BY THEO ROBIE
WASHINGTON – In a huge hit to the sport of boxing this past week, a highly anticipated match between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Pope Francis was cancelled due to low pay-per-view popularity. The announcement came last Thursday from HBO who said the bout simply did not excite people the way they had originally thought it would.
But the real story goes deeper than just HBO revenue. Sources close to boxing have revealed a complex series of issues that HBO seems unwilling to comment on.
Negotiations for the fight began as early as 2009, before Xi Jinping and Pope Francis had achieved international recognition for doing some other less important stuff. These original negotiations failed, however, due to concerns about the location of the fight, set in Macau. Xi Jinping’s promoters felt that bringing Pope Francis to China would “interfere with China’s sovereignty,” so the idea was scrapped. Pope Francis thought this was just a laughing matter, and restarted negotiations in 2010. After those negotiations yet again failed, Pope Francis immediately let Xi Jinping have it on twitter, saying that “Once I stomp the midget, I’ll make that [expletive] make me a sushi roll and cook me some rice.” In addition, he said, “I’m going to cook that [expletive] with cats and dogs. Have some rice with a little barbecue dog.” Xi Jinping immediately responded by declaring an Air Defense Identification Zone over Vatican City and threatening severe consequences for “disturbing public order.” Xi Jinping finally agreed to the fight, as long as it was to be held in a neutral country like North Korea, and Xi Jinping Promotions would get 55 percent of the profits. Pope Francis agreed to the 55/45 split but insisted on the Willard Hotel in Washington DC as the venue. They were to meet there on the eve of last Thursday. Xi Jinping agreed.
But alas, negotiations took so long that when the fight was finally scheduled, nobody cared anymore. Pope Francis arrived in DC as scheduled, but Xi Jinping delayed his flight, demanding a 65/35 split. When Pope Francis heard this, he was the maddest he had ever been and he tore up the contract, instead electing to party with homeless people, stealing Xi’s Washington DC Limelight.
There is no word on when the fight might take place, if ever.