By Sean Crose
“He lost. He knows he lost.”
So claims Floyd Mayweather, the undisputed king of boxing, in an interview with Jim Gray of Showtime that will be aired Saturday during that network’s replay of last week’s “fight of the century.”
Mayweather just days ago sent a text to ESPNs Stephen A. Smith where he declared his willingness to grant the Filipino legend a rematch. It’s clear, however, that the man called Money has had a change of heart.
“Did I text and say I will fight him again?” Mayweather asked rhetorically. “Yeah, but I changed my mind. At this particular time, no, because he’s a sore loser and he’s a coward… If you lost, accept the loss and say, ‘Mayweather, you were the better fighter.’ ”
Of course, Mayweather may change his mind yet again once Pay Per View numbers for the bout become official. Right now, the numbers that are already emerging are so impressive that it’s not hyperbole to refer to them as jaw dropping. At the moment, though, Floyd appears firm in his stance.
Why? Because he feels a Pacquiao shoulder injury is taking some of the steam out of the glory he believes he richly deserves (and, in fact, does) for last weekend’s performance. Pacquiao has claimed the injury, a torn rotator cuff, had kept him from fighting at his full potential on Saturday.
According to reports, Pacquiao hurt his shoulder while sparring in the lead up to the fight. There was even apparently a desire within camp Pacquiao to delay the bout. “Two weeks I didn’t train good,” Pacquiao said, “because I can’t use my right hand.”
Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer, claimed that it appeared the injury was improving as the fight grew closer. Yet things reputedly got worse during the course of the bout itself. Needless to say, Mayweather isn’t buying it.
“He was fast,” Mayweather tells Gray. “His left hand was fast. His right hand was fast, and he was throwing them both fast and strong.” As far as Mayweather is concerned, talk of Pacquiao’s injury is too little, too late.
“Excuses, excuses, excuses,” claims the widely regarded pound for pound best in the sport. “I’m not going to buy into the bulls–t … and I don’t want the public to buy into the bulls–t.”
Truth be told, it was promoter Bob Arum, not Pacquiao, who brought the injury up after the fight. Indeed, it’s even been implied that Pacquiao merely answered questions about the injury, rather than placing blame for his performance on it. Again, though, Mayweather isn’t buying it.
“I lost a lot of respect for him after all of this,” he says of Pacquiao.
Some, of course, may wonder if this is simply Mayweather being Mayweather – the master media manipulator. After all, the mention of a potential rematch was largely met with moans and eye rolls from a public that clearly felt burned after last Saturday’s less than thrilling extravaganza. Indeed, some may feel as if Mayweather’s words to Gray are simply a way to start the hype machine for a rematch humming.
And if there was ever incentive for a rematch, it’s word that last week’s bout may garnered five million Pay Per View buys. That’s close to twice the previous record – startling stuff, even for “experts” who were assuming the fight would garner three million buys, four at the absolute most.
“DirecTV sold 1.15 million pay-per-views,” Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports explains, “while Dish’s number was 500,000. The telephone companies combined for 600,000. Combined, that is 2.25 million already. If cable systems wound up being 60 percent of the total, that would mean the final figure is a mind-boggling 5.625 million.”
Mind boggling indeed. Perhaps the ten months that it will take Pacquiao to heal from surgery will be enough time for fans to gain an appetite for Floyd-Manny II. Then again…