Mayweather backlash: Viral video is evidence of nothing
By Lyle Fitzsimmons,
Contributing Boxing Editor
Ocala, FL (Sports Network) -
OK... it's been another week.
And what have we learned?
Floyd Mayweather Jr. remains today what he was when we gathered here last Tuesday.
A loudmouth. A punk. An attention whore of the highest caliber.
And a pretty poor candidate for this year's UN cultural sensitivity award.
But try as I might, I can't conjure up the level of "quick, let's all contact his sponsors and get him fired" outrage that others have frothed with since last week's homemade Internet yap-fest.
Maybe it's because I'm simply the wrong demographic.
As a heterosexual white American male, I'm pretty much the last guy allowed to claim hurt feelings when it comes to the uncensored ramblings of others.
I can't conjure up the outrage that others have frothed with since Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s Internet yap-fest.
Too many groups have too many legitimate cases of discrimination to weed through before we even get to the things that rankle me from day to day.
I'm not the right color. I'm not the right sex. I don't fantasize about the right things.
Which could mean I've got it all wrong here.
But even if that's all true, I still don't see what the fuss is about.
Just because a loose-lipped thug breaks a months-long silence with a silly rant against his arch nemesis, I'm not sure it warrants the righteous outrage that's flowed since the video was made public a few days ago.
Over a few minutes of UStream foolishness, Mayweather showed blatant cultural indifference, rampant need to be noticed and an utter lack of the topical mastery and cadence that allows folks to actually be funny while walking the offensiveness tightrope.
As a wanna-be Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock... he fell flat.
Heck, if edgy stand-up acumen was his true viral aim, he barely scraped Lisa Lampanelli's grimy underbelly.
But does an unfunny and juvenile baiting of Filipino rival Manny Pacquiao really equate to the bone-deep, "get AT&T on the phone" racism some folks have been quick to allege in their indignant post-mortem critiques?
I think not.
In fact, in the grand scheme of things, it's those reactions I find a bit more offensive.
Or at the very least, pretty damned irritating.
Because anyone in this line of work really ought to know better.
While I'll concede it's not the most sensible thing that's ever come from Mayweather's mouth, the soliloquy he spewed last week is hardly as blip-worthy as some of the babble emitted by other spotlight-level athletes and sports folk over the years.
Manhoods have been questioned. Races have been needled. Ethnicities have been stereotyped.
And rightly or wrongly, it's been just another day in the big leagues.
In the boxing context specifically, it's even less newsworthy.
The sport's confrontational nature -- not to mention the uniquely perpetual need to create promotional buzz -- breeds precisely the sort of macho line- crossing behavior being called into the collective principal's office this week.
In a business where guys punch one another for a living and their handlers try to get working stiffs to pay to see it, festering drama is a predictable par for the course.
And as for the media, it's no secret both writers and readers thrive on this stuff.
They say it. We write it. You read it.
It's the media magnate's circle of life.
But for some, apparently, the dream of idealism endures.
To them, it'd be an interpersonal and journalistic Valhalla if all fighters conducted affairs with the maturity of a Lennox Lewis, a Ray Leonard or the Klitschko brothers.
Sure, everyone would shake hands a lot.
But let's get real.
For every non-flammable press tour featuring guys with genuine respect and admiration for one another, there are 1,000 more memorable ones where foes display the caustic enmity that crams notebooks, yields pithy headlines and generates add-on PPV hits.
As for us hypocrites at the keyboards, we'll try hard to pretend not to love it.
While we smile politely when fighters take the high road in interminable Q&A's, it's no great revelation that we crave an old-fashioned catfight complete with the nastiness we'll rail about to our conscience's capacity a few days later.
To some, in fact, the ideal preparation for such a presser is honing the incendiary question that'll trigger the catastrophic answer explosion.
Mssrs. Mayorga, Hopkins and Tyson... please step closer to the microphone.
"You remind me of an old lady that's past her prime." Bronze.
"I'll never let a white boy beat me." Silver.
"I'm gonna eat your children." Pure website traffic gold.
It's awful and it's offensive and it's outrageous, we'll write.
This sort of thing needs to stop, we'll preach.
Until six months later, when we'll ask you back to say it all again.
As for you, Floyd, take a little more time to work on some shtick.
Because if this Manny fight ever comes off... we're going to want your A game.
This week's title-fight schedule:
IBF featherweight title -- Las Vegas, NV
Orlando Salido (champion) vs. Yuriorkis Gamboa (unranked)
Salido (34-10-2, 22 KO): First title defense; Sixth fight in Las Vegas (2-1-1, 1 NC, 2 KO)
Gamboa (18-0, 15 KO): First title fight; First fight in Las Vegas
Fitzbitz says: "At 28, Gamboa is simply too young, too strong and too good." Gamboa in 9
IBF/IBO/WBO heavyweight title -- Frankfurt, Germany
Wladimir Klitschko (champion) vs. Samuel Peter (No. 2 IBF/No. 4 IBO/No. 6 WBO contender)
Klitschko (54-3, 48 KO): Eighteenth title fight (15-2, 13 KO); Beat Peter in 2005 (UD 12)
Peter (34-3, 27 KO): Third title fight (1-1, 1 KO); Held WBC title in 2008
Fitzbitz says: "Rematch provides evidence on how far Klitschko has come." Klitschko in 8
IBF junior featherweight title -- Houghton-le-Spring, UK
Steve Molitor (champion) vs. Jason Booth (No. 11 contender)
Molitor (32-1, 12 KO): First title defense; Held IBF title from 2006-08
Booth (35-5, 15 KO): Fourth title fight; Held IBO 115-pound title from 2003-04
Fitzbitz says: "Canadian champ keeps rolling to begin second title reign." Molitor by decision
Last week's picks: 5-3 Overall picks record: 225-79 (74.0 percent)
Lyle Fitzsimmons is a veteran sports columnist who's written professionally since 1988 and covered boxing since 1995. His work is published in print and posted online for clients in North America and Europe. Reach him at email@example.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/fitzbitz.