Floyd Mayweather is the most popular fighter in boxing, maybe the most popular athlete in sports, but he doesn’t always get his facts straight.
In an interesting gripe today between Floyd Mayweather and Andre Ward , arguably the recognized heir to the pound for pound throne, on fighthype.com, Mayweather took a poke at the Bay Area champ. “The only people that know him are in the boxing world. Floyd Mayweather is a worldwide celebrity,” Mayweather told the website. Apparently Mayweather didn’t think kindly of Andre Ward’s decision to cheer for fellow Bay Area native Robert Guerrero to beat Mayweather in their upcoming May 4th fight.
Floyd continued, “I sold out an arena in the Bay Area maybe 12 or 13 years ago. Listen, I don’t know how many people exactly live in Oakland, but I love the fans in Oakland. Not knocking Andre Ward, but he can’t sell tickets nowhere. This is the only guy I know that’s a gold medalist, but nobody know he’s a gold medalist.”
Ward’s response, “If Floyd Mayweather has a problem with me or something that I said, he can pick up the phone and we can talk about it like men.”
It’s hard to gauge where Floyd’s gripe comes from because Ward publicly praises Mayweather’s fight game. Then again, Ward is not a Mayweather “yes man,” and seems cut from a different cloth socially. He is not an Adrian Broner prototype, a Mayweather mini-me. Ward is a different dude.
Here is the truth. On November 10th, 2001, Floyd Mayweather vs. Jesus Chavez did not sell out the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco. As a matter of fact, the 7,000-seat arena where Mayweather held his 27th fight was also the longtime home of the boxing golden gloves in the Bay Area. And according to sources, many of the tickets for that Mayweather fight against Jesus Chavez were given away for free.
Meanwhile Ward has only fought 26 times so far in his career. And when he fights in the Bay, it is in the Oracle Arena, not a ballroom. He also competes with the Raiders, Oakland A’s, 49ers, and the Giants in the Bay Area to promote those events. According to sources, Ward’s last fight against Chad Dawson did a gate of over one million dollars. And before Ward jumped on the HBO ship, the Bay Area fights he had were not financially driven by Al Haymon or one of the prominent promotional teams of Golden Boy and Top Rank, respectfully speaking. After 26 fights Andre Ward is the best fighter in the sport or somewhere close to it, while Mayweather was struggling to sell out auditoriums at the same point in his career.
There is no knocking the status of Mayweather. But maybe he should practice some humility. Perhaps he deserves praise based solely on the merit of his long-standing reign at or near the top of the boxing heap, but his empire was not built overnight and he rode the backs of other boxing stars before making it to the top. When Mayweather fought Arturo Gatti and Oscar De La Hoya he was on the B side of the promotion. And those were English fans screaming for Ricky Hatton in 2007, not Floyd’s.
Would you pay to see Manny Pacquiao vs Saul Alvarez?