(You can’t really read the “Mayweather-Mosley bracket” when it’s full-sized, either. Hey, I had to relate this to March Madness somehow, and Golden Boy sent out a news release with this.)
I could practically write something every day reflecting on the latest news about Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, as these two welterweights — the two best boxers of today and the sport’s biggest stars — consume a lot of ink and pixels. Instead I’m going to inaugurate a column that runs when news warrants it. If you can come up a crafty name for the thing, please suggest it, because that part of my brain doesn’t work.
In this column: Is Mayweather Hitler? How many pay-per-view buys for Pacquiao are enough? What’s next for Pacquiao, if not the winner of Mayweather-Shane Mosley? How can Mayweather know Joshua Clottey “exposed” Pacquiao if he didn’t watch the fight this weekend? Whatever happened to that top secret new technique Pacquiao was going to use against Clottey? And has Mayweather honest-to-God started a good trend via borderline slander?
Pacquiao’s Pay-Per-View Numbers
Top Rank boss Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s promoter, says Pacquiao-Clottey did no worse than 650,000 buys on pay-per-view. If it’s at about that, it probably has to be considered a disappointment. If it’s more like 800,000, then we’re getting into a better zone. We’ll elaborate later when we have the final numbers.
But for now, topics to consider: Do the figures show, effectively, what kind of business Pacquiao would do fighting virtually anybody, since Clottey assuredly brought very few viewers to the party? What does it say about what kind of hangover people might have from the Mayweather-Pacquiao fallout? What will they tell us about the prospects of reinitiating negotiations for that fight, if Mayweather gets past Mosley? Did the shoddy undercard factor into the low sales?
Pacquiao’s concert in Hawaii did get canceled for lack of interest. Depending on the final PPV numbers, it could end up being a bad week for the Pacquiao product, although he’ll always have the nearly 51,000 tickets he sold to his last fight, so maybe not.
Next For Pacquiao
Arum wants Antonio Margarito next for Pacquiao. He’s got to be about the only one. Most people see Margarito as incontrovertibly tainted from last year’s glove-loading scandal.
Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach has other ideas. He likes Edwin Valero or Juan Manuel Marquez as Pacquiao’s next opponent. Valero is only this summer moving up from lightweight to junior welterweight, so Pacquiao should move down to 140 for that fight and defend his lineal championship if that’s the fight he ends up taking. Even then it’s probably an easy fight. And Marquez is too far over the hill to give Pacquiao the kind of challenge he did in their first two fights, nor would it look that great to fight a guy Mayweather stomped last year. The only legit fights out there for Pacquiao are the winner of Mayweather-Mosley, Timothy Bradley and Paul Williams.
There was one fighter who called out Pacquiao this week, and all you can do is shake your head about him. Erik Morales, whom Pacquiao blew out four years ago and 17 pounds lighter, says he wants a fourth meeting with Manny. Morales’ comeback was already delusional. Fighting Pacquiao again would be suicidal.
Pacquiao’s Secret New Technique
Remember that new technique Pacquiao said he’d roll out against Clottey? Don’t remember seeing anything all that new? It’s because he didn’t use it. Says Roach:
“The plan was that Manny would throw a one-two and then step backward as if he were trying to get out. We knew that would bring Clottey in, and the instant Manny saw him start to throw his jab he was supposed to catch him with a hook on top of it.”
Only Clottey never reacted as expected. Roach thinks a Ghanaian sparring partner of Pacquiao’s may have snitched to Clottey, who’s from Ghana, about what was coming. Roach elaborates on the plan in the piece by George Kimball, which is well worth reading. Every time Roach talks about strategy and tactics, I learn something.
Mayweather As Hitler
I’m not going to say Arum is prone to hyberbole or overheated rhetoric, but… nah, I’ll say it. Arum, in his practice of those arts, is like Jupiter to the Pluto pseudo-planet of everyone else. Listen to this metaphor from Arum, which indirectly compares Mayweather and by association Golden Boy to Hitler:
“The only way a fight can be made with Mayweather is if he signs the contract, terms are already agreed upon, and lets extraneous issues be handled by the boxing commission who has the authority to handle those issues,” Arum said. “Stupid Bob Arum made like [former British prime minister] Neville Chamberlain did with Hitler and negotiated something I never should have.”
I know passions are high. I know Mayweather is a prick; some people like that about him, and some don’t. I don’t. But come up with a better metaphor. At least downgrade Mayweather to a serial killer or terrorist or Pol Pot or something. (A couple days later, Arum told BoxingScene it was “beneath” him to respond to some rather mild diss by Golden Boy’s Oscar De La Hoya, about Arum’s age.)
Mayweather’s Influence On Steroids
I think if the boxing press did its job, the Mayweather claims of Pacquiao taking steroids — for which there is no evidence — would not have been aired in any legitimate forum other than to expose the superfluous nature of the claim. But there might be and upside.
Since the steroid issue made a big splash during Mayweather-Pacquiao negotiations, a major German television station has signed a deal with a major German promoter to mandate stricter drug testing, which could extend to fighters from the United States participating in blood testing as part of the “Super Six” tournament. Mayweather-Mosley will feature stricter drug testing, with random blood withdrawals. New York is now contemplating moving to stricter drug testing. That last bit may not happen because the state could stand to lose boxing business, but it also could start a trend among the states if it breaks right.
I don’t want to give Mayweather too much credit. I continue to doubt whether the drug testing issue was a sincere concern of Mayweather’s and whether it was some kind of mind game for negotiations with Pacquiao. But it’s hard to deny that he started this fire, and we’ll all be better off it turns into a cleansing blaze that sweeps the landscape. (Even if I wish this Tygart fellow wouldn’t keep lobbying so loudly about it, sounding something very much like the whole false “if you have nothing to hide you should submit to the test” note.)
Mayweather’s Viewing Habits
After Pacquiao practically shut out Clottey, Mayweather was quoted as saying that Clottey “exposed” Pacquiao. Obviously, nobody “exposed” Pacquiao that night. (Just like Pacquiao is wrong by saying Mayweather’s style would be “easy.)
But I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: If Mayweather thinks Pacquiao sucks so bad, and the fact remains that he’s said many times (and if his dad Floyd, Sr. thinks Pacquiao can’t beat his son even with steroids) then why the hell would Pacquiao’s alleged steroid use be such a big deal-breaker to the Mayweather team?