By Sean Crose
There was definitely love for Marcos Maidana during the final LA stop of the press tour to promote “Mayhem,” his rematch with pound for pound king Floyd Mayweather. For Argentinan flags abounded at the gathering.
Yet Mayweather came out in a button down shirt and sports coat like he was staring in a Hollywood premiere. Stepping onto the stage, he turned and looked over the crowd like he were a king observing a vast domain.
The staredown with Maidana was relatively brief, but had to be broken up by Golden Boy big shot Eric Gomez. Both men then took to their own sides of the stage and the festivities began. Two members of the NHL championship LA Kings team were introduced. They gave the fighters jerseys while Mayweather gave them TMT hats.
Leonard Ellerbe, Mayweather’s right hand man, then said some words. Then Showtime honcho Stephen Espinoza said some words. Then Eric Gomez got up and led the crowd in a rendition of “Happy Birthday” for birthday boy Maidana while the fighter was presented with a cake.
Then, finally, after yet another speaker had his turn, the real players of this past week’s drama stepped onto the stage. “Looks like we finally resolved the glove situation,” Maidana’s trainer, Robert Garcia, told the audience as a pair of giant gloves was presented.
Done with his attempt at humor, Garcia then really took the fight to Mayweather, addressing the complaints waged against Maidana’s dirty tactics in the ring. “This is boxing,” he said. “It’s the way boxing is.”
Flitting between English and Spanish, Garcia continued with his one man anti-Mayweather campaign, once again challenging Mayweather to a fight, then saying the women in Mayweather’s life would leave him once Mayweather’s money ran out. But there was still more to come.
Garcia went on to bring up the matter of the infamous bet Mayweather offered to Maidana earlier in the week. He then delved into the nature of true friendship (he apparently believed Mayweather had no true friends) before returning to the subject of the women he believed would eventually walk away from the highest paid athlete on earth.
Unlike Garcia, Maidana himself was gracious and subdued when he took to the mic– until,of course, he claimed that Mayweather fought with boxing judges on his side. The Argentinian warrior was back at his seat quickly, though, making way for the day’s main attraction.
Yet those expecting a repeat of the bad guy incarnation of Mayweather so frequently seen throughout the press tour were sorely disappointed. For Mayweather was in what could be considered his Oscar Acceptance Speech mode, a role he’s apt to play before the cameras.
Rather than responding to Garcia, Mayweather gave shout outs to his mom, his dad, his grandmother, and his kids (who he claimed he was dedicating the fight to). The most interesting person he gave a shout out to, however, was former Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer.
“Give a round of applause for Richard Schaefer,” he said. “That was the driving force of Golden Boy.” With those words, the man they call Money let the world know that, contrary to what the optimists have suggested, all is not well between he and Golden Boy promotions. “I’m behind you,” he told the unseen Schaefer, “one hundred percent.”
But that wasn’t all. “Our ultimate goal,” Mayweather said in reference to his own promotional company later on in the speech, “is to be like Golden Boy someday.” He may not have said a word to Maidana or his camp, but Floyd took the opportunity Thursday in Los Angeles to draw an undeniable battle line.
Maidana may be his foe this September, but Mayweather made it clear that Oscar De La Hoya and Golden Boy promotions will be his foe for years to come.