Monday, September 12, 2011

Floyd Mayweather: As Real As It Gets

We’re less than a week away from the biggest fight of 2011. Saturday night, Floyd Mayweather makes his triumphant return against Victor Ortiz at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, roughly 16 months since his last dominating performance; a lopsided 12-round decision victory against Shane Mosley. The best fighter in the world is back, and generally seems happy to be back. “My thought on life is, I don’t worry about what no one says, because at the end of the day I have to be happy,” a more introspective Floyd reflected during this weekend’s third episode of HBO’s hit reality series “24/7: Mayweather/Ortiz.” Floyd’s contentment in that particular scene was in stark contrast to the beginning of the episode, a combative Mayweather angry at the portrayal of Victor Ortiz and his story of triumph in the face of adversity. Adversity that Floyd too, has experienced. “I got some shit on my mind. Yeah, I got some shit on my mind. I’m tired of hearing about that motherfuckin storyline!” Floyd spoke of the hardships he faced growing up, those many hardships shaping his upbringing. “They make it seem like I just woke up and I’m just a multimillionaire. My father been in prison, my mother left, my mother been on drugs, and my father been a drug dealer. I been through it all. We lived seven deep in one bedroom—but I don’t talk about that on the show.” That could be why Floyd Mayweather is often misunderstood. He doesn’t adhere to, and play into what mainstream America wants him to be. Floyd Mayweather doesn’t have to apologize to anyone, or put off a sob story for anyone. Floyd is real, and he speaks in self-belief without resorting to the tired cliches of religion and fanfare as his only motivation. Sure, those things can contribute to a fighter’s motivation, but in the ring…all you have is yourself. In a sport so completely unforgiving as boxing, is it that unreasonable that its best fighter is one who lives inside and outside of the ring with the same attitude that is perceived as selfish? “My fans come first. Well, I don’t want to say they come first because I come first; self preservation, it’s the law of the land, you know? I must put myself first, but my fans play a major part. You got people that pay to see you win, you have people that pay to see you lose. They both are fans, because they both are paying.” ______________________________________________________________________ “We have long observed that every neurosis has the result, and therefore probably the purpose, of forcing the patient out of real life, of alienating him from actuality.”-Sigmund Freud We now go back to reality, figuratively as an idea, and literally as a subject as it relates to “24/7: Mayweather/Ortiz.” What episode-three told us, was that reality is setting in. The fight looms closer. Is all what we see real? If so, is this also so the same reality that the fighters are living in? Victor Ortiz chose to offer a dose of cold reality with his words. “Floyd thinks he’s gonna walk in the park,” said Ortiz. “It’s going to be a very, very ugly, bloody walk for him.” It may be that Victor Ortiz is the one who has lost his grip on reality. Seeing Floyd train in his open workout that was live on Ustream last week, Floyd hardly appeared to be a fighter Victor Ortiz can bloody and beat down. Floyd looks sharp. Sharp as ever in fact; his long layoff potentially helping him as he fights into his mid-30’s. There may be no rest for wicked, but after rested…Floyd performs wicked. For Ortiz, the long training camp and big-time promotion is appearing to wear on the young pugilist. It was Ortiz rather, who appeared to be slowing down in camp, even requesting a day off against the wishes of his trainer Danny Garcia. Then again, what is real? What isn’t? Other aspects of episode-three heightened the paradox of what is and isn’t real. The soldiers overseas that Floyd skyped with, the children at the Boys and Girls Club Ortiz visited contrasting images of Floyd’s luxury cars and the charter fishing boat Ortiz and camp were on. A guest appearance by Ray J complimented the same idea…in an era of overproduced pop stars, we see a pop star actually singing and performing. If only for a few bars, it was real. In an era of titles and championships that may or may not merit any real meaning, Mayweather/Ortiz is for the WBC’s version of the Welterweight Championship. Floyd’s acronym may be better suited: “I am the WBC—world’s best champion. World’s best champion.” As September 17 draws near, our idea reality now yields itself to actual reality. Floyd Mayweather retains the same confidence he has shown throughout his entire career, and that is unchanged. “I’m going to be the last man standing. Still here, still going strong.” Has success forced Floyd Mayweather out of reality to the point of alienation? That sure seems to be the case with most boxing fans. But when Floyd Mayweather enters the ring to maintain said successes next Saturday—he’ll do it with or without care of public perception. It’ll be real. And whether fight fans want to admit it or not, Floyd Mayweather is as real as it gets.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Uncle Roger says the intrigue in Pacquiao-Mayweather will lead to big PPV sales

