You may have missed it, but “The Fight of the Century” happened last Saturday night when Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather squared off in a much-anticipated boxing match. If you did miss the fight, don’t worry; it was more like “The Fight of the Month” (although a few NHL enforcers might beg to differ). That disparity between hype and reality indicates something worrisome: We are a deluded people and content to be so.
Stop me if you’ve heard of any of the following: Marvin Hagler vs. Tommy Hearns, Arturo Gatti vs. Mickey Ward, “The Rumble in the Jungle,” “The Thrilla in Manila,” Mike Tyson vs. Buster Douglas, Sugar Ray Leonard, Sonny Liston, George Foreman, Joe Louis, or Jack Dempsey. Each of them is a fight or fighter from the past century, and each could make a compelling case for a “of the century” boxing label. But what does reality matter when we have the hype of this past weekend’s fight?
We have lost all sense of history, of perspective. We label things “the greatest ever,” when by “ever” we actually mean “today.” We call something the best “of the century” and forget that a century is 100 amazing years. And of course we never go back to evaluate our superlative statements to see if they were true. History doesn’t matter and we forget the present as soon as it is past.
Delusions are not limited to historical perspective; they extend to our love of hating. We adore the act of abhorring.
. . .
WorldMag.com is a paid subscription site and you can get 30 days of free access by registering with your email.