At least, there’s the promise of a dogfight
There was a monumental mismatch early Thursday in the Fiba Asia series in Beirut that saw a gallantly soaring Philippine Gilas national team fall in fragments against old rival South Korea. An air of doom and disbelief engulfed Metro Manila. But many pundits, who refused to stay up for the early morning match, ended up congratulating themselves for grandly missing the massacre suffered by the Philippine national basketball squad.
Actually, there was great excitement at home after Gilas stopped defending champion China on opening day, before scoring two more big wins to top its group. The game against South Korea had been expected to produce classy competition—at least.
Sorry, no exciting skirmish, no fight, no class. No big story to tell, no thanks to unstable Gilas, which suddenly goofed, fell flat on its face, despite great preparations and big expectations at home.
Dumbfounded team handlers could not explain what happened.
Out in Las Vegas, there seemed no doubt in Floyd Mayweather’s mind that he would win his forthcoming showdown with mixed martial arts (MMA) star Conor McGregor. What Floyd Jr. did not want to continue hearing was the resounding sneer that says the monumental bout would be a colossal mismatch.
Truth is there had seemed no way McGregor could cope, based on the accepted boxing rules to be used on Aug. 26 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Mayweather, as expected, zoomed early as the outstanding favorite, with some sectors suggesting the unbeaten boxing superstar would try to carry McGregor in the opening rounds in order to leave room for a possibly colorful contest. They could not imagine how the Irishman known as Notorious could be fully competitive in his first official boxing match, when he could not even mount a decent jabbing setup.
Listen, please. The encounter, which started off sounding like a big joke, a con game, has slowly and steadily gotten hot, with latest charts promising records both in live gate and pay-per-view sales.
The press tour for the combined contest in two different disciplines had seen the loudest, the foulest barking war in the history of combat sports.
Meanwhile, McGregor, complaining he has not been given due credit for his achievements, has also started stealing the fancy of the fight public, mainly after the showing of his training and press preview by ESPN.
Said McGregor, who claimed the fight would not go past four rounds: “The one who takes a first step back loses, taking a step back is the first defeat.”
Countered Mayweather: “He says the fight won’t go past four rounds, so let it be a four-round fight.” Mayweather said McGregor wins if the fight goes the distance.
Mayweather would also admit McGregor to be younger, taller, bigger and, yes stronger. But he was quick to assure he would prevail with his skills, control, experience and overall know-how.
Through all the insults, the swearing, the fierce verbal clawing, it’s easy to believe there could, at least, be an explosive bout, a dogfight in Las Vegas on Aug. 26.
Here’s hoping the bite will be lot harder than the bark.
May the public end up a big winner now; and not again victim of a dud which Mayweather delivered when he faced Manny Pacquiao in 2015.
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