I have ran across a lot of interesting characters in the sport of boxing during my two years in Las Vegas, but very few have been as outspoken or entertaining as former two-time champion and trainer Roger Mayweather. At the moment Roger is deep into training camp with his nephew Floyd as they prepare for the challenge of Victor Ortiz on September 17th. The undefeated Mayweather will look to grab the WBC welterweight championship from Ortiz inside of the MGM Grand and for Roger, this is simply business as usual. Not too long ago I crossed paths with Roger and decided to get his take on how well he expects the Mayweather-Ortiz ‘Star Power’ Pay-per-view to sell and also got his thoughts on the November 12th Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez trilogy showdown, also on Pay-per-view, and how well he thought that card would draw. Roger has often been critical of Pacquiao, a potential opponent for Floyd in the future, but feels that his third tussle with Marquez will do big numbers because of the intrigue in a fight with Mayweather. “I think people are going to buy it because they both are fighting on Pay-per-view and everybody wants to see a fight between the two,” Roger told me candidly. “If they are fighting on Pay-per-view, they are both going to have outstanding sales. I don’t know who is going to draw the most, but it’s going to be pretty much a sellout by the pay-per-view buyers.” Pacquiao and Marquez engaged in two memorable battles in May of 2004, a contest that ended in a split-draw, and March of 2008, an altercation that Pacquiao walked away from the winner via split-decision. Roger can’t help but seen another hotly-contested fiasco the third time around. “They fought two close fights the first time and I believe the fight will be close the third time. I can’t see him stopping Marquez. I can’t see nothing but another classic fight between the two and I don’t believe Marquez will get stopped,” Roger continued. Mayweather’s May 2010 victory over Shane Mosley generated an estimated 1.4 million sales and I questioned Roger if he felt the Ortiz fight could surpass those numbers. “It could be,” said Roger. “Because people still want to see a Pacquiao fight and this is the kind of fight here that is going to draw them to a Pacquiao fight because Floyd is fighting Victor Ortiz and Pacquiao is fighting right after him. People are going to talk more and more and more about Pacquiao and Floyd after these fights happen.” No surprise that Roger has always held true to his belief that Floyd is the biggest attraction in the sport, but he admits that part of the interest is from people who want to see him fail. “He always got people who want to see him lose. People want to see Pacquiao lose too. But Pacquiao has already lost, Floyd has never lost. But the point is, the fans’ fight is between Pacquiao and Floyd. That’s what’s going to draw the fans. People keep asking about ‘When is Floyd going to fight Pacquiao?’. They’re going to see.” Short and sweet remarks from Uncle Roger and for a man who has had some outlandish takes in the past, perhaps it was best this time around.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Mayweather:”This fight is not going the distance… Take the test.”

