Memo to Floyd Mayweather Jr.: Shut up. Please. Button up now, before you open your mouth again and say something even more stupid than you've already said.
Mayweather is a brilliant talent and is, in my mind, clearly the best boxer in the world. But his insistence on tearing down Manny Pacquiao and calling him a cheater is wearing thin.
On Monday in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on the first day of a media tour to promote his May 5 bout in Las Vegas with World Boxing Association super welterweight champion Miguel Cotto, Mayweather called Pacquiao a cheater.
Though he didn't use the words "steroids" or "performance-enhancing drugs," the implication was clear.
"Floyd Mayweather is not a cheater like Antonio Margarito and Manny Pacquiao," Mayweather said during the San Juan news conference. "Hard work. Hard work. Hard work."
Margarito, of course, was caught with an illegal knuckle pad in his hand wraps before a 2009 fight in Los Angeles with Shane Mosley and was sidelined for a year by the California State Athletic Commission. Margarito to this day denies knowing the insert was put in his wraps and blames ex-trainer Javier Capetillo.
But there is nothing that can be gleaned from Mayweather's slant that Pacquiao is a cheater: Pacquiao is currently pursuing a defamation suit against Mayweather that alleges Mayweather ruined his reputation by calling his success the result of steroid abuse.
I don't know whether Pacquiao is using steroids, or any other performance-enhancing drug. And, I can guarantee you, neither does Mayweather. If he had proof, you can rest assure it would have been public long before now.
I do know that Pacquiao has passed every drug screening test he's been given and that he's agreed to the so-called "Olympic-style" tests that Mayweather demands of everyone who fights him.
Mayweather has repeatedly questioned Pacquiao's success because Pacquiao has moved up in weight and gone from strawweight to super welterweight.
Mayweather, who debuted professionally in 1996, has frequently cited Pacquiao's leap from so many classes as evidence that something must be amiss for Pacquiao to have gotten so big.
Pacquiao weighed 106 when he turned pro, but he was just a month past his 17th birthday. When Mayweather was 16, he was fighting as an amateur at, guess what, 106 pounds. They've been consistently at or near the same weights at similar ages, so Mayweather's theory about Pacquiao's weight gains being evidence of PED usage doesn't hold up.
If Pacquiao is or has used steroids or PEDs, it should be exposed. Boxing is a dangerous sport when both fighters are clean. Risks skyrocket when one is chemically enhanced.
It's easy, though, to make allegations with no evidence, or flimsy evidence, and that's what Mayweather is doing. It's like seeing someone run out of a bank, hearing a couple of minutes later that the bank was robbed and deciding that the person you saw leaving the bank was the robber.
Yes, it's possible that you did indeed witness the bandit. But it's just as possible that the person leaving was simply a customer late for an appointment, running to feed the parking meter or saw the gun the real robber pulled and made a break for it to get out of danger.
If Pacquiao is ever busted for using performance-enhancing drugs, I will join Mayweather in bashing him.
But until there is evidence that he has done so, Mayweather's cheating allegation is flimsy.
• Devon Alexander shut out Marcos Maidana in his debut at welterweight on Saturday, but it didn't prove a heck of a lot. Moving up in weight, the slow and plodding Maidana was even slower and more plodding. Alexander should have beaten him easily, and he did.
• I like what Main Events is trying to do by putting boxing on the NBC Sports Network, formerly known as Versus. The idea was to make competitive matches in which no one knew who was going to win. It turns out that plan didn't last too long. On its March 24 show, the series will feature a tripleheader that will open with Tomasz Adamek meeting Nagy Aguilera in a heavyweight match. Adamek is one of the top five heavyweights in the world, but Aguilera is a journeyman, at best, who has lost three of his last four and four of his last six. If you're going to put Aguilera on the air, then don't tell us you're serious about making competitive matches, because Aguilera isn't competitive against any quality heavyweight.
