Whatever interest Floyd Mayweather-Juan Manuel Marquez had, it has to have a lot less now after the weigh-in today, where Marquez weighed 142 pounds and Mayweather weighed 146, scratching the consensus view that the bout was to be held at 144. Marquez was already making a big leap up from lightweight, and those extra pounds count all the more because of it. Marquez was a serious underdog from the start. He has to be even more of one now.
You have to wonder if this wasn’t always part of the plan. For reasons that the boxing press could never really determine — a massive failure of said boxing press, it must be noted — nobody would ever go on the record and say what the weight was. Contradictory reports abounded for months, with some writing that the bout was at the welterweight limit of 147 but most writing that it was 144.
The higher the weight limit, the less the boxing public would have bought in to the fight, because it translates to a lesser chance for Marquez winning, and people were already skeptical of his chances anyway. Who wants to pay $50 to watch a mismatch? So, keep the figure under wraps, give the people an illusion that this will be competitive?
But it probably goes beyond marketing. Mayweather may never have intended to make 144. He and his team always said it was a “welterweight” fight, hinting that 147 was the limit. Reporter Dan Rafael said on ESPN News today — and you have to take it with a grain of salt, because as good as Rafael usually is, he, like everyone, very likely got hoodwinked here — that the limit was changed last night from 144 (as Rafael’d reported it would be quite vigorously) to 147. A second report backs that up.
Even now, as I type this, the weight issue is clouded in mystery, bordered by an assortment of other reports, which I’ve been passing along via Twitter in the right hand column. Were there separate weight limits for Mayweather and Marquez? Did Mayweather just fail to make weight and was fined? Was there something written into the contract about that, maybe at the last minute, maybe before?
Even if everyone who reported the 144 limit all along merely got the wool pulled over their eyes — that somehow, it was always, as others reported, 147 — this makes Mayweather even more of a joke of a fighter. To insist on weighing 147 at any point against a 135-pound man betrays, once again, just how much Mayweather is afraid of a challenge. At best, he “couldn’t” make the weight, and then he’s unprofessional.
Everyone who’s said anything about this should be ashamed of themselves. I raged for weeks about the boxing press not getting this nailed down, but I guess I should have done it more. I ran with the 144-pound assumption after almost everyone in the boxing press said they had it on good authority. I apologize to the readers of this blog for my role in misleading them. It makes everything I’ve written this week suspect.
I have a really bad taste in my mouth about all this right now. The only thing that will get rid of it is if Marquez overcomes the increasingly insurmountable odds and wipes the canvas with Mayweather’s head.