Welcome to the semi-regular column with a not-yet-permanent name where we take a look at happenings in the world of the two biggest stars in boxing by a hefty margin, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.
As an intern in a Washington news bureau, I once wrote pieces for a publication called the Arkadelphia Daily Siftings-Herald. Coolest publication name ever. Arkadelphia was already a kind of city portmanteau, plus “Daily” and “Siftings” and “Herald” were already good standalone newspaper names. That’s, like, five names for one newspaper! In a city with a population of less than 11,000!
Anyway, in Vol. 2 of the semi-regular Daily Siftings Herald column (which isn’t daily), we discuss pay-per-view buys for Mayweather-Shane Mosley; how to rank Mayweather vs. Pacquiao; Pacquiao and his trainer Freddie Roach talking about Mayweather’s performance; the latest prospects for Mayweather-Pacquiao; and Chris Brown’s confusion.
Mayweather-Mosley Pay-Per-View Buys
Yahoo’s Kevin Iole tweeted that based on trusted sources, but with many caveats, that Mayweather-Mosley last weekend had done 1.1 or 1.2 million pay-per-view buys. Maxboxing’s Steve Kim reported that his sources are telling him more like 1.4 to 1.5 million. It’s a big and meaningful difference — I’m not saying either man has reported it poorly no matter what the final number is, because they’ve been cautious to indicate that these are unofficial numbers, but the difference between Iole and Kim’s numbers is probably the difference between an unqualified success and a slight disappointment.
Most boxing heads predicted Mayweather-Mosley would do 1.5 million, one of the best numbers ever but far from the 3 to 4 million Golden Boy Promotions boss Richard Schaefer was predicting. Nobody believed that number, but it may have gotten hopes up (I know it did mine) for somewhere in the ballpark of 2 million buys, so the expectation issue that haunted Manny Pacquiao-Joshua Clottey’s numbers is less of a factor here; however, 2 million buys would be good for second-best ever, while 1.5 million is more like second-best ever for a non-heavyweight fight, so that’s no small difference either. Whereas anything above 1 million is fantastic, generally speaking, but lots less than reasonable expectations.
Anyway, if the fight does 1.5 million as sounds most realistic to me, it outshines the best of Pacquiao’s numbers (1.25 million against Miguel Cotto), and it should, really, because Mayweather-Mosley is a bigger fight. If it doesn’t exceed at least that, people will be wondering what the hell happened. We’ll break its meaning down more — like its potential impact on making Mayweather-Pacquiao happen — when we get the official number, which I’d expect soon.
Ranking Floyd And Manny
It doesn’t surprise me that there’s real dispute now, honest dispute, about whether Mayweather or Pacquiao are the #1 man in the sport and in the welterweight division. Pound-for-pound, I went with Pacquiao at #1, as did Ring magazine; Iole went with Mayweather and so did BoxingScene’s Cliff Rold. As Ring’s Nigel Collins wrote, it’s a “damn coin flip.” If anyone goes with one man or the other, I don’t think there’s any real need to think anyone’s crazy for picking one or the other. It’s a close call.
Welterweight rankings are the same problem. Here, I might give the edge to Mayweather, though, as Ring did. The reason is because of Mosley’s higher ranking (#2) at 147 when Mayweather beat him than Cotto’s lower ranking (#3) when Pacquiao beat him, and his deeper body of work. Whether Mosley or Cotto should have been at #2 or #3 is another coin flip as it is, but Pacquiao has two wins at welterweight — including Clottey — while Mayweather has beat a longer list of lesser welters, including Zab Judah and Carlos Baldomir… plus he’d been the linear champion prior to his fake retirement. So, again, I don’t think whether to rank Pacquiao or Mayweather at #1 at welter is an easy call, but my pick is Mayweather. And yet, Pacquiao’s official journalistic nuthugger Ronnie Nathanielsz (who, for as much as he hugs the nuts, gets a lot of nice scoops) saw fit to question the entire journalistic credibility of the Ring enterprise for this close call. Oh, how people overreact.