Technology is king,” exclaimed Big Steve:” I watched the whole Mayweather media work out yesterday at the Net CafĂ© on Colorado Boulevard.” With only eleven days in advance of Floyd Money Mayweather’s long anticipated return to the ring against young and strong champion, Vicious Victor Ortiz, undefeated super star hosted a media work out at his boxing gym in the middle of Chinatown, Las Vegas. Please check out some exclussive photos from Las Vegas by Paul Hernandez “ This is the most dangerous fight he ‘s ever been in,” said Golden Boy’s CEO, Richard Schaefer about Mayweather challenging Ortiz for WBC welterweight crown on September 17th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas:” This fight is going to be televised in 170 countries. You have the Superbowl of boxing. What’s the secret behind that, his personality. There are a lot of people that can’t wait to see him loose and you have a large group of people that respect and admire his skills.” Ever the gracious host and the entertainer, Floyd Mayweather said that he is tired of listening about Ortiz’s tough upbringing and his mother was a whore and his daddy went to prison and when he was coming up seven of them had to stay in one room, but he doesn’t want to talk about it, he wants to entertain fans. On September 17th Floyd is going to share a center stage with Victor Ortiz “He brings power and he is ten years younger than I am,” said Floyd during an interview at his gym earlier today:” I think I have a lot of experience and dedication to my team.” Not known for his knock out power, Floyd blamed his opponents like Shane Mosley and Juan Manuel Marquez for trying to survive, which prevented Mayweather from finishing those fights early. “Now, Ricky Hatton,” continued Mayweather, 34:” He came to fight, so he got knocked out.” “I think this is the best preparation he’s had up to this day,” said Floyd’s confidant Leonard Ellerby, who is also in charge of Mayweather Promotions:” I know what’s going to happen; Floyd is going to stand in the center of the ring. Floyd is coming to fight and hopefully Victor Ortiz is coming to fight.” Confident, young champion, Victor Ortiz promised to end Floyd’s undefeated rein. “Victor is looking for a knock out. I am looking for a knock out,” said Mayweather:” This fight is not going the distance.” Floyd Mayweather thanked his fans for their support and promised to give away ten tickets to the fight via his twitter. This time he didn’t even want to discuss Manny Pacquiao. “I don’t want to talk about him,” exclaimed Mayweather:” I want my country behind me. USADA, take the test.”

Thirty Thousand Mexicans can't be wrong showing public love for Manny Pacquiao

Some of those windbags and layabouts who "serve" the American people in Washington like to prattle on and on about "reaching across the aisle" seeking viable compromises with the opposing party. From what I saw and heard today, the Congressman from Sarangani named Emmanuel Dapidran Pacquiao could teach Democrats, Republicans and maybe even staunch Tea Party types how to effectively work with those with a different perspective. Pacman, you see, had most of the guesstimated 30,000 Mexcian fight fans--young and old, male and female--who combined for a massive wall of people across and around historic Revolution Square eating out of his Filipino hands. Fresh from a morning visit to the Mexican Congress, where he was hailed and mobbed by fellow legislators, Pacquiao said just the right thing in front of his Nov. 12 "Chapter Three" PPV TV fight opponent Juan Manuel Marquez and all his countrymen. Pacquiao did not avoid a reference to his old unofficial nickname as "the Mexican Assassin" (earned by beating legends Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera and others and including his points victory and draw against Juan Ma). Instead, he handled it diplomatically. Resplendent in a gray suit, blue shirt, red tie and wearing a flashy diamond in his left ear, Pacquiao said in