The Hottest Boxing Storylines for the Week of August 25
It was a pretty slow week in boxing overall, but Floyd Mayweather and 50 Cent sure did make a last-minute play to make things pretty interesting.
The pound-for-pound king and his former friend are once again lobbing verbal fisticuffs on social media, and we'll get you up to date on the latest.
50 Cent may have been the most outspoken, but he wasn't the only person to take the undefeated Mayweather to task.
Find out who else had the man called Money in his sights this week.
Another big-name fighter has signed with powerful adviser Al Haymon, and we explore what this could mean for the future of Golden Boy Promotions.
Kell Brook, fresh off his title win, is looking toward his first defense in the fall, but is he set on something bigger next year?
All that and more in this week's edition of the hottest storylines in boxing.
How Far Will 50 Cent and Floyd Mayweather Escalate Their Rivalry?
Just when it seemed that the jets had cooled on the brief but intense rivalry between 50 Cent and his one-time business partner Mayweather, the rambunctious rapper has once again fanned the flames.
And he did it with a bucket of ice.
In a profanity-laced video posted to Instagram, 50 Cent—real name Curtis Jackson III—promised to donate $750,000 to charity if the pound-for-pound king was able to read one full page of a Harry Potter book.
You can watch the video here, but be warned—the language is offensive and most certainly NSFW.
After challenging Mayweather’s ability to read, Jackson threw a bucket of ice water, made famous in recent weeks as part of the fundraising ALS challenge, off his balcony.
For the record, 50 Cent did participate (NSFW) in the challenge earlier in August.
Mayweather responded to this provocation in his customary way, flaunting his massive wealth on social media.
The undefeated fighter, who is the highest-grossing athlete in the world, according to Forbes, used his Twitter feed to post photos of the checks he received for his last two fights, totaling more than $72 million.
In case you’re keeping track at home, that’s about $1 million for every minute Mayweather spent in the ring with Canelo Alvarez and Marcos Maidana.
He also pointed out that the challenge was related to reading and not math, a clear reference to the checks and the unanswered nature of his charge. His last salvo was an Instagram post that featured an intensely focused Mayweather reading The Cat in the Hat.
Mayweather and Jackson have had a rocky relationship since a joint promotional venture between the two stars fell apart in 2012.
Where all this new hostility came from is anyone’s guess, as is where it ends up.
But it’s been entertaining, if offensive, so far and has social media abuzz with what each man will say or do next.
Does Keith Thurman Believe Floyd Is Boring?
It’s not at all unusual for fighters to engage in trash talk, and plenty of good fights have come about as a result.
With the era defined by Mayweather’s commercial and in-ring dominance coming toward its close, fighters looking to cash in before the pound-for-pound king cashes out are running out of chances.
Viewed in that context, Keith “One Time” Thurman’s description of Mayweather as “80-90 percent boring,” per On The Ropes Boxing Radio (h/t Edward Chaykovsky of BoxingScene.com), makes complete sense.
Mayweather will meet Maidana in a welterweight/junior middleweight championship rematch on September 13 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, but his 2015 dance card is yet to be filled.
If he doesn’t change his mind, Mayweather has maintained that he will retire from the sport after his fight next September, leaving only two lottery tickets and dozens of fighters lobbying for them.
Thurman is a young, undefeated champion in the prime of his career.
With fellow American Shawn Porter falling to Kell Brook last weekend, One Time sits atop the pile of young welterweights on this side of the pond, and that makes him a potential foil for the pound-for-pound king.
Thurman’s boring comment is likely to make some headlines, even if it came in the overall context of praise for Mayweather’s abilities. That’s just how it works.
Much speculation is out there about what Mayweather might choose to do with his final few fights, and the emergence of a young gun to challenge his throne is an intriguing prospect.
Thurman could well be that guy, and if you think that didn’t, at least partially, play into his comments, you haven’t been paying attention.
What Will Become of Al Haymon's Growing Stable?
Abner Mares has a new manager.
The 28-year-old former champion became the latest high-profile fighter to ink a deal with power adviser Haymon, coming to terms, per ESPN's Dan Rafael, after his deal with longtime manager Frank Espinoza expired.
Mares, who is under contract with Golden Boy Promotions until November, joins a stable that includes many of the biggest names in the sport.
Haymon controls nearly all of Oscar De La Hoya’s fighters—Mares was one of the holdouts—and while reports claim their relationship remains strong in light of Richard Schaefer’s departure, the situation remains tenuous at best for Golden Boy.
Mares was noncommittal on the prospect of re-upping with the company that has promoted him since his professional debut once his contract expires later this year, which leaves open the door for a better deal.
What exactly that could mean remains open to debate.
Top Rank, the other major promotional company in the sport, refuses to do any business with Haymon, foreclosing that option.
But Mayweather Promotions is now a licensed promoter in both Nevada and New York, and this has led to speculation that Mayweather, who is extremely close with Haymon and has had a rocky relationship with De La Hoya, could be in position to woo many of Golden Boy's fighters.
Regardless of how this shakes out, Golden Boy can’t be feeling very good about another of its fighters joining forces with Haymon.
Is Brook vs. Khan the Next Wembley Attraction?
Brook, just over a week removed from his successful transatlantic voyage, is targeting a December 6 return for his first defense of the IBF Welterweight Championship.
The 28-year-old Brit took the belt from Shawn Porter last weekend at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, scoring what must be viewed as a minor upset.
Brook and his team are targeting an early December return to the ring in the fighter’s hometown of Sheffield, England, but it’s too early to speculate on possible opponents.
Amir Khan, who is also a British native, appears out of the running, but only for now.
Brook vs. Khan seems to be on the agenda for early next year, and you can certainly understand why.
Carl Froch and George Groves packed 80,000 fans into Wembley Stadium earlier this year for their super middleweight rematch, and that’s become something of the goal/dream of all U.K. fighters since.
That’s not to say that Brook and Khan could match or even exceed the hype and anticipation necessary to generate that level of excitement and revenue, but it has a pretty good shot.
Brook was initially dismissive of Khan, telling Jim Gray during his post-fight interview that he could get in line after beating Porter, but it seems that he’s seen the error—money—of his ways.
Can Austin Trout Become a Factor at 154 Pounds?
Austin Trout has been in a bit of a downward spiral of late.
Since taking a convincing decision from newly minted middleweight champion Miguel Cotto late in 2012, the 28-year-old from Las Cruces, New Mexico, has struggled in the ring.
He dropped his 154-pound title to Canelo Alvarez last April—in a fight far closer than the scorecards indicated—and then got run over by Erislandy Lara at the Barclays Center in December.
Trout has always struggled to get quality opponents. He has a difficult style that provides high risk and low reward, and he has often had to take the less-beaten path to secure fights.
He returned to the ring on Friday night, in the main event of the season finale of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights, taking a unanimous 10-round decision from fringe contender Daniel Dawson.
But it wasn’t without some drama, and early in the fight it appeared that it might not go according to plan.
Trout tasted the canvas twice in Round 3—the only round he lost on any of the official scorecards—but he was in control for the remainder of the fight, felling his foe back in Round 8.
He definitely has the talent and will to find his way back into the crowded mix at 154 pounds.
But his win over Dawson also showed he has some areas that still need work.