Roach And Paacquiao On Mayweather’s Performance
Roach said he thought Mayweather’s legs looked gone in the Mosley fight. So, an aside: There are few people whose opinions on boxing I find to be more reliable than Roach’s. Mosley trainer Naazim Richardson is in that ballpark. (Is it me, or is Richardson not getting enough love for calling the fight EXACTLY the way it went with that awesome dragon metaphor?) But really? I didn’t see that. I thought Mayweather made a conscious decision to be aggressive and stand toe-to-toe with Mayweather not because Mayweather decided as he said afterward that he wanted to give the fans a nice show, but because Mosley gave him no choice. Mosley was on his ass in the 2nd round. Mayweather realized he couldn’t scoot around using his legs; he had to put Mosley on the defensive because Mosley was a dangerous puncher, so he did, and it worked. But then, Mosley also claimed before the fight that he thought Mayweather’s body was breaking down in ways Mosley could detect but Mayweather couldn’t. Maybe he was referring to Mayweather’s legs. Maybe both of them see something I don’t. But I wouldn’t count on that.
Meanwhile, Pacquiao himself said that if he gets Mayweather hurt the way Mosley did, he’ll finish him off. That view reflects the view of a number of top-level boxers, including Paul Williams, that Mosley stopped fighting. I still think it’s difficult to say whether Mosley stopped on his own or Mayweather made him or some combination (I say “some combination”) but that numerous top fighters thought it was more on Mosley at least lends credence to the idea it was a real issue. I think Pacquiao, at this stage in his life, is a better finisher than Mosley, but I also don’t think that it’s going to be easy for anyone to finish off Mayweather if he gets hurt. Connecting cleanly on him once is nearly a miracle. Connecting cleanly on him a few times in sequence, especially since he’s shown repeatedly he can survive and gather his faculties, is… it’s unthinkable. It hasn’t happened before. Which is one of the million reasons Mayweather-Pacquiao is such a good fight. If anyone out there can do it, it’s him. The mere chance of that is real drama.
Latest Mayweather-Pacquiao Chances
Meanwhile meanwhile, Roach is, as he has been for a long time, confident that Mayweather-Pacquiao won’t be so hard to make. He said he thought the two sides could compromise on a window before the fight of 17 days without blood testing. Guess we’ll see. And hear about it. And then hear about it some more, until we try to choke ourselves to death so we won’t have to hear about it any more.
One thing that’s still a bit weird is that a number of outlets reported a “statement” by Pacquiao that he was cool with 14 days, the window proposed by the Mayweather camp, which inspired much hope about the fight’s chances of getting done. Then, Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum denied that statement is authentic. Pacquiao adviser Michael Koncz has also denied the statement is authentic. Several websites that reported those statements as authentic (like this one) have subsequently updated their stories with the denials of Arum and/or Koncz. Yet Arum and Koncz are quoted in this story by the 99.9 percent reliable Dan Rafael alongside the Pacquiao quote that they have denied, but their denials are not recorded in that story and the Rafael piece has not been updated with any denials. Similar deal with this Ring story. What gives?
Chris Brown And The Anthem
Chris Brown is mad that people booed him when he was introduced to sing the national anthem for Mayweather-Mosley. This is the second time Brown, who notoriously beat up his then-girlfriend Rihanna, has decided to affiliate himself with boxing post-woman beating. And then this politician in New York, who had his own domestic violence issues, decided to get in the boxing ring too. I’m not going to get into whether anyone should forgive these men for their transgressions. But I do have to wonder what kind of geniuses are running their public relations operation. If you don’t want people to associate you with your violent acts, maybe stick to acts that don’t involve punching people in the face. You and I know that boxing and domestic violence aren’t the same thing, but man, it just don’t sit right.