Tuesday, 21 April 2015

The most valuable activity of the human race

In a free world, the price of anything is a reflection of its true worth to people. Something is valued high if it is important to a lot of people. It is valued low if its not so important - OK you can quibble about supply and demand, but in the end, value is a reflection of the worth in which people hold it.

What can you then make of the "fight of the century" that is taking place on May 2nd. Floyd Mayweather versus Manny Pacquiao. A fight between two of the finest boxers of their generation. The usual outlandish hype and outrageous build up , that is predictable for every major boxing match, is on display in ample measure. Where else will it be held, but in the most over the top place on earth - Las Vegas.  I don't know about the "fight of the century", but it certainly is the richest fight in history.

Each boxer is expected to make upwards of $ 100 million for the fight. Yes, one hundred million dollars. Perhaps nearer $ 150 m. To give you a perspective, the next highest paid sportsman in the world - Cristiano Ronaldo - makes $ 80m in a year. The highest paid CEO of any company in the world , Charif Souki of Cheniere Energy Inc made $ 142 million in a year. And these two boxers are going to make probably $100-$150 m for one fight.

Of all the revenue streams, the biggest will be pay per view subscription for watching the bout on TV. The price  just for watching the one fight is likely to be $ 90. Ninety dollars for sitting on your couch to watch a max of 12 rounds. 3 million Americans are expected to sign up.

There is nothing in the sporting world, in any sport, that can remotely match the earnings of this fight. Come to think of it, there is nothing in any field of human endeavour that came come close to this level of money. Let us assume that the bout will last an hour (it could even last 3 seconds but we'll be charitable). That's a gross revenue of $ 500 m in one hour. Walmart the largest company in the world, in comparison makes a measly $50 m in an hour. Yes, I know this is not a sensible comparison, but you get my point.  Mankind places the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight as the most valuable of all human endeavour to be done in an hour. Ever.

I am not a great boxing fan, but I do know a bit about it. Both Mayweather and Pacquiao are past their prime. Mayweather is 38, Pacquiao is 36. They were great boxers, but the past tense is probably right. Both are larger than life certainly. Pacquiao, in his native Philippines, is probably second only to God.  But from a purely sporting perspective, its not even the finest boxing bout ever, leave alone the greatest sporting spectacle of all time.

I know that many readers , including this good friend, will argue that boxing is not a sport at all and should simply be banned. Certainly public interest in boxing is declining, but other forms of entertainment which involves one guy trying to beat the hell out of another , like martial arts, kick boxing and , with apologies to God,  WWF are all booming. I won't pass judgements on tastes of people, but it does strike me as a little odd that human society places the greatest value of all in two ageing fighters trying to knock each other down.

I have long had a dilemma on this matter of the value society places on different occupations. Ask anybody what are the professions which they consider most valuable to society and you are likely to get answers like teachers, nurses, etc. Ask them the professions that they detest and you would probably get bankers as the answer. And yet, look at the where we place monetary value.

Doesn't it say something about us all.


Sriram Khé said...

"I have long had a dilemma on this matter of the value society places on different occupations."
Ahem, dilemma after all these years? Are you sure you have been drinking tea all these years and not some crazy kool-aid? ;)

Methinks you are just having a tough time accepting the reality, which is that we humans are so screwed up that we pay lots of money to people we don't respect, and refuse to pay more to professionals we respect. And, to make it worse, we expect the professions that we respect to work even more for even less. (well, there is something even worse--even in regular lives, we estimate the "value" of a person by how much she/he earns!)

But, there is hope that you will have some kind of a come-to-Jesus-moment because of the trends in your posts: your heart bleeds for the poor worker in the UK, your heart bleeds for the poor worker in the US, you rail against corporations, and now this post ... Perhaps getting rid of that kool-aid has done you good ;)

gils said...

hahaahaha.... :D:D chaancela ..semma response from sriram Khe..sorry thala..couldn't resist it :D:D
boxing vidunda..rendu per adichitu saagaratha vedikka paaka people have been paying up blood money from BC era illaya?? gladiatoraaga porennu probably a few kids might've answered to that question you posted at that time. Ippovum boxer, tennis player, basketball player aaga porennu sollitu train panravanga irukaa thaan seiaraanga..aana paavam..americala mattum thaan avangaluku kaasu kedaikkum..namma ooru gusthi kooda WWF na thaan kodi kanakkula kaasu kotti paakranga..enna panrathu..poranthaalum americala porakanumnu nonthukka vendi thaan

Ramesh said...

Yeah yeah - Much the bleeding heart. Will not accept that humans are screwed up. Will continue to drink kool-aid (Yuk). Getting old and therefore leaning somewhat left. Will straighten myself soon :):)

Ramesh said...

Abvaru romba periya Professor Gilsu. Namaskaram pannannum :):):)

Yes, from time immemorial humans have loved the spectacle of fighting. Money is no longer only in America . Its in Europe, Its in China and at least as far as cricket is concerned it is in India. But the better way to earn money is the one that you venture into - Kollywood :)

Shachi said...

Perhaps I should raise the son to be a boxer ;)? one fight and we are set for life - haha!

Ramesh said...

Yup. And he has the right name for it too. Imagine the announcer drawling "And in the red corner Ruuuuuuuuu ....." :):)

Shachi said...

LOL! That is going to stick with me from now onwards :)!

Appu said...

There is also another theory that the match was fixed for Manny to lose so there could be a rematch down the line! I was not able to find the link where they talk about how hype was created and it always boiled down to the money!

Sandhya Sriram said...

Had this forward on whatsapp, i would only say Man o Man.

Man O Man!
When without money,
eats vegetables at home;
When has money,
eats the same vegetables in a fine restaurant.

When without money, rides bicycle;
When has money rides the same ‘exercise machine’.

When without money walks to earn food
When has money, walks to burn fat;
Man O Man! Never fails to deceive thyself!

When without money,
wishes to get married;
When has money,
wishes to get divorced.
When without money,
wife becomes secretary;
When has money,
secretary becomes wife.

When without money, acts like a rich man;
When has money acts like a poor man.
Man O Man! Never can tell the simple truth!
Says share market is bad,
but keeps speculating;
Says money is evil,
but keeps accumulating.
Says high Positions are lonely,
but keeps wanting them.
Says gambling & drinking is bad,
but keeps indulging;
Man O Man! Never means what he says and never says what he means.

Ramesh said...

In the context of Whats App forwards which are usually inane and flippant, this one isn't too bad :):)

Of course money changes one's perspectives, but there is hardly anything wrong with that. Life is all about perspectives depending on where we stand.

Ramesh said...

Of course boxing is always about the money. The "sport" has long gone out of it and it now is tough to differentiate it from WWF. I don't think the bout was fixed though.

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