“Floyd! Why you ducking Manny, Floyd?!” I'm screaming to Floyd Mayweather, basically trolling him outside of his Mayweather Boxing Club Gym in Las Vegas.
It's April 2010, and “Money” is about to make real change out of Shane Mosley in about a month.
Floyd, careful not to so much as make eye contact, simply makes that contact with the approaching goons he's employed as security (who starred in his now classic “24/7” series on HBO), and they give my obstinate ass a little ride across the street. However, this is not before Floyd pauses and says calmly: “He better learn how to duck.”
It’s subtle, but it occurs that he's changed his name from “Pretty” Boy Floyd (1996 – 2007), a fighter any purist should love, to “Money” Mayweather (2009 – 2015 / 2017 – current), a personality designed to be envied by all, for a reason: That's all he cared about. Or at least, that's all his character is supposed to care about until obsolete.
I didn't encounter “Money” Mayweather that day. Just Floyd, who's really quite decent. It is the love of “Money” that is the root of all of his evil, because that has nothing to do with love for Floyd. It is Floyd who moved to Sin City, due to the demand of “Money.” It is Floyd who has to post outrageous gambling receipts at the behest of “Money”. It is Floyd who has to drop Twitter posts that pay homage to the creators of “Money.”
When speaking of the least demanded rematch in the history of boxing with Manny Pacquiao by the end of 2018, you should know that this has everything to do with “Money.” As for “Pretty” Boy Floyd, if he had a fair one with Pacquiao written down on his bucket list he'll get one, albeit posthumously. I take you all the way back to New Year's day and an excerpt from '18 Rounds, my very first writing of 2018.
“There was the late 2017 sight of Floyd Mayweather in front of the Great Wall of China as fashion royalty. Since Pacquiao was present during this journey to the Far East, was it he who snapped photos with the hope of rekindling magic lost in 2015? The irony is though they could never get the public caught up in their rapture again, we would turn to their rematch again and again as if Ali V Frazier III— for that is exactly what it would be.”
The date was March 13, 2010. It was scribbled over every aspect of that entire month on my calendar that year. Floyd Mayweather would finally face Manny Pacquiao on that date. To think the word “finally” applied to that event at that time is laughable, considering the most insulting ride the naïve boxing public was about to endure. In November 2009, the boxing world witnessed the best version of Pacquiao ever, as a vintage Pac-Man annihilated Miguel Cotto via 12th round TKO. I had the privilege of watching Cotto train every day at the Fight Factory in Tampa, which I called home at that time. Over the course of those six memorable weeks in camp he never looked better; so when Cotto gets his bag absolutely Pac'd, it caste a serious spotlight on the come-backing Mayweather, who presumably, only returned to confront Pacquiao.
That Floyd had come back the way he did, via 12-round masterpiece over a piss drinking Pac nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez in September 2009, was owed to Pacquiao's chilling massacre of an unbeaten Ricky Hatton at 140 that past May. It upstaged the retiring “Pretty Boy” Floyd's December 2007 thriller over a welterweight Hatton. In the aftermath of his victory over Marquez, which was contracted at a catchweight of 144lbs for the then lightweight Mexican great, news of Floyd paying a bloated Marquez 600K to weigh-in at 146lbs sullied the win. Everywhere an envious Mayweather turned, he was coming up #2 to a Pacquiao looking to settle things in the ring. Freddie Roach bottom-lined the whole situation after the triumph over Cotto. Said Roach: “Look, the whole world wants to see Manny fight Floyd next and I want Mayweather next. We will kick his ass!” Caught leaving LAX for the Philippines the following day, punctured ear drum complete with scars and all, Pacquiao tells the LA Times and the world that he indeed wants Floyd next.
“TBE” V “PAC-MAN”
It is extremely rare that two fighters considered to be the world's best, are not only in their absolute prime, but in the same division. Historians and respected analysts agree that based on their contrasting styles and intangibles, a vintage “Pac-Man” facing what “Money” has now been calling “TBE” (The Best Ever) for the ultimate showdown of good vs evil, just might be the greatest fight of all-time.
Casual fans watching Pacquiao V Cotto that night, who've seen enough to hate Mayweather on those “24/7” reality TV episodes with each fight, want the lovable Filipino ring tyrant to kick Floyd's ass too. “Pacturds” and “Floydiots” are born. Horrible YouTube videos of the racist and homophobic variety get made. Endless bickering starts to take place over the fight in barbershops and at water coolers all over America. All during the holiday season of 2009, a fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao is the most dominant topic in sports and pop culture. Myself and a small crew get into an all-out brawl at an airport bar over this fight while watching ESPN pour liquor on the fire. Sports Illustrated, which has virtually stopped covering boxing, can't avoid Floyd and Manny. Everywhere its, “Who ya got? Floyd or Manny?” No fight in the history of boxing has ever been more naturally demanded by both the casual and hardcore fan. Everyone, it seems, would prefer this fight over sex with a fantasy. But the biggest factor at the time was, social media (largely responsible for the PPV success of May/Pac in 2015) was still in its commercial infancy in late 2009 and the mainstream media was still changing diapers.
What couldn't really be seen then is obvious now: it wasn't going to make enough “Money”, so the corrupt forces of boxing were about to give the fans [and history] the most prodigious middle-finger of all-time.
