I really, truly do not think it is out of the question that after he hangs up the gloves, Floyd Mayweather heads over to Vince McMahon’s WWE, because the man has the heel persona down super-pat. In the opening to the latest HBO 24/7 mini-series, Mayweather faced the camera and said, “I’m gonna tell the fans this. If Floyd “Money” Mayweather is not on 24/7, don’t even bother watching. Because when I’m on 24/7, it’s ‘you must watch TV.’
He then turns his gaze to the left, and asks his pal, the rap artist 50 Cent, to chime in support. Fiddy duly does, noting that the ratings drop when Mayweather isn’t involved. Yes, one can picture this duo taking the act on the road for WWE, riling up the unwashed masses in arenas coast to coast…though Floyd might not care for 300 days on the road and independent contractor status as one of McMahon’s crew.
Anyway, we will still have the 35 year-old Mayweather around in our sphere for a few more years, I’m guessing, because I haven’t seen any physical slippage in the man. “We run the show, baby. We is the show! Let us take over,” Mayweather commanded an unseen questioner.
Miguel Cotto is basically fine with that, in the promotional side of the May 5 bout, which pairs the Puerto Rican legend, the game’s reigning humble warrior, with his philosophical opposite, the pound for pound ace Mayweather. We see Cotto in the ring with trainer Pedro Diaz, working the bag and the 31-year-old scrapper says, “I don’t need to talk about Floyd. He’s the kind of guy who always needs and wants all the attention.” He is busy not shining the spotlight on himself, he says, but thinking through the bout in his head, thinking of ways to win. This fight, he says, is the best opportunity to show the world what he is made of. Fair to say, I think, that at the end of the night, most of us will be thinking the same of Cotto that we do know. That he is a proud warrior, doesn’t possess a hint of dog in him, but that he is not of the same caliber as Mayweather.
The show flashes back to Cotto’s to-this-point career definer, his Dec. 3, 2011 vanquishment of Antonio Margarito, the game’s reigning back-hat, who was busted in 2009 for trying to use illegal aids to better his punching power in a fight against Shane Mosley. A no-brainer, from a production standpoint, since Cotto’s low-key nature doesn’t scream “The camera likes this guy!” An image of his looks-like-he-had-a-baseball-bat-used-on-him face at the end of the first fight with Margarito always has impact on a viewer. Cotto discusses the scrap, and says he truly savored the moment, and that the win helped restore his confidence in himself. This is a re-born Cotto, we’re told.
At the Mayweather Boxing Club in Vegas, we see Floyd training. We hear about his impending jail stint, which will begin June 1. He says he’s happy the judge moved the sentence from January to the summer, to let him have his May bout, and says he’s not worried about the term. “I don’t even think about it,” he maintains. You will have to decide if that is bravado, or delusion vocalized, or that Floyd indeed isn’t mentally affected by the looming incarceration.
(My amateur shrink take: Floyd and his dad have a contentious relationship. I wonder if maybe this stint could actually help get them closer, because now Floyd will have something in common with his dad, who was released in 1997 after a 5 and a half year term for drug trafficking. I do not specifically recall Floyd ever lording it over his dad that he’s a convicted felon, but if he’s ever tried to hurt his dad for not being there for him, by citing the stint, well, that option won’t be available. This term could actually help bond the men. But my gut tells me Floyd can’t be looking forward to the jail time, the humiliation of having your freedom, to ride in flashy cars, and flash wads, and such, taken away. It has to weigh on him, I have to think and has to be a distraction, something that takes away from his stellar focus.
In a 1998 NY Times piece, Senior said, ''I remember him visiting me in jail many times, and I could tell by the expression on his face what he was thinking: 'Daddy, you're caged up like an animal.' ''
Mayweather Jr. said: ''I wanted to cry, seeing him like that, but I was supposed to be a man. So I didn't.''
If it made him want to cry when he was a teen and young man, well, my guess is that it will push buttons today. Maybe not all bad buttons, but buttons will be pushed. End amateur shrink take.)
Fiddy weighs in on the jail term. The pal, who was busted for drugs twice, three weeks apart, in 1994, and served seven months in boot camp, says one day is a day too many to spend locked up. He thinks Floyd won’t be thinking about the discomfort you feel being locked up, and that the term might help Floyd smarten up and live a more examined life. Leonard Ellerbe weighs in, and says Floyd took a plea so his family wouldn’t go through more, and that he knows the facts of the case don’t deserve a stint, basically.
Floyd says he’s in there “to eff you,” that he is “built for this. I like the smell of the gloves.”
In Orlando, Florida, Cotto is up before sunrise, and the whole team, including best pal Bryan Perez, who looks like he has lost over 150 pounds in the last year or so, is up at 4:30 AM. Cotto calls Diaz a “mastermind,” and gives him credit for the Dec. 3 showing, which was their first fight together. Diaz says Cotto is lightened by the Margarito win. “We know we’ll win,” the trainer says.
Floyd then talks up training. He says at camp the ring is called “The Doghouse.” It gets crowded around the ring when he’s sparring, just like at a fight between pitbulls. “I don’t want to get in trouble by..what’s the people called, PETA? I don’t want to get in trouble with the PETA people., the animal rights people, but s—t, I don’t give an eff, cause I wear mink coats. I’m gonna wear chinchilla, and I’m gonna rock mink coats,” he says, noting that many who lobby against wearing animal fur and skin also eat meat. (Not sure the stats on that, but I have to think the number of PETA folks who eat meat are REALLY small. PETA, can you weigh in here?)
(TUESDAY NOTE: I reached out to PETA on Monday afternoon, and got a response from them. Read here.)
We see a recap of Mayweather’s last bout, against Victor Ortiz in September. The leaping headbutt, the kiss and the two piece are shown. Trainer Roger Mayweather says he got what he had coming to him.
Floyd’s showdown with Larry Merchant is shown. “I wish I was fifty years younger and I’d kick your ass!” Merchant said after Floyd opined that he should be fired. Ten Larry Merchants, all age 21, could fight him, Mayweather says on 24/7, and lose.
If Merchant does work the Cotto bout, Mayweather says he won’t talk to him and will instead head to the dressing room and get his pay and hang with Fiddy.
We see Cotto, wife Melissa and the kids hanging out, enjoying family time, contrasting with Mayweather’s theatrical behavior. Melissa says she was proud of hubby for beating Margarito.
Back at the Mayweather gym, Floyd Sr. shows up, for the first time since he and Floyd got into a heated verbal scrap before the Ortiz bout. Then, Senior threatened to whup his son, and his son said dad was never any good in the ring. This time, hugs are exchanged between Senior and the Team, and he and Floyd embrace in a chilly, perfunctory manner. Senior says Floyd never apologized to him for the blowup. “At the end of the day he’s still my son anyway. Still my blood. I do think about him every day, but I live, and let live. All I do is attend my own business and leave everybody’s business alone. And I think that is the best thing for me to do.”
To sum up, Floyd says May 5 is business as usual. He’ll give the fans what they want. Cotto can fall on his face, his butt or wave a flag of surrender on May 5, he says. Cotto says Floyd never faced a fighter like him. Floyd disagrees: “I’m a winner! I’m a winner! Come May 5th I will win! I was born to win, and I will die a winner, you better believe that!”
Readers, your thoughts on the ep?
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Who will win? Wladimir Klitschko or Tyson Fury?