Let's start of with a compliment, shall we? What, you think we're just a bunch of nattering nabobs of negativism, us keyboard tappers? It was nice to see boxing moving another step into the new millenium with the slick presentation at the Nokia Theatre in New York City on Tuesday. Deafening tunage, dry ice, slick use of lighting--there was solid drama to take in for the media and fight fans who came to soak up the pre-fight hype for the May 1st Floyd-Mayweather-Shane Mosley welterweight clash, which will unfold at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Now, back to the regularly scheduled program of nattering negativism...
No, the promotion isn't titled "Better Late Than Never." It's actually labeled Mayweather vs. Mosley: Who R U Picking," which isn't bad, from my viewpoint, because it encourages people to debate the match, and it has a current vibe to it, with the "texting" type language nudging folks to go online to weigh in, and fire a prediction for the welterweight scrap. But the primary cloud which hangs over the promotion--and there are a few, as Team Mayweather opened up a Pandora's box of PED-use-in-boxing with their campaign to sully Manny Pacquiao as a user of illegal performance enhancing chemicals--is the fact that the bout is unfolding about five years later than I'd like.
That's not to say it won't be a solid tussle to take in, probably worth much of the $55 minus beer company rebate PPV cost. But Mosley is 38 years old, and if and when Mayweather beats him, the natural reaction on the part of fans and media alike will be: so what, Mayweather beat a sub-prime Mosley.
But it is entirely possible that we see Great Shane, not So-So Shane, or Subpar Shane, as we have in recent years, on May 1. One presumes he'll train his tail off for this beef, which it goes without saying will elevate his legacy immeasurably if he manages to be the first man to defeat 40-0 Floyd. Legacy aside, one also assumes that he'll come in with an extra edge of surliness, after hearing Mayweather bust on him for being an admitted PED user, as he did on Tuesday in NYC.
Nope, the Pandora/PED stench did indeed make a touchdown at Nokia. Interestingly, the 46-5 Mosley himself removed some of the sting of the smackdown when he broached the matter himself, before Mayweather could go there.
"After this fight no one gonna say it's the CLEAR...it's gonna be CLEAR when Floyd takes that ass whupping I'm about to give him," Mosley said during his time at the mike, alluding to the potion concocted by Victor Conte which the fighter says he ingested without knowing its illicit nature.
Surliness was indeed on display during the staredown, as the fighters jawed at each other, and then engaged in some shoving. Laughter ensued when Mayweather's right hand man Leonard Ellerbe came rushing to the scrum, slipped, and fell hard on his rump.
The chuckles dissipated as Golden Boy's Richard Schaefer threw down a gauntlet when he promised that the fight, which he referred to as "one of the best showdowns, fights ever in the history of boxing," would break PPV records. "Three million homes is what I anticipate," said Schaefer, a bold guesstimate considering the De La Hoya-Mayweather fight on May 5, 2007 holds the PPV buys record, at 2.7 million. Ellerbe too said the event will "break all kinds of records." We were reminded that this is the seventh PPV Floyd will take part in, and that the last six have accrued 5.5 million buys and over $290 million in revenue.
Oscar De La Hoya, looking summertime trim, said that he foresees a knockout for his Golden Boy partner Mosley..."and it ain't gonna be pretty."
During his time at the mike, the 33-year-old Mayweather exhibited mostly his sweeter side, giving a shoutout to God, his children, and his mom. But he did refer to Mosley's admitted use of "enhancement" supplements, and said that he wanted to show the world that "my sport is clean.
"I can't say how many fights he's had in the past...(that he was) using enhancement drugs," Floyd said, drawing a slight frown but no verbal counter from Mosley.
Floyd did lob a grenade at Pacquiao, saying he never "knew a man that didn't want to take a $25 million drug test."
Floyd admitted that the keyboard tappers will likely bring up Mosley's age if he takes down the California hitter. "There's always an excuse," he said, showing the defensive side of his personality.
Guy has a point. If he beats Pacquiao, Manny will get slack cut to him because of his (lack of) size.
The takeaway: I see this as a tasty, but not magnificent entree. Floyd's the wiliest boxer in the game today; he'll do what needs to be done, and eschew excessive risk, and use his feet more than usual, to snag a decision win by a margin of three points or so. I'll be quite curious to see the PPV buy numbers. I'm guessing the 2.7 mark won't be erased, but then again, I'm sure that Schaefer's polling shows it will.
SPEEDBAG Sat next to NYC institution Jimmy Glenn at presser and chatted as we waited for the show to kick off. The trainer told me he likes Mosley in this one, surprising me. Then he reminded me that he works for Mosley, and will be his cutman on fight night. That said, we can't toss out his take because he's not purely objective. Jimmy's main point, when I pointed out that Mosley has been hit and miss for a few years, is that there is no way he'll look past Mayweather. Maybe, Jimmy implied, in the past he's overlooked some guys, like Ricardo Mayorga, and thus made his night harder than it's had to be. "Some guys you underestimate. He ain't gonna underestimate this guy. Mosley is strong, and determined," he said. "They are equals, but Mosley is maybe a little better."
And Manny fans shouldn't read this one...Jimmy, when asked how he assessed Mayweather-Pacquiao, said: "I thought he'd beat Manny to death. Pacquaio is a built up welterweight. Mosley is a solid welterweight." Glenn said that he sees Pacman-Clottey as "a good fight. I give Clottey a chance, because of his strength."
The wait dragged on for the event to kick off, so I had time to pick Glenn's brain for awhile. He admitted that he's not keen on seeing Hopkins-Jones II. "They shouldn't even be having it," he said. "They should have enough money to live their life." And Glenn's take overlaps with mine, and seemingly, most of TSS. "Roy's chin ain't there."
--One high powered exec told me maybe if the Wladimir Klitschko-Eddie Chambers wasn't booked during NCAA Tourney time, maybe we'd be seeing it on the tube.
--Tickets priced are $1,250, $1,000, $600, $300 and $150, not including applicable service charges, are on sale now and limited to 10 per person and ticket sales at $150 are limited to two (2) per person with a total ticket limit of 10 per person. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. Tickets also are available for purchase at www.mgmgrand.com or www.ticketmaster.com. You can buy Tecate beer or DeWalt tools to get a rebate.
Would you pay to see Manny Pacquiao vs Saul Alvarez?