COMMENTARY | In the pursuit of his next opponent, the usually shrewd Floyd Mayweather may have actually set himself up for failure.
When the five-division world champ posted on social media that he would be allowing his fans to decide his next opponent, Mayweather achieved his goal of generating a tremendous wave of publicity. Although only Marcos Maidana and Amir Khan were featured in the poll, it was still considered a novel idea on how to sell a sure mismatch to the general public.
The heavy-handed Argentine, Maidana, was the hardcore fans' choice. A dogged competitor who will be swinging for the fences a full twelve rounds, Maidana was also the one more deserving of the high profile bout after having dominated Mayweather's "Baby Bro," Adrien Broner, last December. The drawback to Maidana, though, is that he's essentially an unknown commodity to the casual fans who tend to drive pay-per-view sales. And with the fight scheduled for May 3, selling the earnest and low-profile brawler to the general public in such a short period of time would be a tough task.
On the other hand, the UK's Amir Khan comes with a built-in fan base and some legitimate star power behind him. In the ring, though, Khan has looked frazzled and fragile in recent encounters and hardly worthy of this kind of main stage appearance.
When the polls finally closed on the Mayweather Promotions poll, Khan would find himself the winner with a 57% to 43% lead in a poll that generated 35,579 votes. It was the result that best fit into Team Mayweather's business plans, but it also generated a raging storm of controversy as the only fan poll that had Khan over Maidana.
In comparison, the ESPN Sportsnation poll had Maidana clobbering Khan 63% to 37% in a poll with over 67,000 votes. ESPN Deportes also had Maidana winning handily by an 82%-18% margin. Fightnews had Maidana over Khan by a tally of 78% to 22%. RingTV also had Maidana beating Khan with a 57%-43% final result.
In protest, Maidana thanked the fans for their support and then posted these other poll results on his Facebook page.
The cries of "fix" are now heard in every corner of cyberspace and Khan, who was an unpopular choice among the hardcore fan base, is even more unpopular. A general dislike for Khan as an opponent has turned into raging objection as fans pick up on the fact that this all may have been a set-up, executed at their expense.
There's no way to know whether the finger pointing aimed at Team Mayweather is warranted or not. For all we know, Khan's last minute urging of his fans to vote created a surge of support to help him win the Mayweather poll.
However, even if things are totally legit, it still looks bad that Mayweather's apparent preferred opponent won the poll on his site, but lost every other independent poll quite handily.
Khan, who was thought to be the better opponent for generating sales, may have become a gigantic albatross around the neck of Mayweather Promotions.
Is there any amount of promotion that could be done to make fans forget that they may or may not have been played for fools? Will this aggressively negative response to Mayweather-Khan from the boxing loyalists bleed over to the casual fan?
When all is said and done, it appears that this latest turn of events may turn Mayweather's next fight from box office gold to box office dud.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and is the author of Notes from the Boxing Underground. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and as Editor-in-Chief of The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing. For breaking news, additional analysis, and assorted crazy commentary, follow him on Facebook, @TheBoxingTribune or on Twitter, @BoxingBTBC.
Sources: ESPN, Fight News, MayweatherPromotions, Facebook, Boxingnews24
- Sports & Recreation
- Amir Khan
- Floyd Mayweather
- Marcos Maidana