by Christopher Mooney
Boxing often descends into farce. Everyone involved in the sport of boxing has an ego equal to, or greater than, Terrell Owens. It’s just a fact of life.
It’s a combustible sport. Look at someone the wrong way and the deal is off.
So you have to dig pretty deep, to make any sense of the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao negotiations. But this I have tried to do.
First of all, looking through mainstream coverage, I’m noticing that ESPN, Sports Illustrated, and Michael Marley on Examiner.com are basically all just going with the same article. They’re written by different people, but are unnervingly similar. They all use the exact same selective quotes, and all come to the same conclusion.
Now, when I’m not writing on this site, I work in a press office myself, and know full well how media companies are leaned on by people like me, to cover something in a certain way.
“Back us or ‘generic superstar athlete’ will never do an interview with you again,” basically.
I’m suspecting the big media companies have probably broken into rival camps on this. And if articles are looking very similar, it’s because press offices have got involved, and started to throw their weight around.
Alarm bells went off in my head when I read Dan Rafael’s coverage in particular. You know, Dan likes going at Mayweather and Schaefer at the best of times, so I wasn’t surprised that he decided to use his column to back up his pal Pacquiao.
But this was the 3rd article in a row, where I left it thinking “why have they not published any quotes from Schaefer in response to Arum?”
You see, this is what happened. This is the order of events.
1: Arum claimed that he had made an agreement with Mayweather’s people
2: Michael Marley stated on his blog that although there had been initial talks, Arum was exaggerating all talk of “agreements” being made, and he had been told through his sources that the fight talks never even got past third base. He also claimed Arum had been “blowing smoke into the media”, about “agreements” to cover the fact that he wanted to get out of the deal to make the Margarito deal instead.
3: Arum set a deadline for Mayweather’s people to sign the deal.
4: Jeff Mayweather, Floyd’s uncle and advisor, did an interview with Fighthype.com, where he stated that the two parties were unable to agree on drug testing procedure, so nothing has happened on making the fight as of yet.
5: Ellerbe claimed that there was nothing to sign, as they had not even been in negotiations, let alone agreed to anything
6: Schaefer agreed
7: Greenburg stated that he had been talking to both camps since May 5th, but they could not come to an agreement
8: Arum, ESPN, SI, Pacland started telling the world that Mayweather is ducking Pacquiao as Greenburg confirmed talks had happened
9: Ellerbe came out and said that by “negotiations” he meant serious talks about making a deal. And he stated that other than some back-and-forth about drug testing rules, it never got to negotiation stage
10: Schaefer basically said the same thing. He stated that the media seem to be arguing about whether “initial talks” means “negotiations” or not. And that if talks had got serious, or close to an agreement, he would have been involved.
11: Jeff Mayweather briefs the press again. He states that the fight broke down because the two parties were unable to agree terms on drug testing. He states that the groups had initial talks, through Greenburg, but they made a point of trying to get an agreement on drug testing before they went into serious negotiations, as they weren’t prepared to go through the same process at last time. They were unable to make an agreement on drug testing, so felt there was little point trying to negotiate from there”.
Now you see, how much of this information have you seen in the typical mainstream article? Not much? I thought so.
The media seem to want to go down one route.
Arum said there were talks. Team Mayweather said there weren’t. So Mayweather is ducking the fight.
This appears to be an attempted whitewash if you ask me. Where the media flood you with information on one subject, to take your attention away from what really matters.
Look. Whether Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank Promotions had “initial talks” or “negotiations” doesn’t really matter. It’s inconsequential. It’s fluff. It’s ignoring the actual point of the debate.
What actually matters is that Bob Arum went to the media and stated that he had an agreement with Team Mayweather, and he was waiting for Mayweather to sign the deal.
To such an extent that he created a fancy clock, to count down the time Mayweather had left to sign this deal. And say yes to this agreement.
This is fundamentally false. From any angle you look at.
Ellerbe has said there was never anything close to being an agreement.
Schaefer says the same.
Jeff Mayweather says the same.
Michael Marley said the same.
Greenburg, in his statement said that the two groups talked, but were “unable to come to an agreement”.
What happened to the agreement?
Where did it go?
What was the clock counting down to?
Why did Bob Arum pull out of the talks because Mayweather would not sign the agreement?
Why did he set a deadline to sign the agreement?
The only solid bit of information we have on this is the fact that most people, including Greenburg, are saying that the sides were unable to make an agreement on the fight.
And the only thing the media are reporting are whether they had “negotiations” or not. Who cares if they did? They certainly didn’t agree about anything. Let alone come close to making a deal, it seems.
The issue about this fight is whether Bob Arum is correct in saying that the side has agreed a deal, and whether he was right to set a deadline for Mayweather to meet. And whether he was right to end negotiations, and start setting up a Margarito fight instead, when the deal was not signed.
If there was never an agreement, as it seems, what’s actually happened here?
The two sides have talked, and not been able to agree on anything, so Bob Arum has pulled out, and made another fight.
Everything else is just a lesson in “it wasn’t my fault” promotion. And the media flooding the domain with arguments about whether there were negotiations or not, when the real question was whether there was an agreement or not.