What We Learned from “Mayweather Speaks Out”
By Martin Wade, Max Boxing (May 5, 2012) Doghouse Boxing
Floyd Mayweather
Two Saturdays ago, HBO decided to throw a little (and I mean little) coin behind the Mayweather star machine (that’s sarcasm) and give us a little treat called “Mayweather Speaking Out.” The Mayweather “24/7” act is taking on that last days of a mediocre sitcom where the so-called intrigue is more than predicable and the characters you used to love seem stale. Mayweather gym shot/luxury vehicle/fade-in/pitty-pat pad work/close-up Roger/50 Cent is my friend/Floyd sweaty/”Y’ all just hatin’/fade out. What was advertised as a Frost/Nixon-level interview turned out to be an extension and reiteration to the most interesting uninteresting athlete in history…that is, if history consisted of the last five years. Maybe HBO felt that it needed to do some media saturating as there’s no Twitter in the joint; 90 days with no run-of-the-mill bullsh*t from Floyd may hurt their boxing brand. HBO must view Mayweather as its pint-sized answer to the wide receivers the NFL depends on for their weekly dose of manufactured outrage and narcissism. So I settled in front of the tube with my notebook and favorite droopy Illinois sweatpants, ready to learn about this fascinating topic; I was convinced the best sports documentary department in the business was primed to once again blow my mind. When I realized they just kept the cameras rolling during a “24/7” taping, my standards were lowered- but for the sake of bringing undue attention to me (like Floyd), this is what I learned…

Michael Eric Dyson Kind of Jumped the Shark on This One…
Michael Eric Dyson is an intellectual heavyweight; I don’t have to reiterate his credentials as a leading social critic and scholar. Trust me; if he took issue with this writing and decided to “tweef” at your boy, I’d be running for the hills. This is why his line of questioning and lack of challenge/follow-up in certain statements made by Mayweather was troubling. Like African Americans who have few intelligent, socially aware voices, I don’t like feeling like I could do a better and more insightful interview than someone who sat with the damned President of the United States. He was brought in to lend to an intellectual credibility Floyd Mayweather lacks; Floyd is a great athlete/self-promoter, no dummy by any stretch but not someone with an interesting viewpoint on his own image. When someone of Dyson’s caliber is leading Floyd with generalized presumptions about black male athletes, he is cheating the viewer. If Dyson isn’t going to use his considerable intellectual capacity to challenge a subject, he can come off as a cheerleader with a deep vocabulary and nothing more. Intelligent viewers don’t need to be told racism still exists through the prism of a pampered athlete; they want to hear how it affects Floyd in HBO’s boardrooms. From a racial standpoint, you never see white intellectuals brought in to codify and excuse the ignorance of white athletes. Can you imagine Rachel Maddow doing a fluff piece on Ben Roethlisberger?
Floyd Will Fight into His 40s…
Floyd Mayweather statistically may limit his opposition to the fewest landed blows in Boxing history- and there’s no Deacon Jones (maybe Willie Pep) lying in the weeds to challenge this claim. Eerily, when elite fighters are still elite into their mid-30s (and there are few), saying, “You won’t be around long,” is one of those things they say to “sound” smart. But what is smart about walking away when there’s still money on the table? And who likes money more than Floyd Mayweather? He’ll be around long enough to be the sentimental favorite and get the love he’s being denied now-because that is the life cycle of many athletes. He’ll get dropped, cut and, yes, even defeated and he’ll keep fighting. And why? What else is he going to do; be a rap mogul? Even his buddy, 50 Cent, is learning firsthand that hip hop is a young man’s game. As long as the sport continues to crank out rushed TV products with an emphasis on getting them to pay-per-view vs. becoming complete fighters, Floyd will be there to pick ‘em off at an 80/20 revenue split. Face it; he’s an event fighter and, unfortunately, this is an event sport.
Floyd is the Product of Enabling Women…
The poorest-kept secret in our community is the absence of strong men; the best-kept secret is the pathos surrounding this tragic reality. Watch the NFL and NBA draft and you’ll see a lot of young black men who bore the emotional brunt of an absent male; many considered themselves “heads of household” as children. The response to the absence of father often is the blurring of roles. Mothers tell sons they are the men of the house, excusing and protecting them at all costs. If that male child happens to be a gifted young man who gets to the level of a professional athlete, you can imagine him internalizing the lofty relevance his mother ascribed him. He is the anointer and family savior, so anyone who challenges him on his conduct is merely jealous. Floyd considers his upcoming jail term as “coming with the territory” of being a great man like Malcolm X or Martin Luther King, proof that he’s getting bad “intel” from high up the family food chain. “They locked up Jesus” is an African American idiom many of us hear coming from our “Big Mama” (grandmother). It’s meant to soothe but it can often delude. Men traditionally don’t speak to their sons in this manner; wise fathers usually have a way of knocking you down a peg-it’s Mama who exalts the son. If Floyd has been the main provider for mother, grandmother and sisters, they are more likely to attack any woman who “puts my baby in jail” than hold a mirror to his face. It’s much safer and lucrative for loved ones that Floyd continues to believe in a faceless “they” who randomly attack him for his flash and wealth- not the flash in which he can become enraged. Quoting Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” is an oversimplification of a well-documented “problem” Floyd has had with women for more than a decade; this “problem” disqualifies him as a “victim.”
Floyd Mayweather Knows Everything About Boxing…

