Philippines, 28 Nov 2022
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Hayashi Hopes Mayweather and Pacquiao Live Up to "Fight of Century" Expectations

LOS ANGELES--Like any other fan around the world who lives and breathes boxing, Kazumichi Hayashi hopes to see Floyd Mayweather engage Manny Pacquiao in a type of fight befitting the billing "Fight of the Century" on May 2 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

If he had his wish granted, the 70-year-old Hayashi would want to see a classical match that could match the intensity of some of the most unforgettable wars in history and not a boring fight devoid of fireworks and excitement.

"Floyd should not be scared to lose. He may still be perfect in his professional career but he is not like (Roberto) Duran, (Sugar Ray) Leonard or (Muhammad) Ali," said Hayashi. "The greatest fighters in history have all lost at one point in their careers but overcame these losses to become some of the game's greatest legends because the crowds loved them," he added.

Hayashi likes both Mayweather and Pacquiao's chances of winning because both are highly skilled, deft and adroit enough to put up a spectacle like the all-time Marvin Hagler-Thomas Hearns classic, among other notable fights in recent memory.

However, he appreciates fighters he calls "spirit" warriors. These are the fighters who put up a show and perform spirited acts of skillful boxing but still emerge victorious despite the dangers of the trade and the drama they generate. Hayashi traveled to the Philippines last year, wishing to see Pacquiao in training in his native General Santos City as a form of pilgrimage and was not disappointed with what he saw.

"Both men should do this for all of the fans, as an offering or homage to all of boxing," said Hayashi. A letdown would be in the form of a boring fight where one fighter would not participate in the "dance" and try to make it as boring as possible.

Pacquiao's style--his gameness and reckless abandon--appeals much to Hayashi's taste, that is why he fancies the Filipino's big fighting heart in every bout he has been into, whether he wins or loses.

Kazumichi, as he is fondly called by everyone, is the exclusive distributor in Los Angeles of Japan-based boxing training equipment company Winning. He is also a journalist and a photographer, one who has seen them all, rubbed elbows with most of boxing's "royalty," from Ali to Leonard, Oscar De La Hoya and even the younger generation of fighters like Gennady "GGG" Golovkin. His office in Redondo Beach is adorned with photographs of some of the great fighters, which includes both Pacquiao and Mayweather, flanked by with his wife Junko.

He has traveled around the world to be with the likes of Mike Tyson, Marco Antonio Barrera and Julio Cesar Chavez and still has a vivid memory of all of the glory days of boxing. Slowed down by a life-saving operation recently, Kazumichi will have to watch the fight on cable TV come fight night.

"There is even a greater possibility that Rocky Marciano could lose a match at one point if he did not die in a plane crash especially because he was fighting in the heavyweight division," said Hayashi. Marciano had a 49-0 record with 43 of them ending by a knockout. Hayashi, a former boxer, can recall trinkets of trivia when the unsinkable Tyson was flattened by a Buster Douglas haymaker in Tokyo in 1990.

Ali, who is considered by many as the greatest of them all or the best ever, has fought some of the biggest and meanest heavyweights ever including "Big" George Foreman and "Smokin" Joe Frazier, whom he faced in a timeless trilogy ending with the "Thrilla in Manila" in 1975.

What made Ali the greatest to a horde of fans was how he bounced back from losses to Frazier, Ken Norton and Leon Spinks, among others.

Hayashi knows Pacquiao will come to fight like a fearless samurai giving it all out with "spirit" on May 2. "That's why I like Pacquiao," said Hayashi, who is hoping that Mayweather will make it more interesting should he decide to mix it up and come up with a more sterling performance like how the all-time greats have done in the past.

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Winchell Campos.

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