As many predicted was just a matter of time Floyd Mayweather Jr. is again looking for a way out of the Pacquiao fight. As Top Rank and Pac-man have taken the initiative and presented their case to the public all eyes have shifted to the Mayweather camp for clarification and movement. Floyd Jr. now has a very real and consequential problem on his hands as public opinion is turning against him and the meta-narrative he has so artfully crafted is now telling a story that puts the self-styled best-ever in the worst of all possible lights. It is one thing to play the bad guy in order to sell a fight but it is quite another for Mayweather to be reduced to being perceived as soft and dare it be said, wimpy. As the narrative turns against him, Money May is spiraling downward.
Insiders are confirming a number of things. Firstly, Mayweather is beyond upset with Bob Arum and Pacquiao not only for jumping the gun and informing the media that they have agreed to all of Mayweather’s terms for the fight, but he is near catatonically livid at the manner in which they are going about it. Prior to going on his current media blitz Pac sat down with Arum who advised him that at every opportunity he was to turn on the heat and call Mayweather out. From interview-to-interview as well as on twitter one sees the tell-tale signs of this dramatic and wholly calculated campaign to challenge not only Money May’s intentions but his manhood. By all accounts little Floyd is not handling this well.
Secondly, at the behest of his public relations team, Mayweather is being counseled to return fire and regain the initiative. In his most recent interviews Mayweather is not just responding in a frustrated, defensive and angry manner but he looks to be in a genuine melt-down. Not only is his undefeated record at risk but his legacy as a true warrior is now a question mark in the minds of many. As one pays close attention to the manner in which Money is returning fire one sees not simply a venomous response-in-kind, the kind observers have come to expect from him, but a more portentious series of responses that, when taken collectively, suggest the raising of old demons. That is, Mayweather is signally his return to form and his raw and primal fear of Manny Pacquiao the fighter. Indeed, quite inexplicably at this late stage in the negotiating process he is again, quite suddenly, as if in a vacuum, bringing up what should be dead issues. Like a good archaeologist he is raising long fossilized issues concerning just revenue sharing, Pac’s suspect pay-per-view history and his recent knockout at the hands of Marquez. Mayweather is in a corner, being forced into a fight with Pacquiao that he personally is well afraid of, and like a cornered animal, has turned vicious looking for what he sees as an honor-preserving and self-respecting way out.
As Mayweather continues of late to bring up Pacquiao’s recent relatively poor pay-per-view numbers he is signaling to those who know him best that he is now constructing an exit strategy and framing it in a manner calculated to draw heat away from himself and back onto Arum his sworn enemy. Money May is now suggesting that Arum and Pacquiao are themselves out-of-line in asking for a cut of the purse that Pac’s recent pay-per-view numbers do not justify. In short, knowing that Pacquiao and Arum will stand pat on the 60-40 split Mayweather is creating pre-text for what he sees as a justifiable end to negotiations.
What Money May is saying is clear, he is not going to give in to what he believes are outrageous and unjustified demands by one who is eminently unworthy and that if no one else will stand firm on principle he will. This little lecture on morality coming from a man who recently pleaded guilty to battery and domestic violence on the mother of his children is rich if nothing else.
Mayweather is quick to call Pac a pawn suggesting that the chief culprit in the delay is actually Arum. This of course serves on two fronts as it confirms Money May’s anger at Pac’s recent offensive and as well his attempt to lay blame for what he hopes will collapse the negotiations at the feet of his arch enemy Bob Arum. Not only this but rhetoric from those who know the Mayweather principals are suggesting that if Mayweather is actually forced into the fight, he would like to minimize both Top Rank’s and HBO’s cut of the revenue pie. Mayweather left HBO on very difficult terms and he is loath to provide them, through his services, a healthy payday.
Mayweather appears for all the world to not only be looking for a way out of the Pacquiao fight but to do it in a manner that preserves his standing as the best-ever. What he is really doing however is confirming once again to a fan-base that has been fooled once-to-often that, despite the obfuscation and bluster, Money May is scared, petty, greedy, and duplicitous. The best-ever indeed.
Commentary By Matthew R. Fellows
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