Master boxing promoter Don King is renowned for his clever “Controversy Marketing and Negotiation” ploys. King staged group fight melees during promotional press conferences, generated numerous “scandals” or "controversies" surrounding his fighters before their scheduled bouts, and manufactured frequent rumors, lies or innuendos.
All of it resulted in the generation of big headlines, which in turn raised event awareness that in turn put King in more favorable negotiating positions and, inevitably, led to larger Pay Per View audiences and overall interest and viewership of his boxing shows. Scandals, controversy and hyperbole meant more money on King's pocket.
It turns out that the “Golden Boy” Oscar de la Hoya, the former boxer, is now “Wise Guy Oscar” the boxing promoter. I mean this as a compliment. Boxing promoters need to wise and savvy and know how to make the most of a situation to favor their boxers.
De la Hoya, Floyd Mayweather's boxing promoter, has devised a strategy that scheme-master Don King would be proud of.
- Demand the immediate and radical change of the drug-testing rules governing the sport of boxing. In essence, requesting Olympics-style testing that mandates random blood and urine sampling prior to and after the March 13 fight. Pacquiao agreed to have blood taken for testing before the initial media conference and immediately after the fight but would not agree to have blood drawn within 30 days of the bout.
- Insinuate that if Manny Pacquiao does not immediately agree to his precise demands, that could be clear indication that “Pacman” is using performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) in order to achieve his lofty status as, arguably, the world's best "pound for pound" boxer.
- Put Pacquiao on the defensive and strongly affect his mental preparation for the bout. In effect, destabilize him psychologically for the fight.
- Use the reputation tarnishing scheme to negotiate better terms for his client (Mayweather) on a variety of fronts, like securing a larger share of the prize money and dictating terms of a possible rematch, among many other contract clauses that are kept confidential.
- All the while use the scheme to generate added publicity and awareness for the fight (which helps both camps).
De la Hoya, owner of Golden Boy Promotions, is a boxing promoter quick study. Like it or not, his scheme is working beautifully.
The pupil, De la Hoya, is outsmarting the teacher, Bob Arum, who formerly served as Oscar's boxing promoter.
Pacquiao and his experienced promoter, Arum, seemed to have been caught completely off-guard and are now backpedaling and in full damage control mode.
That is exactly how “Golden Boy" De la Hoya and “Pretty Boy” Floyd want to have them.
Having said that, don't count the equally cunning Arum out. The experienced promoter has seen it all in his long career. He may be able to “pull a rabbit out of hat” and come up with a plan that is able to neutralize Oscar's savvy business and sporting assault.
Given Oscar's attacks people are wondering if Pacman uses PEDs. And now he is in a position where Pacman must prove that he does not or, that he is willing to do whatever is necessary and reasonable to demonstrate that.
Pacquiao’s reasonable position is that he is willing to abide by existing "boxing drug testing rules," i.e. using the best practices of the sport. Boxing drug testing rules vary from State to State, country to country. Since the Pretty Boy vs Pacman fight would take place in Nevada, than the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) has jurisdiction and is in charge of setting and enforcing the rules. Thus, if Pacman abides by the NAC rules, he is, in fact, fully complying with existing "boxing drug testing rules."
Anything beyond that falls under the rubric of: Major Boxing Reform Legislation and is suited for a more thorough, deliberate discussion. That is when a Boxing Commission headed by someone like U.S. Senator John McCain would make sense. They can look at making meaningful, long-term changes to improve and benefit the sport, including more credible and effective drug testing. But that is a discussion best reserved for another day.
For the short-term, Arum's position that Pacman will fully abide by the drug testing rules of the NAC is entirely reasonable and fair.
Once all the talk about blood tests and alleged drug usage goes away, the fight will take place.
The edge goes to Mayweather. He is faster, bigger, with more power and a far superior defense.
Manny will make it extremely interesting and dramatic. But, all things being equal, with both fighters at their best, Manny will simply not be able to hit Floyd as much as he hits other opponents. Manny will get hit. That could be trouble.
Perhaps by KO, or, more likely, by decision, “Pretty Boy” Mayweather should emerge as the winner.
It will take a bigger man with outstanding power and solid boxing skills to beat Mayweather. Someone like “Sugar” Shane Mosley or his opponent in January, Andre Berto. Only someone with those characteristics has a chance of beating Mayweather.
Despite the throngs of detractors who don’t like his extravagant lifestyle and arrogant personality, Floyd Mayweather is simply a gifted fighter. He could use some PR help to enhance his bad image outside the ring. Perhaps publicly supporting a respected charitable organization, helping the elderly, or feeding the poor would help.
Regardless of his bad image, he is a good boxer, great, perhaps even the best of his generation.
Manny is a great fighter and a very likeable person. He is engaged with the community, in fact, he wants to run for public office in his native Philippines. He can sing, he can dance. It is hard not to root for him. But charm and an endearing personality will not be the deciding factors inside the ring.
Floyd over Manny by decision.
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