Spanish, "I didn't want to fight another Mexican boxer, it just happened and I am just and only doing my job." Pacman laughed and the crowd inside a tent where a post-rally press conference was held did as well. Later, in the semi-privacy of the third floor lounge at the swanky St. Regis Hotel, just before a helicopter took the Pinoy Idol and his entrourage to Azteca TV network studios so he could sing a song for the company which has the Mexican broadcast rights to the big fight, Pacquiao said he was overhwelmed by the positive reception he got here. "I am very surprised and very happy about this reception," Pacquiao said as the four city (Manila, New York and Beverly Hills came first) media tour was winding down. An enthusiastic but exhausted Bob Arum said the big turnout here gave the promotion huge momentum. He even told Pacquiao that he's getting recieved on foreign visits like Muhammad Ali did. "It's like Muhammad Ali for Manny now," Arum said. "It's the same thing I saw happen when li left America. "I mean, we expected 8,000 people or so. We could have gotten 3,000 but we got 30,000. "It's like when we took Ali to Ireland, Malaysia, to Indonesia and to the Philippines. I remember once we brought Ali here to Mexico, when he wasn't fighting, and we almost had a riot. I think this fight will do huge numbers on pay per view." It reminded me of when I stood with Don King in the parking lot of Estadio Azteca as "El Gran Campeon" Julio Cesar Chavez prepped for a free public workout. Many thousands of people came from all over this massive metropolis to see their greatest sports hero and legend. Suddenly, a helicopter came out of the sky, armed police and security forces jumped to combat readiness and the then president of Mexico emerged. He had come, the president explained, to check on Chavez's vaunted left hook. If you recall, Chavez then drew boxing alltime biggest crowd, 136,000 people to the stadium to see him pummel gamester Greg Haugen. I spoke to Hall Of Famer Barrera, now a manager-promoted now celebrating his first world champion (WBO 105 pound champ Moises Fuentes, a Chilango from this city) about how wildly Pacquiao was recieved. "Yes," Barrera said, "I was surprised. I was very surprised at how the Mexican people treated Manny but he is very charismatic and very humble and they like that." WBO President Francisco "Paco" Valcarcel, extremely happy to have Pacman as one of its reigning and defending beltholders, reached way back for a comparison. "For me, I see Pacquiao as being as charismatic as Sugar Ray Robinson," the Puerto Rican attorney said. "I think Manny wins people over when they see him fighting and beating such tough guys, such good punchers, as Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito. Those two guys hit so hard, Manny took some hard shots from both and yet he beat them both." Top Rank's Tijuana-based collaborator Fernando Beltran said he had a crew of 300 people setting up the event. Beltran handles Marquez. "We had all 300 working to set up the stage, the boxing ring, the confetti and the music and dancing girls, all of that," Beltran said. "It was so much worth it. I was glad because Pacquiao and his team were such great hosts to us in the Phillipines so we wanted to do the same for them." Another Mexican ring legend and Hall Of Famer, the brilliant Rubin Olivares, was also on hand for the event. "In my heart, I want Juan Ma to win this fight but, in my head, I will go with Pacman. Pacman has the punching power and Marquez does not." (Thanks to old friend, longtime Reuters reporter and British expatriate James Blears, now based in this capital city for 20 years, for passing on the Olivares quote.) On this afternoon, in the Mexican sunshine, the winner was boxing. The greatest boxing country in history--past, present and future--gave a proper tribute to the world's pound for pound best fighter. Sympatico, that's what the Mexican public has become when it comes to Pacquiao, sympatico.


