One of the most difficult skills in life is for a human being to put himself in someone else’s shoes. We often laugh at personalities on television who, when confronted with a circumstance, make a decision that often defines them for eternity. Former University of Michigan basketball star Chris Webber’s infamous timeout in the 1993 NCAA Final comes to mind. Even if Webber went on to win 3 NBA championships and score 27,000 points, his presence would always be preceded by a decision he made.
I ask each reader of this piece to stop what you are doing. Reflect on what was mentioned in the aforesaid paragraph and play along with me for a minute. Place your cyberspace helmet on and set it for the year 1993. Now try your best to imagine yourself in that game. I want YOU to now become Chris Weber. Here are the facts:
It’s the biggest college basketball game of the year. Two basketball powerhouses are competing, North Carolina and Michigan. The game is played on April 5, 1993 in the Louisiana Superdome which seats 55,675 for basketball games. Every seat is filled. Carolina is at the line, shooting to go up three. Nineteen seconds left. They miss! YOU get the rebound. What do YOU do? Dare I fail to mention, YOU are the star and most outspoken member of the team. Do you keep the ball? Pass it? Call timeout like Weber? Do you commit a traveling violation before calling timeout (like Webber)? I should also mention that about 30 million people are watching worldwide. How would YOU handle it? Do you think YOU would have fared better than Webber? If you honestly took the trip back in time as this writer asked you to, I think the laughing has stopped by now. You have now witnessed one of the most difficult obstacles to hurdle in life- attempting to resolve a situation in a better manner than someone else. It is easier said than done, my friends.
Enter one Floyd Sinclair (B.K.A. Floyd Mayweather, A.K.A. “Pretty Boy”, P.K.A. “Money”). Keep those cyber helmets on and let’s travel to June 25, 2005. Again I say- here are the facts:
Mayweather vs. Gatti. Lightning vs. Thunder. This was the original fight that was supposed to set up Mayweather vs. Cotto. As Mayweather said leading up to the fight, “thunder makes noise, but lightning strikes.” As Money May stunned viewers with a brutal 6th round stoppage, there was one spectator who was shocked more than any fan in attendance at Boardwalk Hall. His name? Miguel Cotto.
After seeing Floyd’s dismantling of Gatti (chants of “easy work” coming from the Mayweather camp before the fight- remember?), the powers that be at Top Rank decided to back off the Mayweather talk and put their cash cow (Cotto) into more winnable fights. The writing was on the wall. The Mayweather fight was a chance they weren’t quite ready to take. Yet for some reason I keep hearing about how ‘May’ has ducked Cotto for years. But there’s more. Keep those helmets on folks, the rebuttal is just beginning. Let’s fast forward to April 8, 2006. Money May defeats Zabdiel (B.K.A. Zab, A.K.A. “Super”) Judah. During the fight, ‘May’ hurts his hand. We all know by now he has serious problems with his hands since back in the “Famoso” Hernandez days. So after the Judah fight, the plan was to get the hand healed up and come back late in 2006 or early 2007.
Enter Antonio (A.K.A. Tony, B.K.A. “Hands of Stone”- sorry, I had to go there) Margarito. The offer made by Top Rank to Mayweather was to fight Margarito in August 2006 for $8 million. Did ‘May’ turn down the $8 million offer that people unwaveringly remind me about three years later? Of course he did. But nobody ever talks about the “why”. Why did he reject the offer?
Okay, as you did with Webber earlier in the story, I want you to now become Money May. Now, I know this is going to be much harder for many readers because of your dislike of Floyd Mayweather. But that is exactly the point of this rebuttal piece- to show readers how tough it is to put oneself in another’s shoes. If you are honest with yourself, you’ll put your dislike for this man aside and keep your helmets on. Here we go.
At this point in YOUR career (remember, it is YOU in Money May’s shoes at this juncture) you are 33-0 (22). This is the first pay per view you have headlined and you did about 400,000 buys and cleared close to maybe $4 million. Not bad. But you are three time champion at the time in three different weight classes (super featherweight, lightweight, super lightweight). Your first pay per view did well and you have become a star. You should have been a star earlier based on the resume’ you built in winning and defending your titles in multiple divisions. You beat guys like Genaro Hernandez, Angel Manfredy, Gregorio Vargas, Emmanuel Augustus, Diego Corrales, Carlos Hernandez, Jesus Chavez, Jose Luis Castillo (twice), Chop Corley, Victoriano Sosa, and Phillip N’dou. You’ve put in the hard fights and feel you deserve “Golden Boy” type money. Nevertheless, Gatti was your best pay day so far.
So now you are asked to fight Margarito for $8 million. Great offer, right? I’m sure the Mayweather camp thought so too. But then you are told it has to be in August and not November or December. Remember, you have a history of bad hands and you just hurt your hand in your last fight. Now you are being asked to fight a big welterweight (with a head made out of stone) within four months. So what do YOU do? As a superstar in the sport, don’t you owe it to yourself to be 100% in the biggest fight of your career? Remember, you are the #1 Pound for Pound guy on some lists at this point. You are not a star. You are a superstar! So what do YOU do?
Well here is what ‘May’ did. Remember, we are sticking to the facts. No conjecture. He countered Top Rank’s offer and told them he would fight Margarito in August for the $8 million. The only stipulation was after he beat Margarito, he wanted Top Rank to guarantee him $10 million for the Cotto fight that would surely follow. How’s that for ducking Cotto and Margarito? These are the facts. But there’s more. Top Rank was only willing to guarantee $7 million for a Cotto fight, not the $10 million request.
Okay readers, before I continue let’s do a little math. Cotto was Top Rank’s money fighter during this time. Agreed? I have my cyber helmet on now and I’ll put myself in Money May’s shoes for a minute. Why would I fight Antonio Margarito for $8 million and then come back and fight the money guy, THE MONEY guy Cotto for $1 million less? It doesn’t make sense. So I ask you once again. Put yourself in May’s shoes. What would YOU do?
Once Top Rank wouldn’t budge, ‘May’ wrote a check for $750,000 and told Top Rank that he no longer needed their services. He bought his contract out. Let me add that he also asked Top Rank to get him $20 million for a De La Hoya fight. Top Rank didn’t think there was $20 million for him to make on that fight. In a manner of speaking, they were correct. Money May went on to make $30 million for the De La Hoya fight and probably at least $20 million from the Hatton tussle. Not to mention $8 million (amount sound familiar?) for the fight with Carlos Baldomir. He will also receive eight figures for the Marquez fight. He sold himself as the bad guy and a few 24/7 episodes later it has paid off for him. So I ask you one last time… what would YOU do?
If you are honest with yourself and think about your family’s best interests, I think you now understand how Money May earned his nickname. If you are not honest with yourself…well… you don’t have to like him. Just respect what he did and how he did it. One more thing. LEAVE MONEY MAY ALONE!
I’d like to thank Damian Zellous for inspiring me to write this commentary.