The contract have been agreed on and signed, a date has been set for the fight, competing cable networks with broadcasting rights of the fights of the two pugilistic competitors have reached agreement on who will air what and when, and we wait in gleeful anticipation for May 2 when this will reach its final culmination in the ring. In the interim, the usual coverage and promoting has gotten into full swing, but with variations that are not exactly standard in this process. But then again, it is a Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight, a boxer who seem to generate more hate and hostility from a boxing public not seen in the US since Cassius Clay refused to step forward on the 28th of April 1967 to be inducted into the US army, citing religious reasons for his objection. No, I certainly am not inferring that Floyd Mayweather Jr. is a current day replica of Muhammed Ali. I am contending there are similarities in the visceral expositions of hate and hostility directed at him, as that which we saw during that Muhammed Ali era.
Yes, people will try to justify the hate and vitriol with the rationale that Floyd’s attitude and behaviors are responsible for the hostility. That he went to jail for domestic violence. That he is arrogant. The excuses will run the gamut. But when they are broken down and objectively examined, they are exposed as band aids being applied over open sores of prejudices to, in vain, obfuscate the odious and noxious seepings that permeate the narratives.
The opinions and perspectives of who is the better fighter, who has the greater advantage, who is more likely to be victorious in the engagement, will never be settled until the night in question. That is not what this column is intended to address. This column is examines the tones and themes that have become the acceptable standard in the coverage and promotion, and the blatant double standard and hypocrisy that inundate the perspective of so called boxing pundits and talking heads. What I will attempt to make transparent, is how visceral hate can produce descents into the illogical, the blasphemous, and even the dishonest. And this is so easy that I continually ponder whether Floyd Mayweather Jr. has public relations people in his employ, if he does not why, and if he does why he is paying them to do absolutely nothing to defend his reputation and rights as an American Citizen and Fighter.
It is not usual to see media entities in a nation gang up on a citizen who is involved in some professional discipline in that nation, while continuously lauding and extolling the virtues of his foreign opponent. Now I am not contending that the media should be attacking Manny. I am contending that there is something bizarre in the circumstances of a citizen of a particular nation, who has represented his nation in the highest international sports arena, becoming a Piñata for the verbal and literal barbs of his countrymen and countrywomen, whose occupation is talking about sports. Why?
To the issue of Floyd’s social imperfections, well yeah, but is that unique. Is he some exception? Even in the sport broadcast booths there are individuals whose anti-social forays are equivalent or far exceed anything that can be attributed to Floyd Mayweather Jr. And what about Manny, or Oscar, or the slew of fighters past and present who have stepped away from the straight and narrow occasionally or frequently. Is it not kind of peculiar that they are not recipients of the same kind of animosity and antipathy that seem to be reserved for Floyd Mayweather Jr.? Of course there are some distinct non boxing and boxing related differences between them, and I hesitate to lean heavily on the non-boxing related differences, because that would require a separate column dedicated to that particular subject. But in the context of the boxing related differences, well Floyd is probably the first fighter to take complete and sovereign ownership over his talents, cutting out the middle men who the pundits and talking heads see as some kind of requirement for athletes, and thus have been able to reap the maximum revenue produced from his athletic efforts. His assertiveness in questioning the so called expertise of boxing pundits and talking heads with respect to his position in boxing and his ability, and his sometimes not too politically correct assessment of the abilities and chances against him of his prospective opponents, has made him the one fighter that the boxing press just love to hate. What is kind of an irony, is that today Manny Pacquiao and his representatives have been going down that same road with not even a whimper of indignation from those who found it repugnant when it was done by Floyd’s Camp. So much so, that Freddie Roach who had expressed outrage over the alleged mocking of his speech patterns by Brandon Rios Camp in November 2013, an allegation that was accepted as fact by most of the boxing press and denounced in no uncertain terms, felt secure and confident that mocking the speech patterns of Floyd Mayweather Sr. would produce no equivalency of denunciation. After all, he was a 7 times boxing coach of the year and Floyd Mayweather SR., well who was he?
A regular sports talking head with weekly morning television show opined that God would be in Manny’s corner in his fight with Floyd, because Floyd, in his estimation apparently, is not as loved by God as Manny is. If it were not for the fact that I have long grown accustomed to the obtuse and inane patterns of reasoning that is exhibited by those who talk a lot, but apparently do not engage their brain before venting their opinions and perspectives, I would have been flattened by such an outrageous understanding of Christianity. That God would somehow, in contradiction to everything that is written in Christian doctrine, infuse himself into the outcome of a voluntary and commercially driven violent interaction between two men, by lending his graces to one and enmity to the other, is beyond the reaches of rational understanding. And if there were no other exhibitions of the insanity that seem to take over the mental operations of some in their examination of the upcoming event but this one, it can stand alone as evidence of what normality becomes, when logic, objectivity, fairness and balance exit stage left in any discourse among human kind.