The people of Mexico can’t seem to catch a break these days.
Just 72 hours before Mexican Independence Day (today), Mexicans saw their people water-cannoned by Federales and their people’s champ soundly bested live in front of tens of millions of viewers.
The 23-year-old Mexican boxer Saúl Álvarez, better known as “Canelo,” was convincingly outboxed on Saturday night by Floyd “Money” Mayweather, the loudmouthed legend 13 years older. With most of the Latino community behind Canelo, for the obvious reason, but also because Canelo’s recognized as rising talent, Mayweather proved maybe once and for all why he’s considered the pound-for-pound king of boxing.
Mayweather was forced to put on weight before the fight in order to qualify for the junior middleweight bout. While both fighters made weight on Friday, on fight night Canelo had shot back up to 165 lbs. whereas Mayweather weighed no more than 150. Canelo was visibly much bigger than the short and always lean Mayweather.
But from the sound of the first bell to the ringing of the final one, Mayweather had his way with his less experienced opponent. Canelo struggled to connect the whole fight, and when he did, Mayweather shrugged off the punches with a wide smile. The Mexican seemed to slow down and his face displayed more and more cuts as the fight progressed. At one point Canelo just stood still with his hands up as Mayweather put on a punching clinic for the 16,000+ fight fans in attendance at the MGM Grand.
Mayweather, on the other hand, remained his bouncy, “Pretty Boy” self after 12 rounds.
CompuBox recorded 232 of 505 punches landed (46 percent) by Mayweather and only 117 of 526 punches landed (22 percent) by Canelo.
The judges’ majority decision was laughable. While two of the judges scored the fight for the clear winner, judge C.J. Ross turned over a score of 114-114. (You may remember Ross as one of the two judges who infamously gave Timothy Bradley Jr. a win against Manny Pacquiao.)
I know boxing’s just a sport, but I think we can learn something from this fight and its aftermath.
Even before the fight was over, when Mayweather was toying with Canelo by keeping his hands low and landing jabs at will, I wondered how Canelo’s fans could’ve been so deluded in their predictions. Had Latino pride convinced millions of Latinos that Canelo would be the one to finally silence Mayweather, even though Canelo turned out to be clearly outmatched?
If millions of Latinos were wrong about the Canelo-Mayweather fight, what else might race pride be wrong about?
Race pride has been a major part of boxing for over a century, long before my dad and grandpa screamed at the TV set between sips of rum and coke. White fighters, black fighters, Italian fighters, Irish fighters, Jewish fighters and Latino fighters have always been the pride (or the heartache) of the communities they’re meant to be fighting for.
It even happens within the Latino community itself. Whenever the best of Puerto Rico is matched against the best of Mexico, Puerto Ricans root for and bet on their man with as much fervor and confidence that Mexicans do for their guy.
But nothing disillusions better than a heartbreaking loss.
If we’d looked past our Latino pride hard-ons, we would’ve remembered that Mayweather is a living legend in the world of boxing, that he’s lifted championship belts in a handful of weight classes, and that he’s known as the best pound-for-pound because he trains hard and boxes his ass off.
But instead of admitting Mayweather’s greatness, instead of being ashamed of believing Canelo would win just because he’s Mexican, too many Latinos took to social media to say the most ignorant and hateful things about the victor, calling Mayweather everything from “pinche negro” to “fried chicken eating ass” and “cara de monkey.”
For many Latinos, this wasn’t a simple boxing match — it was a race war, live on Pay-Per-View.
So while they definitely weren’t pretty sights, the events of Independence Day weekend can teach all Latinos a little lesson in hubris. We may think we come from the greatest countries on earth, we might believe we’re part of the best race that ever was, and we probably think our guy will win because he’s like us, but reality has a way of punching us in the face.
[Photo: Wikimedia Commons]