Floyd Mayweather is trying to sell the fact that Robert Guerrero isn’t as good a fighter as he is.
Fair enough. That much is true.
But that doesn’t make him much of a promoter, does it?
Why else would you be denigrating victories achieved by an opponent you have to face? Mayweather recently dissected some of the wins that have put Guerrero in the position to fight him (as they will on May 4) and in particular, he made light of the welterweight victory over Andre Berto that earned Guerrero the interim WBC belt.
“He was grappling when he fought Berto,” Mayweather told an ESPN interviewer. “I think Berto’s a good fighter, but I don’t think he has the movement of a Floyd Mayweather……Is Andre Berto a better fighter than Miguel Cotto? Ask yourself that question?”
Mayweather also derided Guerrero on his victories over Michael Katsidis, for having a “dogfight” with the Australian, and Joel Casamayor, as he pointed out that at age 40 (more accurately 39 at the time), the Cuban defector went the distance with Guerrero.
All of this is fine for those who will be offering up prognostications on this fight. They may be valid reasons why Guerrero deserves to be a decided underdog. But for a fighter, who also happens to be his own promoter, to be offering up such an attack against a fighter’s qualifications would seem to be defeating the purpose, as if to say that the fight itself is so non-competitive going in that it isn’t worth watching.
Is this how Mayweather, in conjunction with Showtime, exhibits “merchandising” prowess?
Leonard Ellerbe, the CEO of Mayweather Promotions, was recently quoted in an interview as saying that Floyd was “bringing boxing to the network and it will turn it into a mainstream sport.”
This isn’t how you appeal to the mainstream.
What Mayweather is experiencing is the conflict that sometimes happens when the same guy who is the promoter of the fight (Mayweather Promotions has hired Golden Boy Promotions to handle the nuts and bolts of the promotion) is also the fighter. You see, the “fighter” wants to do a lot of trash talking and put down his opponent, making it appear as if he does belong in the same ring with him. But the “promoter” part of him ideally would be pumping up interest in such a way that fans felt that they were going to get a great fight in exchange for the subscription fee they were going to fork over.
When you start talking about how poorly qualified Guerrero is, you could conceivably have the effect of bringing down your own ship, particularly if there is a new partner (in this case Showtime) to impress.
And just for the record, Guerrero brings plenty of credentials to the table, not the least of which is the fact that he has lost just once is 33 fights as a pro (not counting two no-decisions) while in the process annexing recognized world championships in the featherweight, super featherweight, lightweight and welterweight divisions. While you can’t say he is a tremendous power puncher, you also can’t say he isn’t a guy who can compete hard over the distance; in fact, he’s been twelve rounds in each of his last three fights, and skipped over the 140-pound class to beat previously-undefeated Selcuk Aydin and then Berto, where he won by six points on all three judges’ scorecards.
Do those credentials quite stack up with those of Mayweather, who has never lost in 43 pro fights? No, admittedly they don’t.
But pointing that out with so much emphasis is not necessarily the way you promote a fight.