By Sean Crose
Let’s get something straight. Floyd Mayweather is a powerful man. There’s no doubt that it pays to be on his good side – especially if you’re in the boxing business. All that is understood. Still, isn’t it a boxing reporter’s job to ask the guy some serious questions? Apparently not. Because Mayweather’s conference call on Wednesday to promote his upcoming fight with Marcos Maidana seemed more like softball practice than a media event.
What did it mean to Floyd to create such an amazing fight card? Had anyone beside Shane Mosley, anyone at all, been able to actually hurt Floyd in the ring? Being so incredible, did Floyd now see himself as the victim of his own success? How would Floyd actually prepare for a fight with himself? These questions, along with compliments and thank-you’s, were tossed around like free candy during Wednesday’s call.
I myself had prepared to ask Floyd to comment on the accusation that he cherry picks opponents (for the record, was it true or not?). I also prepared to ask the man if he might possibly continue fighting after his insanely lucrative contract with Showtime was fulfilled.
I never got a chance to ask those questions, however, for I was never called on. A basketball reporter from ESPN was called on, though. What’s more, Floyd was happy to talk to the man about the Miami Heat. “You guys have to apply yourselves like champions,” was his message to the team. “You guys have to work harder.”
No one complained. Everyone, it seemed, was happy to be there to listen to Floyd talk. And talk the man did! He particularly had some choice words to say about Manny Pacquiao. The recent fight with Bradley? “Both fighters fought like amateurs…I wasn’t pleased with his performance at all.”
What was more, Floyd also said he had noticed a difference in Pacquiao since Alex Ariza had left Manny’s camp. “I don’t see the same snap in his shots,” he said. “I’m saying there’s something totally different.” Floyd also took issue with Freddie Roach’s claim of not knowing what Ariza had been giving Manny when Ariza was a part of Team Pacqaiao.
The implications embedded in these statements of Floyd’s were obvious, but not one reporter really wanted to probe deeper. Heck, no one even mentioned a potential Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. One character even asked Floyd if he was disappointed that Pacquiao was “willing to fight Canelo,” instead of him – as if it were Manny who was the one with the record of perpetual avoidance.
At any rate, the entire thing was an interesting experience. Of course, Floyd uttered typical Floydisms:
“I think everyone’s trying to hit the jackpot and fight Floyd Mayweather.”
“I make A level and B level fighters look ordinary.”
“I can’t take anything anything away from Bernard Hopkins. He’s a legend, like myself.”
“I want to help this sport live on.”
And, of course, Floyd was, as always, grateful to those around him.
“I wanna thank everybody.”
“I really, really appreciate you.”
“I couldn’t choose a better team.”
In the end, really, this was a situation where Floyd was just being Floyd. It’s those who asked the questions who need to be called to task here. While there were one or two (perhaps even three) inquiries worth noting, no one asked the questions that fans want answered.
If Floyd’s choice of opponents rouses suspicion – and it does – then he should be asked about it. If Floyd comes across as being unusually afraid to suffer a single loss – and he does – then he should be asked about it. No one cares what the man thinks of the Miami Heat, except perhaps LeBron James. Everyone else wants to focus on the matters at hand.
Everyone else, it seems, but members of the media.