The promotional push, the circa 2014 version for Floyd Mayweather, is in overdrive.
This is a different era, and things are done differently now, in case you haven't noticed. There are fewer press conferences, and conference calls, and scheduled sit-down with "important" media these days, for an event of this sort, including a character of this sort.
Floyd is indeed a character, one who counts as friends, or enemies, or frenemies people like 50 Cent, Nelly, TI, and the like. Mayweather is a certified cross-over figure, one known by non-boxing fans, a guy who who boasts 5.16 (and counting) followers on Twitter. Pope Francis only has 4.4 million Twitter followers, by the way, and damned right that is a sad sign of the times, to my POV, for the record. (WEDNESDAY UPDATE: Friend Kelsey McCarson points out that the masses aren't as demented as some might expect. The Pope, in fact, has oodles of non-English speaking followers. He has over six million on his Spanish-speaking Twitter channel, for the record. So...the Pop has made Mayweathers' O go, I guess...)
It is preferred by most to keep up with the sad soap opera of the Kardooshians than to be receptive to messages from the spiritual leader who posts messages asking us to pray for the children in peril in Iraq, who reminds that "violence is never conquered by violence" and that men who exist to make money and spur the income inequality we have seen increasing in the last few decades is a disgraceful scourge on our Earth. Yep, easier to turn a blind eye, follow Kimmie's selfie stream and check out what Floyd and Fiddy are beefing about…
And are they beefing…
Or are they beefing?
I can never quite tell how much (if any) is legit, and how much the videos and posts are put ons, meant to elicit buzz ahead of a pay-per-view, buzz for both men, purely manufactured skits with no other reason to exist beyond buzz generation.
In case you've been on vacation, with no Internet access, or better self control than I, and have stayed off the Net, you might not know that Floyd and ex bestie Fiddy are (seemingly) feuding. So far, most people have 50 Cent, the rapper whose last album drew mixed reviews and a fast dive on the charts after debuting at number four and whose half-hearted boxing promoting foray has been a vicious bust, ahead on the cards.
Fiddy started out fast and with furious intent, posting an Instagram video chiding Floyd for lashing out at 50, TI and Nelly. He said Nelly is the one who has a history of swooping in on Floyd's lady friends, so why doesn't he focus on him? He said it in a more colorful and profane way, and ended with a single-finger salute. That was five days ago. He kept at it, and sat down on his punches even more. Right after that, he played the (insinuation of) illiteracy card. 50 played off the ALS challenge, posting a video on Aug. 22 promising to donate $750,000 whatever charity Floyd chooses if he reads a full page from a Harry Potter book. He then proceeded to toss the ice from a bucket onto his lawn. (At least he used a bucket, not a bowl. Inside joke…)
Floyd countered, a day late, but maybe not a dollar short, on Instagram, the favored application for young-uns who are more keen to speak with images rather than words, he posted two checks, the monies made from his last two fights. Circled, in red, were the sums paid from Golden Boy Promotions to Mayweather Promotions. $40,870 for the fight with Canelo Alvarez, and then $31,406,000 for work performed against Marcos Maidana.
Message: words aside, I'm pretty good at figures.
50 came back with a combo, pointing out in a response video that 1) He too has mucho money and 2) The checks came from Golden Boy, meaning Floyd WORKS FOR Oscar De La Hoya. He seemed sort of heated, but I think he knows that such displays of feuding benefit him and that's the primary reason he goes there.
Another post, a Photoshop job of Mayweather reading "The Cat in the Hat" went up, and some folks maybe were feeling a bit sad for Floyd. An NYC radio station tossed some gas on the bonfire, posting audio of Floyd struggling to read this: "I'm Floyd Mayweather and I've joined I Heart Radio for The Show Your Stripes movement to support hiring vets. Go to showyourstripes.org, a website that connects veterans with employees and helps business find candidates with the best training."
Had this back and forth moved into the cruel mockery realm? Some thought so…and some thought all these folks deserve to be hit with whatever toxic mud sticks to them, that they are all complicit in behavior that is only present to delight idiots…Others who aren't Mayweather fans, including some who can't get past his history of incidences of physical confrontation with women, think Mayweather deserves such scorn, and much more. And along the way, the interest builds, the follower numbers bloat, and curiosity coalesces. This is the promotion business circa 2014, friends. I mean, you can't dispute the fact that interest is there; as of Tuesday morning, the YouTube audio clip of Mayweather struggling to read the promo was at 7,851,970 hits.
As for Floyd's counters…I wouldn't term them terribly imaginative, or effective. Clips of him driving his fab cars, and bragging that he doesn't always bring bags when he travels, because he can buy everything he needs when he gets there. What-ev. I've seen it and been bored by it for like five years. His rooters back him, though, and call 50 a washed up rapper who hasn't had a hit in ages, so it can't be said that public sentiment has formed into an anti-Floyd bloc en masse.
On Monday, 50 passed on a Photoshop he enjoyed, showing Mayweather in cuffs, from his court stint in May 2012, with put-on dialogue, with Floyd asking the officer to please read his rights for him.
I mean, not ouch if your feelings are covered with barbed wire, and you, meaning Mayweather and 50, see this sort of chops-busting as good for business. But ouch if you do possess pride and are ashamed that at 37 1/2 you're not able to read as well as a third grader. And, I stress, I'm not piling on, or coming from a place of scorn or while splashing in my schadenfreude pool. No, there will always be part of me that roots for Floyd to get humble, stop that parade of consumption, which encourages people to see riches as the route to happiness, and I feel bad for any adult who can't read all that well, as it is so severely limiting to one's potential for growth. (And I dare say it can help insulate you against the possibility that a trusted lackey might be helping themselves to your money, without your knowledge. Bank statements and financial documents are often deliberately vague and filled with insider lingo which serves as a moat with gators for us with Wharton degrees. Reading them, or at least asking to be supplied with them, can help guard against felonious machinations of embezzler types.)
"You are my little brother, you can't beat me," 50 said in his "cuffed" Photoshop, serving notice that he is now and will forever be Mayweathers' superior. That shot landed on Monday. I'd expect more in the coming weeks, counting down to the rematch between Mayweather and Marcos Maidana on Sept. 13.
Talk to me, readers. Do you see this sort of contretemps as a sad commentary on our classless and charmless age? Or do you view it from an "it is what it is" stance? Go to our Forum, and give me your three cents.
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Who will win? Wladimir Klitschko or Tyson Fury?