Philippines, 28 Nov 2022
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Can Mayweather-Pacquiao Equal Hagler-Hearns Classic From 30 Years Back?

LOS ANGELES--It's almost 30 years to the day when "Marvelous" Marvin Hagler and Thomas "The Hitman" Hearns performed one of the most beautiful dances of death atop a boxing ring. That fight has been and still is a yardstick of how fights could either be great, mediocre or a boring one.

The question lingers: Can Floyd "Money" Mayweather Jr. make it as classical or at least match one of the best three rounds of boxing history when he faces certified crowd-pleaser Manny Pacquiao?

We will get the answers on May 2 when these two megastars would do their own version of the "dance," which is expected to be one of the biggest sports spectacles in history. Their stage: the MGM Grand Garden Arena, beamed worldwide via HBO and Showtime.

It takes two to tango, so they say, but Dancing With The Stars former contestant Mayweather has proven to shy away from big punchers like Saul "Canelo" Alvarez and Miguel Cotto, scoring one power punch in every 23 and 17 seconds, on the average, per round, respectively (according to CompuBox).

Pacquiao, however, has always been the Mr. Excitement of boxing or the "People's Champion," a more endearing title accorded to him by most fans rather than the subjective "Best Pound-for-Pound" title attached to Mayweather's name. Pacquiao tries his best in all of his fights to please the crowd, dishing out punishment and taking punches, even to his detriment.

Can Mayweather slam-dance with Pacquiao so the world can see a duplicate of Hagler-Hearns of April 15, 1985?

Promoter Bob Arum isn't sure if Mayweather would come out to please the crowds or try to preserve his "47 and 0" record, and decide to dance out of harm's way like the nifty Nutcracker.

"Floyd has always been a technical fighter. If he continues to fight technically, and will not engage, then we might not see a Hagler-Hearns classic," said Arum.

"Manny and Floyd do not dislike each other that much," added Arum, who recalls how he used to jump tables to avert a rumble erupting between Hagler and Hearns's camps, yelling much to break a scuffle.

"We had a long press tour. We had a 23-city tour throughout the US and Marvin and Thomas just developed a dislike for each other," said Arum. "Come fight night, they just went at each other," he recalled.

Each second of that battle was action-packed, from opening bell up until Hagler knocked out Hearns in the third round despite him bleeding likewise from Hearns's powerful exchanges. "We had two Americans fighting for a world title. This time, we have an American and a non-American who, surprisingly, is loved by most Americans," said Arum.

But Pacquiao may have other motivations, even if Mayweather decides to run and not engage. He will surely want to humble the unbeaten fighter who calls himself "TBE" (The Best Ever).

First, Pacquiao was a victim of Mayweather's foul and various rants, some racial slurs, even sowing malicious and false claims that Pacquiao was using steroids and performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) in the past, so that the Filipino could win bouts and break records in collecting titles in eight weight divisions.

Pacquiao sued all those who tried to tarnish his image including Mayweather Jr. and Sr. and an out-of-court- settlement has been reached, thereby exonerating himself.

During their recent one-on-one meeting, after the Miami Heat home game in Miami, Pacquiao just hid his dislike for Mayweather when the Michigan native came to his hotel suite to discuss the fight and make things happen.

"He always stressed he is the A-side of all things. Not just once, but at almost every turn, he would say, 'because I am the A-side'," said Pacquiao. "He could also be the B-side or the C-side, for all I care."

Pacquiao acceded, agreed and swallowed his pride and let Mayweather's ego run the show throughout the negotiations. Pacquiao agreed to most of Mayweather's demands, even accepting a lower share of the revenues, just to make this fight happen.

"We will show him how David slew the giant Goliath in this fight," said Pacquiao. Of course, David, the meek shepherd, is likened to Pacquiao's mild demeanor, who will attempt to slay the flamboyant and proud champion.

Winchell Campos, a mainstay of Team Pacquiao since Pacquiao's early days in the U.S., is the author of "Pacquiao," the official biography of Manny Pacquiao -- Ed.

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

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