boxing's long and treasured past.
The true champions fought and, more to the point, fought often. Sure, there was money to be made...Lots of it. However, even when one takes inflation into account, one thing remains as clear and freeze proof as the finest Vodka: Greed, avarice, and the careless nature of the lions at the mountain's peak all but assure that we are left to survive on nothing but the proverbial scraps of the ring.
That's at least what one would think at this time.
Far be it for any of us to definitively know just what happened on the trans-Pacific phone call that is said to have taken place earlier this week between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
What we've learned (or led to believe as the Pavlovian dogs waiting for the ring-a-ding of more news as they hope we are) is that Money (and more money) Mayweather wasn't happy with the idea of an even 50/50 split of a sum greater than many jackpot prizes of multi-state lotteries. Perhaps there is something he has in mind which requires $70,000,000 or more and cannot be satisfied with a mere $50,000,000. Let's not forget the other side of the coin. Pacquiao's tribe is not cool with a May 5 date or a 16,000 capacity arena.
Guess what? Who cares. From the bottom of the pugilistic ticker, fight or just shut up and go away.
The idea of the clash to end all clashes has become not only larger than the sport itself, but a deliberate (or clueless) scene stealer as well. Sports networks across the nation cared more about a fight that grows less important day by day than the 70th birthday of not necessarily the greatest fighter who ever lived, but certainly the most famous and one of the most beloved.
Muhammad Ali lost some of the prime years of his career because he stood by his beliefs and convictions. He didn't believe in fighting a war of attrition that was in his eyes an evil undertaking. This article is not to take sides on either end of the wall.
Pacquiao and Mayweather are losing ground on making history because they just cannot seem to get the big picture...Not even the picture-in-picture.
Last Tuesday, Ali stood on a balcony overlooking the interior of the museum which bears his name in Louisville, KY. A few sports buffs seemed more concerned about yet another useless and vapid hypothetical matchup scenarios involving Muhammad Ali and past heavyweight fighters. Few seemed to care about "The Greatest", his birthday, and the mere fact that he's still with us.
Boxing scribes and purists are forgiven, as the majority did a fantastic job of recognizing the man who took on all comers in all corners of the globe. Speaking of the globe, as in planet earth, there is not a chance in it, on it, or around it that the Mayweather/Pacquiao bout takes place in Dubai, Macao, or anywhere else but Las Vegas.
For starters, Floyd doesn't want to fight anywhere else but down the street from his presidential palace. He's made that clear. Beyond that, there are no more concessions being made to places overseas, at least not for the mega fights as there were for fighters like Ali.
The "Rumble in the Jungle" wasn't fought around the Rainforest Cafe in the MGM Grand. How times have changed. Macao, for example now boasts gaming profits which at times eclipse Las Vegas. Massive hotels adorn their version of the strip. It's probably a really cool place to visit and even to watch a fight. For now, however, only scrubs fight there. Whose fault is that?
No one in particular. Rather, it's something a bit more inanimate: money, pesos, euros...whatever.
It's a sickening reality, but at the same time is America ready to wake up at 9am on a Saturday morning to watch a fight? Conversely, can Tweeter-Boy Floyd and Congressman Manny be convinced to fight at 9am on a Sunday morning so that New York and the rest of the states can watch it in primetime?
This past weekend had so much to offer; most notably, the interesting matchup that was Rico Ramos versus Guillermo Rigondeaux. The fight ended up being mostly a wash, but the undercard had some fantastic moments. Even still, the powers that be are yet so fixated on Las Vegas and a fight that may not happen at all.
Let's not forget though that one fighter made a phone call to the other.
We've been informed, to the point of dry heaving, that money and a venue are getting in the way; as if it was only so easy to settle with just those two issues.
Floyd told Manny that although less than an even split of the purse would still make him more than he's ever made in his career...perhaps the artist formerly known as PBF failed to notice that the same is true for him as well.
For now, let's think of simply clicking pause on this soap opera nonsense and embrace the sport that will be just fine when they are no longer part of it.
What a day that will be.