UNLESS he has officially inked a contract to fight, a professional boxer should be prohibited from taking his “wars”to the internet. It degrades the sport when a grown man who claims to be the best fighter in the planet throws “punches” behind a computer keyboard and then sheepishly backs out when the recipient of his taunts challenges him to a real fight.
Make no mistake, trash-talking is not new in boxing. It’s actually a time-tested strategy to get into the head of the opposing fighter and throw him off his rhythm come fight time. In June 1980, Panamanian Roberto Duran drew the ire of Sugar Ray Leonard when he saluted the American fighter using the dirty finger and called the latter’s wife a whore. Come fight time, Leonard abandoned his pre-fight strategy and rumbled with Duran at close range. As he fell into the trap of Duran, Leonard was outgunned in 15 rounds and absorbed his first professional defeat.
Yet another fighter known for giving his foes a saliva-bashing before they touch gloves is Muhammad Ali. Ali is the most creative trash-talker, composing poems to predict his foe’s demise. Nobody can ever forget the classic line Ali uttered in 1975, just before he took on Joe Frazier in Manila for the world heavyweight championship: “It’s gonna be a thrilla of a killa when I get the gorilla in Manila!”
For all their acerbic words, however, Ali and Duran backed them up by actually rubbing mitts with the subjects of their provocations. Duran fought Leonard three times and Ali did the same thing with Frazier. These days, with the advent of the internet, boxers have acquired the unsavory (and cowardly) habit of throwing verbal jabs via the social network. Worse, the verbal tirades are made without a contract to fight being signed.
Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s verbal tirades on Pacquiao would be relatively understandable if he made them after agreeing to fight the Filipino. This would create the impression that Mayweather is only trying to promote the bout. Heck, Pacquiao would have no problem with the insults knowing fully well that once the bell rings, he would have the final word. But such is not the case with Mayweather, who insults Pacquiao and then comes up with excuses when challenged to a fight.
Mayweather has called Pacquiao by many names and unfortunately for Pacquiao he has no means to retaliate. Of course, that was until he concocted the perfect reply by offering to fight Mayweather for free; with all the proceeds going to charity. Such a response from Pacquiao is classic trash-talking, but one coated with class. If Pacquiao has no public image to protect, he being a congressman and a Bible preacher, the ‘Pacman’ would be matching Mayweather’s taunts word-for-word, albeit in the vernacular. By including the words “free” and “charity” in his reply, Pacquiao was able to put a decent spin on his brand of trash-talking.
Clearly, Pacquiao has had enough of Mayweather’s antics and he just had to fire back, but not in a manner that would have him stooping down to the level of the American. Offering to fight Mayweather for free and for charity makes for the ideal statement as it all the more paints Pacquiao as the good guy in his rivalry with Mayweather.
Is Pacquiao serious in his offer to fight Mayweather for free? Offering to fight for free is easy when you know that it is still subject to the acceptance of the other boxer. Whether he is serious or not about the offer, Pacquiao just placed the burden on Mayweather, who now finds himself backed against the ropes and groping for words. This is the idea behind Pacquiao’s reply; to shut up Mayweather’s mouth even for a fleeting moment.
Will Mayweather accept the offer? Don’t bet on it. Let’s get real, this is pro boxing otherwise known as the punch-for-pay business. No fighter will risk life and limb in the ring for nothing, not even for a beggar’s pittance. You want another reason why Mayweather won’t accept the offer? His nickname happens to be 'Money.'