Superstar Manny Pacquiao waves to the reported 30,000 plus fans during his public press conference in Mexico City Thursday during the world tour to announce the third world Welterweight title mega-fight of the Pacquiao-Marquez trilogy against three-division world champion Juan Manuel Marquez. Promoted by Top Rank, in association with MP Promotions, Marquez Boxing, Tecate and MGM Grand, Pacquiao vs Marquez III will take place, Saturday, Nov. 12 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and be produced and distributed by HBO Pay Per View.

Pacquiao expected to silence Marquez

BOXING king of the ring Manny “PacMan” Pacquiao is expected to silence his old archrival Juan Manuel Marquez of Mexico with a decisive win, according to his renowned trainer Freddie Roach. Roach declared at the Los Angeles stop of the media tour of third Pacquiao-Marquez fight scheduled for November 12 that he wants his prized Filipino boxer to knock out Marquez to finally stop talk that the Mexican was robbed in their two previous encounters. “This fight is more personal for Manny,” he said. “When Marquez came to the Philippines with those T-shirts … it was a slap in the face to Manny. He will get his payback,” Roach added. The renowned trainer said that Pacquiao took offense with that Marquez antic shortly after the Mexican boxer lost his World Boxing Council lightweight title in 2008 to the Filipino boxing king. “Manny let [Antonio] Margarito and [Shane] Mosley off the hook. In this fight, that’s not going to happen,” said Roach, who has trained Pacquiao since he started fighting in the United States 10 years ago. Pacquiao will defend his World Boxing Organization welterweight title (147 pounds) against Marquez, a unified world lightweight champ, who is going up in weight for the title fight at an agreed weight of 144 pounds. Bob Arum of Top Rank Promotions, Pacquiao’s promoter, shared Roach’s observation about the prospect of seeing a more aggressive Pacquiao in the big-money fight to be held at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas. Settling the score Arum observed that Pacquiao usually waits until the last minute to start his eight weeks of training. Pacquiao, 32, indicated on Wednesday that he had been unhappy with Marquez’ gesture. ”Everybody knows Marquez has been talking too much,” he said at the Los Angeles stop of their international promotional tour at the Beverly Hills Hotel. “If my opponent is no good, I will be no good in the ring. You know what I mean? My opponent is not a good boy…..What I think about is, ‘How can I shut [his] mouth?’”, Pacquiao added. In their first fight in 2004 at featherweight, Pacquiao knocked Marquez down three times in the first round but Marquez came back to salvage a draw. Four years later, Pacquiao won the junior lightweight title by split decision — the victory swayed by a left hook to the chin in the third that sent Marquez to the canvas. At the post-fight press conference in 2008, Ignacio “Nacho” Beristain, Marquez’ trainer, complained lengthily about what he thought was a bum decision, prompting Arum to grab a microphone and unloading epithets at the trainer. But what seemed to get the ire of the kind-hearted Pacquiao was Marquez confronting him during a boxing card in the Philippines demanding a quick rematch. Marquez wore a T-shirt reading “We were robbed.” Now a first-term congressman in Sarangani province, Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38 by knockouts) has been observed to take it easy against opponents in recent fights. He took it easy in the final rounds against badly beaten foe Margarito last year. He also failed to put away Mosley in a lopsided fight in May this year, PacMan’s third consecutive unanimous decision after several consecutive knockout victories. The 38-year-old Marquez (53-5-1, 39 KOs) said that he is going for a knockout of his own to counter Pacquiao’s speed and explosive power. ”I know I will see the best Manny Pacquiao, but I’m ready,” the Mexican said, adding that he would not allow the judges to decide the outcome of the fight this time around.

Pacquiao Nice Guy no more

They’ve been telling the public that they’re friends and there’s nothing personal between them. But there’s a feeling of revulsion whenever Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez are within spitting distance of each other as evidenced by their actions in Manila and New York and here on Tuesday during the dizzying four-city press tour promoting their Nov. 12 trilogy. The last few times he has fought, Pacquiao has been very friendly with his foes to the extent that he has been oftentimes criticized for being too nice to them. Pacquiao horsed around with Ricky Hatton during a darts exhibition match in Manchester, posed for pictures with Miguel Cotto’s kids in Puerto Rico, burst into laughter during a staredown with Joshua Clottey in Dallas and smiled a lot and shook hands frequently with Shane Mosley in Las Vegas. But with Marquez, the feeling is not all too the same and the sentiment is that the lid will blow over when they let loose their furious fists at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in two months time. One could easily count the times when Pacquiao and Marquez shook hands and during their third face-off at the Beverly Hills Hotel, they only got to shake hands once and they did it without even looking each other in the eye. “They never did (break into laughter),” acknowledged trainer Freddie Roach. Pacquiao looked stern and didn’t break a smile when he was requested by the photographers for the customary staredown, unlike during the buildup to the Clottey and Mosley bouts when it took only a fraction of a second before he erupted in laughter. In the Philippines over the weekend, Marquez regaled the media, saying that while he remains bitter over the result of their first two fights, he has grown to respect the man many regard as worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as Joe Louis and Muhammad Ali. From what they have exhibited the last couple of days, Marquez and Pacquiao have been frugal in showering each other with praises and it remains to be seen whether Marquez will revert back to being a diplomat when the tour makes its fourth and last stop in Mexico City on Thursday. The last time Pacquiao acted unreceptive was against the brash Erik Morales and that was five years ago. That feeling of hatred is back again, said Pacquiao lawyer Franklin Gacal, who has been told many times by the pound-for-pound king about his animosity towards Marquez. “Galit siya kay Marquez,” said Gacal on board a private plane that took Team Pacquiao to Toluca, Mexico, late Wednesday night. “Nanggigigil siya.”