COMMENTARY | For the second time in as many days, Floyd Mayweather has made headlines for launching a dismissive attack on a fellow boxing star.
Yesterday, the target was Saul "Canelo" Alvarez-- an understandable target considering Alvarez's decision to pull out of the May 4 Mayweather-Robert Guerrero undercard after a dispute over a possible September 14 match-up. The bad blood had been percolating ever since that decision and it eventually became a public back-and-forth just as soon as media microphones found their way to both sides.
This time, however, Mayweather singled out the mild-mannered super middleweight world champ, Andre Ward for a few verbal straight right hands.
In a recent interview with Ben Thompson of Fighthype.com, actually the same session that produced his comments on Canelo Alvarez, the topic drifted from religion in boxing to Andre Ward and Ward's support of Robert Guerrero as a fellow Northern California fighter.
"...He [Ward] can't sell tickets nowhere," Mayweather said. "He can't sell tickets in Las Vegas. This is the only guy I know that's a gold medalist, but don't nobody know he's a gold medalist. He's a gold medalist, but he's making money like he don't even got a medal. Like I said before, Andre Ward, he's a good fighter, but who knows him? If you're not in Oakland, you don't even know who he is...The only people that know him are in the boxing world. Floyd Mayweather is a worldwide celebrity; a worldwide mogul. You know, you got fighters, sometimes, they speak on certain situations where the thing is this, like I always tell you before, when you're a fighter getting a million dollars, a million dollar fighter like Andre Ward, if anything, you need to come to my camp so you can learn the blueprint on how to sell out arenas worldwide. I got the blueprint on how to sell out arenas worldwide. We know Adrien Broner is more known than Andre Ward. He don't even have an amateur background. He's got a gold medal? Let me get it and I'll melt it down and get a medallion made."
When word got back to Ward, his response was short and diplomatic:
"If Floyd Mayweather has a problem with me or something that I said, he can pick up the phone and we can talk about it like men."
Ward's manager, James Prince, was not quite as even-handed.
"Dre never had nothing but respect for this dude, but if he thinks there is something weak about Andre Ward - then he can eat some steaks and put some weight on his [expletive] so Dre can whip it," Prince told Boxingscene.com. "Not knocking Floyd Mayweather, but he knows he couldn't draw flies to a dumpster until he beat Oscar De la Hoya. I know this is true because I was managing him when he couldn't sell out his hometown of Grand Rapids or the San Francisco Auditorium, which only seats 6,000 people."
Of course, given that both fighters are separated by three full divisions and twenty-one pounds of muscle mass, this is a beef that will never be settled in the ring.
What is becoming painfully obvious is that Mayweather doesn't have much respect for those fellow fighters not working directly with him or those not willing to show him great, unconditional deference. The recent six-fight Showtime deal, which could be worth as much as $250 million, has bolstered the five-division world champ's ego and pretty much removed any sort of inner filter he had employed previously. In other words, he's got his and now feels that he can say and do pretty much anything he wants. Like it or not.
For fight fans, "Mayweather Uncensored" could provide them with a whole slew of crazy headlines and odd media beefs for the foreseeable future. This could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on which side of the "Money" fence they occupy. But, at the end of the day, this is all supposed to be about entertainment. Why not just sit back and enjoy the show?
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. 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: Fighthype.com, Boxingscene.com