When judging fighters, I do my best to separate in-ring work with his likability outside the ring. That’s why I mostly avoid doing interviews and I prefer not to go through publicists and managers to get my stories. Most boxers are legitimately good guys and one can’t help but come away with a good feeling after talking to them.
However, whether someone is a swell guy outside the ring has nothing to do with what goes down in the squared circle or, even, in the business area of the sport.
I simply don’t care if a fighter loves his mom, pays his taxes or hands out ham sandwiches to the homeless. I’m about the sport and everything else can be tossed aside. There’s simply no way to report fairly on the craziness of the boxing world if you have a cozy relationship with the participants. Now, most writers will beg to differ with that last statement, but only because they’ve already crossed that line.
Conversely, you can’t bring a personal dislike of a fighter into your writing, either. Personal agendas should be left at the door and all should be judged by their actions alone. Your value as a true voice is dependent on you being able to call the shots as they really come and not as you would like them to be.
So, I usually stay out of boxers’ activities and actions that aren’t directly related to the sport.
I’ll make an exception to this rule just this one time.
Floyd Mayweather, in a rambling, idiotic Ustream video chat Wednesday morning, showed why the man desperately needs a spokesperson to handle any and all public relations tasks.
The video chat, streamed live and in the early morning hours, mostly featured incoherent boasts by Mayweather, peppered with personal phone calls to fans on the accompanying chat board. It was a pathetically mind-numbing broadcast that served no purpose other than to convince the world that yes, being a moron is indeed an inherited trait.
The boasting and rambling was all harmless enough, but the thing that really caught my attention was the tone of the broadcast when the topic turned to Manny Pacquiao.
“We gonna cook that little, yellow chump.” — Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Mayweather let loose with a vile barrage of Asian stereotypes that literally made my skin crawl. Aside from the “yellow” comment and numerous references to eating cats and dogs, Mayweather also told the viewing public that he would force Pacquiao to “make some sushi rolls and cook some rice.”
Let’s also throw in words like “faggot” and “midget” and we get the overall tone of this putrid stream.
I often get accused of being a Mayweather fan or of even being on the Mayweather payroll, but I just call things as I see them and, honestly, Mayweather has been the victim of a terribly unfair double standard in this sport. Personal feelings and outside the ring activities aside, Mayweather has gotten a raw deal in the media and among less knowledgeable fans. And, yeah, I do hold Pacquiao more responsible for the falling apart of the Floyd-Manny fight. But let’s put that all aside for now.
Mayweather is an outstanding fighter with the greatest skill-set of this generation and I give little pause to placing him at the top of my Pound-for-Pound list, but that in-ring ability most definitely does not translate to being a quality human being.
What he did on a public video chat while surrounded by his “yes men” was the equivalent of Pacquiao coming on Ustream and using the “N” word. Now, imagine the outrage if Pacquiao would’ve done that? The outrage against Mayweather should be no less severe.
I’m not one to insist on sanctions, especially since this was done far away from the boxing ring, but it shouldn’t be ignored, either.
This all goes to show us that you can be born with talent and you can learn skill, but none of that necessarily equates to class.