Floyd Mayweather, Jr. Is What’s Wrong With Boxing

It’s ironic that Floyd Mayweather, Jr. may be the most recognizable name among boxers today to people who don’t follow the sport closely — he’s the kind of boxer whose name is likely to draw a casual fan to my apartment for a boxing night party — and he’s the epitome of all the reasons people cite when they say “boxing is dying.”

Greed, you see, is his reason for existence. Avoiding top match-ups is a must for Mayweather. By saying he won’t accept a 50-50 split with Manny Pacquiao, he’s trying to give us the worst of his primary two traits all at once. It was my main takeaway from any number of things he said today in a conference call with reporters.

Mayweather is anything but the norm. Sure, all fighters want money, but that hasn’t kept anyone in the last couple years from taking the vast majority of the most desirable match-ups that can happen in boxing.

In the conference call, by contrast, Mayweather was trying to hype his rescheduled fight with Juan Manuel Marquez on Sept. 18. Marquez is one of the best fighters in the world, but he’s the lightweight champion, and Mayweather is a welterweight. Nobody was clamoring for Mayweather to fight Marquez. No one. Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley, or, I dunno, Pacquiao — who has become the best fighter in the world since Mayweather retired last year than unretired this year, and its #1 attraction — those are people that would get folk clamoring.
So Pacquiao’s promoter and Mayweather’s former promoter, Bob Arum, recently said he’d take a 50-50 split for Pacquiao-Mayweather. You can say that Mayweather deserves more; I’d say that Pacquiao deserves more. But I’ll forgo that old debate and concede the point, just for argument’s sake. To me, 50-50 sounds pretty fair. What’s Mayweather’s take?

“Bob Arum, he had a chance to take the Manny Pacquiao fight, but he keeps talking about [how] he wants 50-50. And he knows that’s not going to happen. That’s why we will never get that fight. If Bob Arum wasn’t trying to be so greedy, then the fight would happen.”

And, on Arum’s deal with Pacquiao:

“I want you all to write this down. Manny Pacquiao gets 27 percent. I get 100 percent of my money and Pacquiao gets 27 percent of his.”

Let me get this straight. The guy who is demanding MORE than a 50-50 split and the guy who by his own mathematics even with a 50-50 split would walk away with 73 percent more money than would Pacquiao and 27 percent more money than Arum — HE’S the one NOT being greedy?
I was picking on the Associated Press yesterday, but kudos to the AP reporter for calling b.s. on Mayweather after this exchange:

Mayweather also speculated [Oscar] De La Hoya “was just in it for the payday” when he lost to Pacquiao last year.

If Mayweather saw irony in a fighter whose self-proclaimed nickname is “Money” warning of the dangers in fighting solely for paychecks, he didn’t acknowledge it.

Hell, Mayweather’s the kind of guy who says the following thing about his own children:

“My kids are the future of the Mayweather family and of the Mayweather brand.”

How soulless is that, to reduce his kids to marketing jargon? His children are a product, like, say, Frito Lays, that will some day to take over as another product of the Mayweather “brand?”
Here are a couple more highlights of the news conference. (Quotes from above and below come from the AP, Examiner, Newsday, FanHouse and AFP.)
–“It’s like a steak, a T-bone steak. After I eat all the meat off the steak, [other promoters] throw them the bone,” Mayweather said of pound-for-pound challengers. “They throw them the bone.” This coming from a guy who was recently talking about a rematch with Oscar De La Hoya. That being the same De La Hoya that Mayweather beat and then Pacquiao beat to force into retirement. So would he be eating the leftovers of the leftovers?
–There’s still no officially announced weight for Mayweather-Marquez. Why? “De La Hoya claimed the mystery is designed to get people to watch the weigh-in on Sept. 18.” That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard of. Literally. That’s not just an expression. This is no hyperbole. I’ve never heard of anything dumber. Ever.
–What of the injury, given the rumors that Mayweather was hurt in sparring by an amateur lightweight to force the rescheduling? “It happened in training,” Mayweather said. “Believe me, it wasn’t a small guy that did it, but it didn’t even come from sparring, so don’t nobody know what it came from. Freak accidents happen in training.” OK. I was duly skeptical of the “Mayweather injured by lightweight amateur” story, and we have no way of proving it one way or the other, so for once, I’m going to give Mayweather the benefit of the doubt. But I bet others would be more likely to believe him if he would actually say what happened.
–Said Golden Boy Promotions’ Richard Schaefer: “This clearly is the single-most anticipated fight of the year, contrary to some reports … this fight is doing extremely well.” All right. That’s not what Shane Mosley, a partner with GBP, said, but admittedly neither Mosley nor Schaefer are objective sources here, as Schaefer’s job is to hype fights and Mosley has his own reasons to undermine Mayweather. Of course, other outlets have cited other sources, but ultimately we’ll only be able to judge how well the fight did after it happens.
–Speaking of Mosley, Mayweather said Mosley is “still using steroids… You know the difference between water and Sprite, right? One bubbles up and one doesn’t, right?” I see. Again, who knows? But, hey, you stay classy Floyd Mayweather.
–Mayweather: “I feel Manny Pacquiao is a good fighter, he does his job to the best of his ability. Many people forget that Manny Pacquiao got beat by Erik Morales. I am still at the top of my game and I have never been beat. He hasn’t done anything that I haven’t done.” Pacquiao’s done a good deal more than Mayweather, like beating more future Hall of Famers and winning lineal championships in four divisions. But yes, getting beaten by one of the best Mexican fighters ever is so embarrassing, especially if one comes back and knocks him out twice in a row, two wins that arguably trump any two wins Mayweather has. And especially if it was in 2005, when Pacquiao was nowhere near as good as he is now.

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (http://www.tbrb.org). He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.