By Ivan G. Goldman
I wonder how many thousands of words have been wasted on articles and columns asking what Floyd Mayweather really thinks about getting it on with Manny Pacquiao. That’s the wrong question.
Photo by Gene Blevins/Hogan Photos
As existentialist thinker Jean-Paul Sartre liked to point out, what people do gives us far more information than anything they might say. So let’s look at what Mayweather actually does. Simple. He does not fight Manny Pacquiao. He’s the Road Runner to Pacquiao’s Wile E. Coyote. In fact, Mayweather may be the only prizefighter in eight or nine weight divisions who won’t get in the ring with the guy for forty or fifty million dollars.
Floyd has danced away from Pac Man so long he may never find his way back. The trail of breadcrumbs is erased by the snows of many winters. Much as he prizes loot (He didn’t change his ring moniker from “Pretty Boy Floyd” to “Money” because he has no regard for the size of his purses) he doesn’t prize it highly enough to get into the ring with the one man he fears above all others.
Lately Mayweather has been negotiating out in the open for the fight he won’t fight, which is what people do when they don’t want to negotiate. Take a flat forty million or leave it, he tells Pac Man with disdain. He’s quite aware that it’s laughable to think either of them would give up a percentage share of the pay-per-view receipts.
For a good long time Mayweather was even able to create a steroids scandal where there was none. And when Pac Man agreed to his blood demands, Floyd turned vampire, kept demanding more blood. Ultimately a “source,” obviously someone deep inside Mayweather’s camp, told Teddy Atlas there was email from Pacquiao’s people basically conceding that their man was on the juice. Atlas ran right up to an ESPN camera crew and reported this preposterous story. Even more amazing, Atlas apparently never asked to see the email. He also never wondered why Mayweather’s people, if they had this smoking gun in their possession, didn’t show it to everybody. After all, it would have gotten their man off the hook from Pacquiao’s slander suit. As an investigative reporter, Atlas makes a good boxing trainer.
Phantom email-gate proved just how much trouble the Mayweather people were willing to go to in order to avoid fighting Pacquiao. Incidentally, somebody ought to explain the rules of journalism to Atlas. When a source flat-out lies to you, all bets are off. You reveal his identify. We’re waiting, Teddy.
Naturally the outcomes of Mayweather versus Miguel Cotto on May 5 and Pacquiao-Tim Bradley June 9 could thoroughly shake up the situation. There are lots of possible combinations. But if we assume Floyd and Manny both come out on top — and that’s not 100 percent certain — the scenario most likely to spur Mayweather into action is if Pac-Man looks like he’s slipping. If Pacquiao absolutely crushes the undefeated, very credible Bradley, I suspect Mayweather will keep singing the same song and stay hunkered down where Pacquiao can’t get at him.
Meanwhile, we can look forward to excellent match-ups May 5 and June 9. Neither is the dream contest we all seek, but as Mick Jagger explained to us long ago, you can’t always get what you want.
And speaking of actions versus words, what about the NBA’s Ron Artest and his Goombaya gesture of changing his name to Metta World Peace and then throwing a disgusting elbow to the back of James Harden’s head? The seven game suspension is weak. That’s only two games more than Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen got for the crime of thinking there’s free speech in Miami.
A just result would be for Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley to file an assault charge. In boxing, we know, as Harold Lederman once succinctly put it, that you can kill a guy with a rabbit punch. That’s why we don’t allow punches to the back of the head. And an elbow is more brutal and dangerous than a gloved fist.
Goldman’s next novel, Isaac: A Modern Fable, will be out next month from The Permanent Press. It can be pre-ordered at Amazon HERE.