THE SCAM: PPV
The promoters tied to both fighters, Bob Arum and Al Haymon, didn't project Floyd Mayweather V Manny Pacquiao to be as big as Floyd Mayweather V Oscar De La Hoya. The “Golden Boy” was the biggest draw in boxing going into their May 2007 Superfight, which generated a then record 2.4 million PPV's. Not lost on the Dons was just how effective Money's filthy “24/7” vitriol toward Oscar was in selling that fight. They rode the same model for Mayweather V Hatton (December 2007, 1.1 million PPV ), Pacquiao V De La Hoya (December 2008, 1.25 million buys), Pacquiao V Hatton (May 2009, 1 million PPV), Mayweather V Marquez (September 2009, under 1 million PPV) and Pacquiao V Cotto (November 2009, 1.25 million PPV). You'll notice a pattern with those numbers. Separately, they weren't much on their own, but if these promoters could contrive a way to keep them apart as demand increased, they would generate enough hate stirring among fans for them to love a PPV result successfully coerced.
Following metrics, they could see when Canelo Alvarez put damn near 40,000 people in the Alamodome to face Austin Trout in April 2013, that this translates into a fighter capable of 1.5 million PPV sales on his own. At just 23 and still an unfinished idea, promoters had a great one of their own and decided to make “Mayweather/Canelo: The One” on September 14, 2013. The card made stars out of Danny Garcia and Lucas Matthysse. Lost in all the hoopla of a then record 2.48 million PPV buys, was that it took all four fighters combined to generate a number falsely credited to “Money.” What's more, “Money” is competing with three fighters who have whole families and entire nations behind them. Without reality TV and Oscar De La Hoya, there would never have been a such thing as “The Money Team.”
Just before the megabout with Canelo, it should be stated that Floyd made his debut with Showtime/CBS in a Cinco de Mayo 2013 PPV bout with Robert Guerrero and generated under 1 million buys. That same card was supposed to feature Canelo V Trout. Do you think that PPV goes over 1 million if Alvarez is part of that event? Me too. We're never told just how far away he is from that magical number to the greedy bastards of Wall St, but he's far away. That was not only a disaster, but it proved that “Money” couldn't really flow as a solid individual draw without scandal, controversy or– “Hate.” It also proved that he was not as popular as his rivals, naturally, despite huge commercial investment in him from billionaires. Keep in mind, this is well after Floyd burst into living rooms with De La Hoya in 2007 and was made to confront “The Big Show” in a 2008 WWE freak show.
Now that Mayweather's career has been crystallized in time, it’s plain to see that Floyd's true drawing power has always been connected to a hateful divide deliberately commercialized. The latest evidence of this occurred last year, during a graphic and racially charged record breaking debacle with a ring caveman in Conor McGregor, effectively maxing the “Money” PPV brand on premium cable and satisfying investors. With no corporate endorsement cache of any kind and utterly useless to Madison Ave, the only fight that would appear to be of any use to his suitors would be a rematch with Manny Pacquiao. And during a trip at the end of 2017 to China, it would seem that the actual end of “Money” was planned to coincide with the end of 2018.
THRILLA IN MANILA 2?
When I think of March 13, 2010 now, all I can think of is Manny Pacquiao absolutely Everlast heavy-bagging a big Joshua Clottey, while comparing that Pac-Man against the Floyd Mayweather who had a round 2 from Hell with an out of shape and uninspired 38 year-old Shane Mosley. This is the same Mosley who famously bum-rushed the ring after his win over Marquez, much to the delight of a Larry Merchant wishing he was 50 years younger to kick Mayweather's ass. I knew Mosley was not in optimal condition, because I'd just seen him a few days earlier…he very strangely had no enthusiasm whatsoever for a fight of this magnitude. Prior to that, I'd seen Shane in late December 2009 as he was prepared to face Andre Berto before an earthquake ravaged Haiti. He looked exactly as he did physically for Antonio Margarito in January 2009. Pull up images of Mosley from the Mayweather fight and he compares nothing to the specimen in front of Margarito a year earlier. So when I asked Mayweather about ducking Pacquiao, I've chosen that question over, “Hey Floyd, are you paying Mosley not to train Floyd?” Understand that if “Money” ever lost a fight this decade, it makes PPV change out of everything. Without knowledge of how “Money” is being used to make it, it was impossible to know (at least from this perspective) how he himself was being used to break “Money” in preparation for a paperless dollar.
Pacquiao will do that for him.
When the two do meet again, it’s Pacquiao who'll be the more seasoned and battle-tested fighter since they last met. There will be no toradol shot requests to be denied and stories of a one-armed fighter; while a former controversial strength coach, Alex Ariza, now bats for TMT in a childish chess move of insecurity. This time, Warren Buffett or any other suitor with “Money” to burn, is unlikely to give a damn about someone they nicknamed after a currency about to go down the drain. With no stake attached to the outcome from his “bosses”, this means the fight will be on the same level playing field that Floyd said he wanted all along. It also means that the fight will be one of extreme pride and will; far different from the tricky, tactical affair that turned on the public. Analytically, that means this fight should be special, with a marked ebb n flow of action and suspense. Theoretically, an old Floyd Mayweather (on weak legs exposed by McGregor of all people), should be violently assaulted and arrested by a new look Senator Pacquiao two years younger and more much active. After waiting nearly nine years to “truly” get Floyd in the ring, the difference in competition and activity over the last three years will play a huge factor in beating six deadly sins out of Floyd over seven scintillating rounds.
Since envy is never any fun, I'm guessing Floyd will hate an eighth round of karma. And after the “Money” is gone, Floyd can look for love on sale.