GENERAL SANTOS, Philippines – In many ways, Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao share many things in common.
They both grew up in a dysfunctional family.
Pacquiao’s parents were estranged and Mayweather’s were hooked into drugs.
Both lived in the squalor of poverty and made boxing their ticket out of it.
Perhaps, Mayweather was luckier. He went on to box in the Olympics, a dream Pacquiao never got to realize.
They eventually rose to overcome their troubled and deprived childhood to become boxing’s most bankable stars to add to their impressive and Hall of Fame-bound accomplishments.
At some point, they got drowned by their successes. They gambled. They womanized. For Pacquiao, he added booze.
Making up for their childhood depravity, they now surround themselves with dozens of newfound friends, hangers on and burly security.
They become the celebrities they dreamed all their lives.
They now travel in style. Live in opulence and extravagance.
They share the same stage. The same fame. The same exaltation as boxing’s best.
One found his way to a new religiosity as they approached the end of their illustrious careers. The other tamed (at least for this fight) his ranting.
Now they come to a point where their parallel struggles and successes became their shared fate and destiny.
In a twist of fate that many wished should have happened half a decade ago, they will share the same stage and spotlight – for their own personal ‘Battle for Greatness’ – in a few hours.
Yes the countdown now begins.
While many consider both of them greats in their own right, one will become the first among equals when they clash Saturday, May 2 (Sunday, May 3 Philippine time).
The parallels in their career and personal paths will also end Sunday when these great men of two contrasting styles trade more than just punches but also strategy and tactics.
Their own version of the Fight of the Century will settle which one takes the lead in their journey to boxing’s eternal greatness.
Each will want to score that decisive and indisputable victory.
This one is for their career legacies to complete.
We were taught in our algebra that parallel lines never meet.
Algebra is exact science.
Boxing is not.
It is sweet science.
Sometimes, it also defies exact science.
Like how can a good big guy lose to a good small guy?
Yes, Mayweather will come in the bigger guy on Sunday. Much bigger than his official weight of 146 lbs to Pacquiao’s 145.
When they will rehydrate in the next 24 hours, the weight disparity will become even more obvious to the cameras and the naked eyes.
Conventional wisdom says the undefeated is better than one who already has 5 losses and who has his 3 of those defeats by the count out.
The betting odds in the City of One-Armed Bandits have one a 2-1 favorite for the immaculate-clean record of Mayweather.
But 4 of 6 boxing fans say the underdog will win.
Now, that is defying science.
The demeanor of the 2 protagonists during the weigh in early this morning is exactly the opposite of their betting favors.
On being the smaller guy, Pacquiao has this to say, “I have been fighting guys bigger than me – Margarito, de la Hoya. It does not matter.”
In physics, size matter.
But in boxing, the bigger they are the harder they fall. That is about the only law on physics that boxing totally agrees.
Physics has mathematics in it.
Algebra is a branch of mathematics.
But tomorrow the parallels will finally meet to defy Algebra, Math and whatever laws on exact science there are. – Rappler.com