In a splendid display of bipartisanship, Pima County Supervisors Ray Carroll and Richard Elias hosted a get-together last Saturday night where somebody (although I'm not entirely sure who) bought the Pay-Per-View of the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight and then invited every single member of the St. Augustine Cathedral parish to hang out in the Parish Hall and watch the festivities.
First of all, please know that there is a Sunni vs. Shiite division among Catholics over whether to pronounce it St. Aw-GUST-in or St. AWG-uh-steen. I'm in the latter camp, which, based on the looks I get from the Aw-GUST-in-ers, means I'm doomed to Hell and damnation no matter how many good works I do or how much money I put in the collection plate at Mass. (No wait, that hasn't been a part of the church for centuries. Still, it can't hurt, right?) Anyway, I try to avoid saying that name out loud, like it's Voldemort or something.
My son, Alexander, and I went to 5 p.m. Mass at St. Thomas and then got to St . ... You Know at about 6:30. We were greeted at the door by Ray Carroll, who is on the Parish Council at St. That Guy. They weren't charging admission, because that might have broken a law or a rule or maybe would have made Floyd Mayweather mad that his $180 million purse would have been a few hundred bucks light. Instead, they were taking donations, selling food, and holding a silent auction. One of the things up for bid was a T-shirt signed by the greatest University of Arizona basketball player ever, Sean Elliott, who, at one time, was an altar server at St. Downtown Cathedral.
Carroll and Elias worked the room, greeting everybody, while seated behind the auction table was long-time Tucson mover and shaker Dan Eckstrom (wearing a Pueblo High School polo shirt). The Monsignor Gonzalo Villegas would take to the mic every now and then to exhort people to check out the auction items. It was a really festive atmosphere, just high energy and fun.
As the people continued to pour in, I asked somebody, "Is the Fire Marshal going to put a limit on this?" The response was, "This is a Catholic fundraiser. All you do is set up another row of chairs."
The place was packed. Somebody told me that Bishop Gerald Kicanas was going to make an appearance. For all I know, he did, but the room was dark and the decibel level was high.
The biggest ovation of the entire night came when some guy sang the Mexican National Anthem for about an hour-and-a-half. Damn, that's a long song! And, like most national anthems, it pretty much sucks. I was listening to the words and I thought to myself, "They can't possibly have said what I think they just said." When I got home, I looked it up and part of it does indeed translate to "War! War! Take the national pennants and soak them in waves of blood."
That's pretty intense. There was no mention as to why they had somebody sing the national anthem of Mexico before a fight between an American and a Filipino. Maybe because it was sorta near Cinco De Mayo or perhaps it was because they needed to fill time because of all the last-second purchases of the Pay-Per-View package. (All week long, all over America, people had been saying, "Oh hell no, I'm not paying $99.99 just to watch a 12-round fight." But then came Saturday night and those same people said, "Aw what the heck. At least it's not a hundred dollars.")
Whatever the reason for including the Mexican national anthem, it was an inspired decision. It certainly got the crowd I was sitting with all fired up.
As for the U.S. national anthem, Jamie Foxx did the worst channeling of Marvin Gaye ever! The Gaye family should take some of the money that they legally stole from Pharrell and Robin Thicke over "Blurred Lines" and hire somebody to slap Jamie Foxx. In fact, from now on, every bill that originates in Congress trying to make flag burning a crime should have a rider that makes it illegal for Jamie Foxx to ever again sing "The Star Spangled Banner" in public. It was hideous.
The crowd at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and the one at the Parish Hall were decidedly pro-Pacquiao, or, perhaps more correctly, wildly anti-Mayweather. While Pacquiao has a checkered past that includes marital indiscretions, it would be fair to refer to Mayweather as a serial wife-beater were it not for the fact that he never actually marries any of the women he impregnates and then beats up. (In the interest of accuracy, there have been a couple women whom Mayweather has beaten up before he got them pregnant or, for all we know, as he got them pregnant.)
One of the truly odd moments came when former Tucsonan Jimmy Kimmel walked into the arena as part of the Pacquiao entourage dressed as the long-lost white member of Run-DMC. I guess he was riffing on Justin Bieber, who is a Mayweather sycophant.
The actual fight itself was rather underwhelming. It was more like ballroom dancing with an occasional punch being thrown (and missed). But the party that Carroll and Elias, et al, threw was spectacular.