• The pay-per-view bout between Bernard Hopkins and Chad Dawson on Oct. 15 in Los Angeles was a disaster in every way. The fight ended in the second round when Hopkins was dumped on his head and injured a shoulder. And the pay-per-view sales were dreadful, coming in at a reported 40,000. The rematch is April 28 in Atlantic City, N.J., on HBO, and now Hopkins isn't talking. If Hopkins doesn't change his mind, that bout won't be any more successful with its TV ratings than the first one was on PPV.
• Alexander Povetkin pulled out a majority decision over Marco Huck in their bout Saturday for the WBA heavyweight title. Huck, though, came out of the bout looking good and like a guy who can make some entertaining fights in the heavyweight division. One fight that would be intriguing is David Haye against Huck.
Gamboa taking a huge risk
Is it just me, or did Yuriorkis Gamboa make a potentially critical mistake in taking the Brandon Rios fight? While Rios has a somewhat questionable defense, I cannot think of a fighter who seems to have raised his game over a three-fight period the way Rios has. The guy really seems deadly right now and has the heart of a lion. Gamboa has spotty defense, at best, and jumping up in weight to fight a guy with Rios' power and momentum just seems like a poor plan from his management team. Am I crazy?
You make good points, but that's what makes the fight intriguing, Josh. There is great risk for Gamboa in jumping up two classes to face a tough guy like Rios, but there is also great reward. If more fighters had that attitude, boxing would be in a lot better shape.
Appoint an arbiter to make Mayweather-Pacquiao
Perhaps it's time for the media and fans to put pressure on the Mayweather and Pacquiao camps to appoint an arbiter who is considered fair, boxing savvy, and honest to set equitable terms for the fight contract. How about former [Senate Majority Leader George] Mitchell, or Nelson Mandela, or Warren Buffett?
The reason to fight has to come from within, Gil. If they don't want to fight each other, I don't want anyone to force them to do so. If they do want to fight, they'll make the necessary compromises during negotiations to get it done. I know fans of each guy like to point the finger at the other as the reason for the fight not being made, but there needs to be compromise on both sides. Once that happens, we'll have a fight.
Alexander looks good
I was both surprised and impressed with Devon Alexander's performance against Marcos Maidana. Alexander really looked better than any other fight I've seen him in. With both fighters moving up to welterweight for the first time, I thought Maidana's power would translate better. Clearly, Alexander was both the stronger fighter and harder puncher at 147. If he continues to sit down on his punches, I would like to see Alexander take on the winner of the Peterson/Khan rematch, assuming none of them can land a fight against Mayweather or Pacquiao.
Van Nuys, Calif.
I'm not as high on Alexander's performance as you, Mike. He did look good, but as I noted above, I think much of it was due to how slow Maidana seemed. Alexander has some boxing ability, but I want to see him meet someone a little more gifted before I declare him a major force at welterweight.
Boxing commissioner desperately needed
In response to an answer you gave in last week's mailbag, no, baseball commissioner Bud Selig doesn't prevent umpires from making bad calls. But I do believe he would have something to say if the American and National League pennant winners refused to play in the World Series unless they got more money than the other team. A commissioner would at least present the appearance of doing something to correct the problems that plague boxing. The boxing organizations and promoters are not going make a move to fix the future because they don't want to lose even one thin dime in the present.
Yes, a commissioner would work wonders in boxing, but this has nothing to do with my answer to that question, which was about judging. No, Selig wouldn't allow the pennant winners to skip the World Series, but baseball is formatted differently. It's a league, with a schedule and rules. The UFC is a league and Dana White is its commissioner. Whether or not you like mixed martial arts, 99 percent of the major matches get made because of that. In boxing, it's a collection of individual entities that, occasionally, overlap. It's a group of individual promoters all vying for the same television dates, the same fighters, etc. There is no organization. It's kind of the Wild West of sports.
"Boxing is not only about throwing punches, but also about not getting hit. My brother [Vitali] and myself place great emphasis on the defense, but also have good punching power." – IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko.
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