Boxing Scene is reporting that Freddie Roach, Manny Pacquiao’s long time trainer is claiming that Al Haymon’s staff are calling up potential Pacquiao sparring partners and offering them more money to sit on their hands than Team Pacquiao is offering to pay them for their sparring services. With this piece of information amid a range of other compromising developments Haymon not only signals a deep seated fear of a Pacquiao win but the early presentiments of a just-now emerging scandal with multiple fronts.
While Haymon and Mayweather’s fear of Pacquiao is by now well chronicled, including Haymon’s penchant for steering his fighters clear of difficult fights, what makes this latest news rather unique is that, even in the rough and tumble world of boxing, known for its cut-throat business enterprise, it is highly unusual for a management team to tamper with an opponent’s training camp in the manner reported by Roach. This is not just poor form but indicative of Haymon’s deep seated fear that if the natural course of events were left to evolve as they normally might, the results would prove catastrophic. As much as anything else, this latest bit of tampering by Haymon and his staff, if true, is not just suggestive, but demonstrative of not just poor sportsmanship but a failure to truly believe in Mayweather’s chances of beating Pacquiao.
Roach, Pacquiao’s longtime trainer, is currently securing a battery of boxers that can, at least as far as is humanly possible, emulate and mimic Floyd Mayweather’s fighting style. In this manner, as is the custom and tradition of all good training camps, his fighter can most efficiently prepare for his next opponent. In the general course of events advisers, promoters and trainers who actually believe in their fighter’s ability come fight time do not meddle with an opponent’s training camp unless of course, they are extremely concerned with and doubtful of the outcome. Haymon apparently cannot help himself as news of his team’s attempts to compromise the Pacquiao training camp are seen as not only petty but indicative of a business style informed by both bullying and power-monging.
As Haymon signals his own personal fear of a Mayweather loss amid reports of tampering with potential sparring partners a more insidious rumor and potentially emerging scandal has taken on a life of its own. There is a rumor now floating amongst those close to the principals, including potential sparring partners, that elements within the Haymon/Mayweather camp have discussed the possibility of compromising a Pacquiao sparring partner and using him as a deep throat source of information about Roach’s so-called secret strategy for the Mayweather fight.
Roach recently announced that he would be hiring extra security to control and secure the training camp so that he and his staff could implement a new fight strategy without fear of exposure. Roach has made no secret of the fact that his blueprint for Pac leading into the Money May fight has evolved over time and that he has adjusted his game-plan to meet the new realities presented by a changing and devolving Mayweather. Properly effecting this plan will rely on having willing and able sparring partners who will sign non-disclosure agreements pertaining to the particulars. Willing but off-the-record sources indicate that Haymon/Team Mayweather desperately want that information and may be actively pursuing a means to acquire it.
This added wrinkle should make life interesting for Roach and his staff. While curious it is not surprising that, despite the bravado coming out of Haymon/Team Mayweather, they are actually demonstrating that they feel the need for inside information to pull the fight out. Hiring the disgruntled Alex Ariza is clearly part of this strategy. While Ariza is a decent enough trainer he is nothing special. His gift is that he, according to Team Mayweather insiders, has specific information about Pac’s relative strengths and weaknesses that the Mayweather training staff hope to exploit. Ariza has been working with Team Mayweather for many weeks now prepping them on particulars.
To be fair, what Haymon’s minions are doing may not have Haymon’s personal blessing but it is now clear that Haymon-office conducted attempts at tampering with Pacquiao’s training camp are in full swing. While some may suggest that this operation, if you will, represents good gamesmanship, to the traditionalist it demonstrates the dreaded two-headed monster, namely, poor sportsmanship and low self-regard/fear.
As Haymon signals Team Mayweather fear amid new allegations of behind-the-scenes tampering and attempts to compromise Pacquiao’s training camp, what the public is seeing is perhaps the tip of an emerging scandal that is born out of a Team Mayweather crisis of faith. What plays out on May 2, regardless of what Pacquiao training camp secrets spill out along the way, will prove the that Haymon/Team Mayweather fear was justified all along.
Commentary By Matthew R. Fellows
Photo By: John Flickr License