by Ivan Goldman
Floyd Mayweather, set to swoop in and make banquet and nightclub appearances in Australia, has been denied entry because of “his history of violence toward women,” the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
Tickets that reportedly went for as much as two thousand Australian dollars ($1,563 in U.S. currency) have been demoted to the status of quaint keepsakes.
Mayweather doesn’t appear to be spending a lot of time trying to save whatever shreds of possibility remain for the staging of what would be the biggest-money fight in history on May 2, a welterweight showdown between him and Manny Pacquiao.
The last we heard from Floyd, he was tweeting photos of himself surveying a tropical beach somewhere. It might have been reasonable to assume he was somewhere within easy reach of Australia, though the Herald said he was on Barbados getting a “fish pedicure.” Among the tweets was a video of someone, presumably Mayweather, with feet dangling in a glass tank filled with tiny fish.
The Herald was getting its information from the promoters of Floyd’s now-defunct Australian functions. They complained that even before he was denied entry, he kept changing the dates, making ticket-selling a nightmare.
Mayweather’s original scheduled appearances for last Thursday and Friday had been postponed until this week as he waited for a visa that was ultimately refused.
“The Government takes very seriously its role in protecting the Australian community from the risk of harm by non-citizens who engage in criminal conduct and/or conduct that is of serious concern,” said Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Senator the Hon. Michaelia Cash, as quoted in the Herald.
If Mayweather passes on Pacquiao so he can fight someone else May 2, he’ll lose about $30 million. Anyone who thinks he’d do that because he dislikes promoter Bob Arum is a fool. But that’s been his story.
Logic tells us that Arum wants this fight, and Manny’s words show he wants it too. Over the years, the Philippines congressman has built a reputation for credibility that Floyd flunkies have a hard time tarnishing. And HBO has already announced that neither it nor Showtime is to blame for the deal not being sealed.
How do we know Arum wants it?
Because Pacquiao, 57-5-2 (38 KOs), turned 36 in December, fought his pro debut 20 years ago, and has engaged in plenty of wars. He’s at a stage in his career where his people are willing to cash in before he suffers the unexpected. Check out James Toney’s 11th round kayo of undefeated Michael Nunn, for instance. Nunn lost a step, and that’s all it took.
Arum’s been in this game a long time. He knows how it’s played.
Pacquiao stands to make 40 percent of the largest purse aggregate in the history of the sport. He also would get the chance to make history. And that’s what great champions do: take chances. The public demands it.
Yet a long list of former champions have agreed that Mayweather fears fighting Pacquiao, a quick, offensive-minded southpaw who’s small enough to fight at 140 pounds.
Mayweather, 38 and undefeated, is reaching the point where if he keeps fighting, someone’s going to beat him. It’s possible all this Barbados and Australia frivolity is a negotiating tactic, but super-fights need plenty of time for advance publicity, and you can bet he’s been given some kind of secret deadline that’s fast approaching or already here.
When the Super Bowl came and went that was a very bad sign and shifted the likelihood of the fight to negative. The promoters missed a chance for the two fighters to appear together, thumbs in the air, picked up by a camera at the most widely watched viewing event of the year in the United States and one of the biggest sporting events in the world.
The public can taste this fight and will pay plenty to see it. Floyd can make it happen by reaching for his phone and hitting speed dial.
Or he can choose to transmit more fish videos.
New York Times best-selling author Ivan G. Goldman’s Sick Justice: Inside the American Gulag was released in 2013 by Potomac Books. Watch for The Debtor Class: A Novel from Permanent Press in spring, 2015. More information here.