Pacman in Abu Dhabi? We can only hope
Having the seven-weight world champion fight in Abu Dhabi would be a huge coup. But to make it a world event, we need to attract an opponent, too.
July 18, 2010 3:31 by Samuel Potter
Potentially great news for sports fans in the UAE this week, and for the UAE itself, as the National reports that the Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao could be considering a fight in Abu Dhabi in November.
According to the report the seven-weight world champion – considered to be the best pound-for-pound boxer alive by most, and one of the best-ever by many – has been unable to reach agreement with Floyd Mayweather Junior, his most famous contemporary rival. A match-up between the pair is desperately wanted by boxing fans across the world and would be most likely to occur in the US, but Pacquiao’s promoter says the Mayweather camp has failed to respond to negotiation attempts. It means he will start to look for a new opponent for Pacquiao, as well as a venue, and a week ago discussions were held in Abu Dhabi about staging a November fight there.
Attracting the world’s greatest boxer to fight in the city would do wonders for its already burgeoning global profile. Added to global sports spectacles like the Formula One Grand Prix, the recent UFC fights, and FIFA’s World Club Cup, it would help the city on its way to a reputation as a real global player. It’s good for the city, the country and the people, in Kipp’s view.
But to make Pacquiao’s presence a global event, he has to be fighting someone the world would pay to see. Abu Dhabi needs to find a rival who could potentially match the Filipino’s draw. After all, the greatest international fights of all time featured Muhammad Ali, yes, but they featured him against two other great fighters in George Foreman and Joe Frazier. Abu Dhabi needs the equivalent.
In short, it needs Floyd Mayweather. And as one of the richest cities on the planet, the capital is uniquely placed to make this happen where others have failed. The five-weight champion has failed to even respond to Pacquiao’s attempts to agree a deal this time round, but there is always a way to get Mayweather’s attention: The man who calls himself “Money” is a sucker for cold hard cash. If Abu Dhabi really wants a world spectacle, it needs to offer both fighters a prize they can’t resist.
Once Floyd is on board, the only thing left will be to sort a moniker for the fight. It’s essential if you want the bout to really go down in history. You have the product, but you need the branding. Even non-sporting, non-boxing fans have heard of the Thrilla in Manila and the Rumble in the Jungle. We’d need one for this colossal Abu Dhabi showdown. How about Beaters in the Heater? Hands in the Sands? The MidEast Maelstrom? Gulf War III?
Ok, maybe Kipp needs to think about it for a while…