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Floyd Mayweather and Sun Tzu’s Art of War

Posted on 01/11/2012

By Hans Olson

“Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent’s fate.”

Floyd Mayweather has now directed the fate of Manny Pacquiao. The mystery of how Floyd Mayweather operates is far from a science. Floyd Mayweather does things HIS way.

“A leader leads by example not by force.” What many considered “ducking” was always the complete opposite.

“Manny Pacquiao I’m calling you out let’s fight May 5th and give the world what they want to see,” said Floyd Mayweather on his Twitter account earlier today. That tweet was followed by another which read “My Jail Sentence was pushed back because the date was locked in. Step up Punk.”

Let’s see if Manny Pacquiao finally steps up.


“All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.”

It has been a charade of failed negotiations well chronicled over the past two years. For one reason or another (mostly because of Manny Pacquiao’s refusal to take strict USADA drug testing and Bob Arum’s refusal to match Pacquiao with someone other than one of his “in-house” Top Rank fighters), the biggest fight in boxing history has not happened. It now looks like Pacquiao is willing to take the tests. It also seems as though Arum is open to the idea of making the fight, even suggesting the idea of erecting a temporary stadium in Las Vegas that would accommodate thousands of fans who would otherwise be unable to attend. Or it could be deception. We don’t know. Nobody knows. What many have perceived as Floyd’s reluctance to fight is in reality, a hatred of the athlete that borders on mental absurdness.

Floyd has played his cards right not just some of the time, but all the time. He has consistently outwitted, outmaneuvered, and embarrassed his opposition at nearly every step of this long strange trip. There was of course, his lengthy hiatus after the Shane Mosley fight. His inactivity was not the fault of Arum or Pacquiao…and It was during this hiatus where he angered many with tasteless comments on Ustream about Pacquiao and his culture, obviously fanning the flames of a strange racial element that renders most Mayweather/Pacquiao posts on boxing forums unreadable.

So, Floyd isn’t without some guilt here. The thing is…at least Floyd Mayweather is real. Floyd Mayweather is one of the most amazing symbols of the modern American celebrity—-the ability to control and market one’s self with a realistic political incorrectness that, although at times can be a turn off—is more than refreshing. Social media, the very device that Floyd used in calling out Pacquiao today, is just one of the many things Floyd has utilized (for better or for worse) to shape the way we view current celebrity in sport. This starkly contrasts that of Manny Pacquiao, who for all that he has achieved inside the ring…cannot take credit for the way Top Rank has masterfully marketed him worldwide. It’s a politically correct (hey, he IS politician), safe, rags-to-riches feel good story that we’ve seen and heard many a time. Those same masterful tactics however, have not only blinded your average sports fan into casting Manny as angel and Floyd as devil, but they have also dictated the Pacquiao side’s obvious blockage of the fight the world wants. But the world wouldn’t know it…and perhaps maybe, Team Pacquiao has never known. Only Floyd has known…which is why he has still controlled and dictated everything…even when it has appeared to be against his best interests at the time.

“A military operation involves deception. Even though you are competent, appear to be incompetent. Though effective, appear to be ineffective. He who is prudent and lies in wait for an enemy who is not, will be victorious. Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him.”

There is no doubt that if Manny Pacquiao accepts Floyd’s challenge for May 5, he will be crushed.

Boxing Insider’s Hans Olson can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @hansolson

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