At the postfight presser, held in the arena, with the principals in the ring, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao talked about their clash at the MGM, and both touched on what comes next for each.
Pacman said thanks for coming and that he did his best, “but my best wasn’t good enough.”
The loser, via UD12, said he didn’t want to make any alibis because of what he went through in camp. “I thought I won but I have to review it when I go back to my hotel to see what’s happening,” he said. “I respect Floyd Mayweather, he’s fast, he’s a good boxer,” Manny said. He thanked the media for helping to promote the fight.
Trainer Freddie Roach spoke and said, “I’m very proud of Manny,” and that he thought he hurt Floyd a few times. “I thought it was a very close fight and I’d like to do it again,” the trainer said.
Kevin Iole asked him about hurting his right shoulder. The fighter said he hurt the right shoulder and got shots during camp but he couldn’t get a shot before the fight. It wasn’t one hundred percent. He was asked why he didn’t inform the commission of the injury; three weeks before the fight he took a few days off training and and MRI showed a tear. Promoter Bob Arum said laywers told the commission that he was taking meds for the torn shoulder. “It was getting better and better every day,” Roach said, and they did think briefly about postponing, but he progressed enough to go forward.
Arum was asked if it’s fair for people to pay so much for a bout in which one athlete was hurt. Injuries are part of all sports, the promoter said. The injury occurred about two and a half weeks ago, said Roach and Arum said it was even earlier than that. Floyd then spoke, and Manny left the scene.
Money said he had a great gameplan and fought a smart, patient fight, and used the jab expertly.
Floyd was asked about the injured shoulder. He said, “I had injuries also going into this fight,” and he said if he won, he would not have cited those injuries. His hands and shoulders were hurting, he stated. He just finds a way to win.
He said “I thought I was beating him easy,” and that maybe Pacman won three rounds. He said he’s “one helluva fighter” and knows why he is where he is. He said he thinks he should get credit from those who said he was scared to fight Manny, and asked that people allow him to savor the win, and not ask about next, like Amir Khan. After that, cowed writers started their queries with congrats, paying homage to the master who was not in a benevolent mood in a pleasant victory induced euphoria, but rather in a slightly aggressive mood, eager to help feed crow to doubters. He told us several time to write nice things about him and promised to read all the clips, to check to see if we did the right thing, if in fact we’d accused him of being a duck prior. (Accepted wisdom seems to be that team Pac ducked the fight in the first round of negotiations, while Team Floyd walked away from a doable deal in round two, so the blame-game can keep on keeping on, in my opinion.)
Floyd didn’t seem interested in breaking the Rocky Marciano record…but reserves the right to change his mind.
He also said he liked that he brought in Alex Ariza, to make Manny uncomfortable.
Dan Rafael asked about what it’s like to receive a $100 million paycheck, continuing an ESPN theme of being excessively preoccupied with the financial side of the event, and seemed fixated on that sum.
There was more gloating and some gracious wording about Manny’s skill, and I noted that Floyd’s dad seemed glum, as if displeased with the Money effort, or maybe the percentage of the final take which will land in his pocket. Who knows…
Then the presser took a bizarre turn, into a darker place, even, with a Nevada commissioner finishing with word that he took issue with Arum’s contention that Nevada was informed on a timely basis of the Pacman injury. Not so, said board chair Francisco Aguilar. They first learned of a torn shoulder on fight night, and thus, refused the Team Pac request for a pain-killer.
I can’t say that climax was surprising. You expect the unexpected covering the sport, and it’s only the variety of the bizarre-ity which causes a raised brow, not the occurence itself. The vibe was not one of euphoria, or benevolence, but a continuation of a theme which saw media being treated, at times, as the enemy (see Beadlegate stories); this is a sign of the times, in which bold face names believe they can be masters of the dissemination of message and really don’t much need the presence of middle men (like me), who they posit too often take a negative slant on matters. So, that being acknowledged, it wasn’t a surprise, but it was disappointing.
One might think that such a win, and such a payday, would engender an air of joy, an all is forgiven mood, but I didn’t feel it.
Mayweather told us several times he was basically over the sport, and wouldn’t really miss it when he left it. I saw many on Twitter echoing the same theme, in reverse, with folks calling for an end to the Mayweather-Pacquiao era, as they seek to embrace other warriors, fresher of body and soul, ones without the cynical edge, or a play-out-the string mentality. Thanks for the service, gents, but it’s time for others to take the stage and show their worth, is the thinking in some corners.
It was a long promotion, warring parties warred all the way through, till the end, which felt more bitter than sweet to many folks, people who looked back other Golden Ages, when the physical contest was the focal point, and money wasn’t the be-all, end-all reason for the combatants, it was a pleaasant but secondary aim. What would Sugar Ray Leonard have done against a diminished Pacquiao, I heard vet keyboard tappers ponder… I left the building, and the state, and traveled back to Brooklyn, happy to be on familiar turf, where different values and simpler mindsets prevail. Throughout the day, people came up to me, accosted me, as if I owed them money. “Mike, that fight stunk! What was that! Sorry I bought it!” Ouch…what could I say to them, they felt how they felt.
I noted the joy I felt when my kids hugged me, so overjoyed to see me after six days away, and understood that while money is nice to have, it doesn’t hug you. I know my family appreciates me, and don’t have to wonder if it’s because I shower them with gifts. And I wouldn’t trade that for any $100 million check. Not today, not tomorrow, never. So, maybe that is the top takeaway I have from my time in Las Vegas.
Photo Credit: Esther Lin / SHOWTIME.