2009 was a sub-par year for Golden Boy Promotions. Top young champion Juan Diaz was knocked out by aging co-worker Juan Manuel Marquez. Another young lion, Victor Ortiz, was given a beating and had his heart and determination questioned. In addition to other big losses by some of their big names, they were the common denominator in two of the top three worst decisions of the year (Diaz-Malignaggi I, Guzman-Funeka), three of four if you count the last one I will mention.
2009 was also rather unkind to Floyd Mayweather Jr. It was widely reported that Mayweather was in financial trouble and had run afoul of the IRS before making his comeback to boxing. In addition, Manny Pacquiao staked his claim to Floyd’s mythical pound-for-pound crown. Mayweather may have been under the impression that his return to boxing would return the crown to his head – it didn’t.
During the weigh-in for Mayweather’s fight with Lightweight kingpin Juan Manuel Marquez, which was supposed to take place at a catch weight of 144 pounds, Mayweather didn’t try to make the weight, opting instead to pay a $600,000 penalty for his 2-pound indiscretion. Mayweather was roundly criticized for his actions, or lack thereof. Golden Boy was criticized for appearing to show a complete lack of regard for their fighter’s well-being and (potential) safety. Mayweather’s extra advantage of two pounds was, and remains, a hot topic of debate in cyberspace.
As noted in part 1 of “The Many Mistakes of Mayweather vs. Pacquiao”, Pacquiao’s team inserted a penalty of $10 million dollars per pound should Mayweather choose to come in overweight again. I previously took issue with that stipulation, as I was under the belief that the NSAC governed such violations. My point was challenged in a debate on twitter, and after a cursory dissection of the NSAC regulations; I am retracting that statement, as it is left up to the promoters to negotiate penalties in contracts.
When Oscar de la Hoya and Richard Schaefer decided to represent Floyd Mayweather Jr. in negotiations for a potential mega-fight with pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao, they must have seen dollar signs and a chance at having their name next to the largest fight of this generation, not to mention the chance to garner loads of good press. In case you’re wondering why Floyd Mayweather, of Mayweather Promotions, needs Golden Boy Promotions to broker a deal on his behalf, try finding record of a promoters license for Mayweather Promotions.
I criticized Pacquiao’s handlers for lack of organization, and Mayweather’s team has earned the right to the same scrutiny, if not more. Floyd Mayweather Sr. had made accusations about Pacquiao’s cleanliness as far back as April of 2009, while he was leading his lamb (Ricky Hatton) to slaughter. Stevie Wonder could have seen this problem coming. Why Golden Boy didn’t sit Floyd Sr. down with a press coach is beyond rational thinking. At the very least, they could have given a short seminar to the Mayweathers. Golden Boy’s handling of the ongoing accusations, implications, and innuendo has been nothing short of catastrophic. Golden Boy’s founder, Oscar de la Hoya even joined in on the dog pile, comparing Pacquiao’s punches to those of Fernando Vargas and Shane Mosley – two known PED users. It seems like every day something detrimental to the negotiation is leaked to the press, and when Golden Boy is accused of being the source they remain silent.
When Mayweather and Golden Boy stood firm on their stance of using Olympic-style drug testing, they were asked why they refused the same when admitted PED user Shane Mosley was asked to do the same by Zab Judah in 2008. Any guesses as to what their answer was? Your guess is as good as mine, because I haven’t heard one yet.
Golden Boy’s biggest mistake of them all, and the move that may prove to be the killing stroke on this fight (provided we don’t see a complete turn around and have both fighters sign before the tentative January 6 press conference), was to bend to Floyd Mayweather’s every whim. They have a small promotional stake in Pacquiao, meaning they earn when he earns. Why then, did they allow Mayweather to take a chance on harming their money tree’s future earning potential? The logic here is mind-boggling.
I’ve written before that the ridiculous back-and-forth was all part of the promotion, and was doing a great job of grabbing headlines and TV time. I may have been correct in the beginning. It appears now, that the Mayweathers took their mind games too far, as evidenced by the legal action taken by Pacquiao. However, clerical errors in the filing of the complaint may have set that action back even farther. I chose to criticize both sides in separate segments because I feel both sides let ego, bravado, and quite possibly, a childish game get in the way of what could have been great.
While Manny Pacquiao’s image may have taken a hit, Floyd Mayweather’s already shaky image and legacy were blasted by Hines Ward, and they’re now on the way to the locker room with a broken jaw. Pacquiao will have the dark cloud hovering over him, but Team Mayweather is the man doing the rain dance that brought about the cloud.
The biggest fight of the 21st century has been called off, according to Bob Arum. In my opinion, 55% of the blame should be assigned to Mayweather, and 45% should go to Pacquiao. I am however, willing to stretch to 60-40. Regardless of what I think, opinions will vary and I’m certain they will.
This article was featured at Fighthype.com. "Manny's Many Mistakes" can be found on bleacher report, and edited version is found also at Fighthype.com.