While Michael Jordan runs the Charlotte Bobcats into the ground, there’s no way to avoid the tidal wave of athletes who discredit the media as nitwits. The “game” Floyd is playing is a transparent one and it’s a losing game if he’s referring to one Larry Merchant. As a social critic, Michael Eric Dyson often comments on realities he isn’t intimately privy to, doing so well because he is educated and well-versed in history. Larry Merchant isn’t the least bit intimidated by Floyd, intellectually, when it comes to boxing; he was ringside at Muhammad Ali vs. Sonny Liston II when Floyd Sr. was nothing but a little fella. The demand for sports programming and content is at an all-time high, so the opinions of analyst have turned journalists into entertainers and brands just like the athletes. Funny, “Money” hating on “Money” is something I thought Floyd Mayweather was against. Larry Merchant and Max Kellerman are “God-gifted” just like he is; I don’t want to live in a world where I have to consume my boxing from someone inarticulate just because he boxed. Ironically, HBO is the pioneer of the boxer as color commentator. They’ve made sure there’s at least one ex-fighter on hand calling the action for close to 30 years. Floyd would be a great analyst; the only thing keeping him from this well-paid, post-fighting career is the fear that he may snap and yell at his co-host, “You don’t know sh*t about boxing!”
Floyd Mayweather Loves Covering His “Racist” with “Pro-Black”…
The sad part of this is Michael Eric Dyson knows the difference; it’s his business to point out this distinction to mainstream America. Instead of asking Floyd, “Why do people think you are racist?,” he should have asked what Floyd was trying to convey with the infamous, anti-Pacquiao USTREAM video. The Jeremy Lin tweet was easy to cover up and Floyd used it to innocently point out how other minorities who immigrate to our country support their culture. When I wrote about the subject, I pointed out a clear envy. I also pointed out that African American athletes are a well-funded majority in pro sports. Saying “I support black athletes” isn’t some kind of provocative statement against oppression- if you’re pro-black, you say, “I support black doctors.” Dyson, who loves to glean hip-hop, knows all too well that Tupac Shakur (pro-black) wasn’t a fan of the idea that what we need as a people is another rapper or athlete. Asian Americans do need another athlete, so Asian American kids who love sports can include this vocation as a conceivable aspiration. When Floyd says, “Brothas do what [Lin] does every night,” he’s articulating a racial fear and need for the NBA to “stay black” even at the exclusion of qualified Asians- a familiar exclusion we had to face in baseball.
And Lastly…
Look for Floyd to Stay with Non-Boxing Media. It’s Easier…
When you’re talking to Bob Costas or Michael Eric Dyson, people who don’t need credibility in our industry, you can expect (even with prep work) they aren’t going to call you out on much. Dyson couldn’t tell Floyd that Manny Pacquiao was enough of a draw that the difference isn’t discernible to the degree that you approach him as an employer. Maybe a particularly annoying scribe with beautiful brown eyes would point out that he talks a lot more about Pacquiao than the other way around. Dyson couldn’t point out that Bob Arum is the person to call if you are indeed serious about fighting Manny Pacquiao- and that anything else is a publicity stunt. Dyson would not point out the specifics of Pacquiao’s defamation case, asking Floyd how accusing an athlete of steroid use isn’t exactly basic “sh*t talking.” No boxing writer worth his salt would sit there while Mayweather- with a straight face, no less- compared his accomplishments and infamy to that of an Ali. Boxing media would point out that the Alis and Leonards faced their rivals when they were viable threats and, though at peace, now he will stand out as an outlier in the legacy department. Larry Merchant or, at the very least, Max Kellerman deserved the additional access and platform for a show of this so-called magnitude but, clearly, it wasn’t about Floyd saying anything new or illuminating. I would have been happier if Floyd went more in depth about his charitable works but portraying himself as a transcendent figure capable of getting the President to be one of his ring walk flunkies (another delusion) was more important to him. So say goodbye, boxing media; you’ve ran the greatest star in the sport away- then again, there’s plenty of fight scribes lining up to kiss the champ’s ring (you know who you are).
Why else would they call him “Money”?

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Questions or comments can be sent to Martin at mar10world@aol.com.

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