Floyd Mayweather has a knack for remaining in the public eye in between fights, retaining a relevancy which helps keep his fanbase at the top of the pugilistic heap. But this morning's item on the gossip site TMZ is the sort of sensational item which could spell a heap of trouble for the fighter, who is counting down to his third fight of a six fight megadollar deal with Showtime.
That contract, the richest in all of sports, guarantees “Money” more than $30 million per outing, and the immensity of it has added to his allure in the last two years.
But the TMZ story, which cites only “sources familiar with the situation,” could gum up the works for Mayweathers' career moving forward. I reached out to Showtime boxing boss Stephen Espinoza on Wednesday afternoon, a few hours after the TMZ story broke.
The programmer, who is also is an attorney, made it clear that he is monitoring the situation, but doesn't fear for the May 3 date in the least. “At this point, it's an unsourced, unverified..I hesitate to call it a story,” he said. “There's been no police investigation that anyone's aware of, certainly no charges, or interview, no civil suit, no indications that there's any real meat to the story. We'll keep an eye on it, but right now, there's nothing that we've seen that can really verify that there's something there beyond a rumor on a gossip site.
So they didn't hit the panic button over at Showtime then?
“We'll keep an eye on it just like we keep an eye on any legal issue involving with any boxer we do an event with it, but beyond that, no, at this point there's no panic,” he said.
No secret that Floyd did time after getting charged following a domestic spat with his ex. That could result in the legal guillotine dropping with that much more velocity if indeed this TMZ deal plays out as the site described, and authorities move forward to hash out the matter, and, perhaps, mete out punishment. Espinoza would seem to be well-suited to be able to assess the events, and potential ramifications, right?
“Whenever there's a legal issue, my philosophy has always been, 'Let's slow down, let's let the facts come out,” he said.
In the realm of rumors, Espinoza is aware that the mill is churning out talk of a rift at Golden Boy, between day to day boss Richard Schaefer and Oscar De La Hoya. I asked him to weigh in, perhaps shed some light, clarify the chatter. “I'm not really aware of any internal strife,” he told me. “For my part, all of my interactions have historically been with Richard, and they continue to be with Richard, so nothing has changed from that perspective. And we continue to make fights, and schedule events, and stage great promotions, so in the near term, nothing has changed.
“I'm not as in the loop on internal stuff as when I used to represent them as a lawyer, so I'm sure I don't know the whole story, but we're continuing to move forward, and schedule events, the company is operating, and Richard is continuing to operate the company like he always has.”
Follow Woods on Twitter.