HBO Caves To Mayweather, Will Muzzle Merchant

HBO PPV provided the public with boxing’s most memorable showdown in 2011, televising a Sept. 17, 2011, ring exchange that somehow generated hundreds of millions of web video views despite the limited distribution of pay-per-view.

Floyd Mayweather gets HBO to censor Larry Merchant, Jim Lampley

(HBO Allowing Mayweather to Censor Merchant, Lamps? Keep Reading) 

Six days ago, new HBO President Ken Hershman proudly announced an HBO PPV fight on May 5, 2012, that seemingly suggested a rematch of the celebrated combatants whose earlier HBO post-fight exploits produced a mountain of positive media coverage previously unseen by a sport relegated to margins of the mainstream.

I’m talking, of course, about HBO PPV’s much-anticipated return bout already touted by a boxing news site and in a recent ESPN.com chat featuring ESPN boxing writer Dan Rafael as “Merchant-Mayweather II.”

If you’ve only recently been released from capitivity, the first meeting between the principals took place in the ring after Mayweather defeated an overmatched Victor Ortiz with a blow later attributed to Mayweather by Merchant - and citizens of the lower 48 states - as a “sucker punch.

The actual Mayweather-Merchant blow-by-blow featured by HBO after the fight on Sept. 17, 2011:

Larry Merchant: You were in charge of this fight. You were aggressive in trying to take advantage…

Floyd Mayweather: You know what I’m gonna do cause you never give me a fair shake, you know that? So I’m gonna let you talk to Victor Ortiz. I’m through. Put someone else here to give me an interview. Talk to Victor Ortiz!

Larry Merchant: What are you talking about?

Floyd Mayweather: You never give me a fair shake. HBO needs to fire you. You don’t know (expletive) about boxing! You ain’t (expletive) You’re not (expletive)!

Larry Merchant: I wish I was 50 years younger and I’d kick your (expletive).

Floyd Mayweather: You won’t do (expletive)!

Bereft a post-fight injection of well-founded reality by Merchant, longtime boxing reporter Steve Kim would’ve probably spotlighted a short-changed HBO PPV audience. Instead, Kim celebrated what may have been the 80-year-old’s finest professional hour:

In the aftermath of Larry Merchant’s verbal altercation with Floyd Mayweather on Saturday night (shortly after the sucker punch heard ’round the world leveled Victor Ortiz), if you typed “Larry Merchant Mayweather” into Google, you’d get a listing of over a million results.

After telling a tantrum-throwing Mayweather, “I wish I was 50 years younger and I’d kick your ass,” in response to the temperamental pugilist’s claim that Merchant didn’t know “sh*t” about the sport, Merchant immediately became a part of pop culture. Want proof? Go to TMZ.com and you’ll see Merchant, of all people.

As it related to “Star Power,” ironically, it was Merchant, the longtime boxing analyst for HBO Sports, whose star has shined the brightest.

In Merchant’s TMZ interview, taped while the HBO announcer walked through the Vegas airport the day after the fight, the TMZ reporter remarked to a beaming Merchant:

“I gotta give you a lot of credit. Just for that comment alone you should be with HBO Boxing forever. No one (at HBO) should tell you when to go or when not to go.”

Even without that kind of pricelesss publicity, with Mayweather yet another in a long line of boxers, managers and promoters whose only use for fans is as braindead ATMs, never has Merchant and fellow ringside ancient Jim Lampley been more important. The reality of the PPV boxing business is that keeping up appearances with the sport’s precious few drawing cards means selling matches to the public that were never intended as anything other than to top-off of a boxer’s entourage.

Go to that well enough times without the context and credibility Merchant and Lampley provide and the public can only be bought off for so long.

Though if information recently obtained by SbB from multiple sources is any indication, new HBO President Ken Hershman might be willing to give it a try.

While in negotiations for the May 5 Mayweather fight, Mayweather instructed his representative Al Haymon to inform HBO’s Hershman that if the boxer was to fight on HBO in the future, Lampley and Merchant must surrender the right to discuss any and all of Mayweather’s affairs outside the ring on the HBO telecast. The ban would include any discussion of Mayweather’s management team.

Mayweather previously demanded the same ban during past fight negotiations with former longtime HBO Sports President Ross Greenburg but Greenburg never ceded any measure of editorial control of HBO’s own broadcasts to the boxer.

Multiple sources have informed SbB that Hershman, who recently took over for Greenburg, has since agreed to Mayweather’s ban demand.

According to sources Hershman also later informed prominent boxing promoters Bob Arum and Gary Shaw of the on-air editorial concession HBO had granted Mayweather.

Additionally, Hershman agreed to surrender the right of Lampley and Merchant to discuss any outside-the-ring affairs of other fighters repped by Haymon.

Lampley and Merchant have been informed of their new, on-air editorial limits pertaining to Mayweather and other Haymon-repped fighters with the latter ban going into full effect this Saturday when Haymon-repped Adrien Broner fights on HBO.

When contacted Thursday and told that Hershman and HBO had agreed to ban Lampley and Merchant from discussing Mayweather’s affairs outside the ring and the fighter’s management team - along with a similar policy for other Haymon-repped fighters - an HBO Spokesman told SbB, “that’s completely untrue. That didn’t happen.

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Accuser Filed False Floyd Abuse Report In 2003

Lance Pugmire of the LOS ANGELES TIMES reports today that Floyd Mayweather Jr. is being sought by Las Vegas Police today for questioning after the mother of three of his four children, Josie Harris, claimed to authorities that she was abused by the boxer.

Josie Harris Photos

A Las Vegas Police spokesman reported that Harris summoned police to Mayweather’s home early Thursday and was subsequently treated for “minor injuries” at a hospital and released.  For now, police are not saying they want to arrest Mayweather - only that he’s a “person of interest.

In 2003, Harris filed a domestic assault report to the same Las Vegas Police against Mayweather which led to him being tried in court on felony domestic battery charges. Read more…

Introducing Floyd Mayweather’s “Life Skills Class”

Here’s a photo Floyd Mayweather recently posted of himself and linked to his Twitter account.

Floyd Mayweather offers kids life skills advice

Floyd wrote of the photo: “I’m teaching a life skills class to the youth at my boxing camp.”

To be a fly on the wall for that skull session! While we can only guess what worldly wisdom Mayweather imparted, perhaps some of his other Twitter photos can serve as clues as to how boxer handles extraordinary wealth and celebrity with such subtle aplomb.

Floyd Mayweather life skill #1: Ensure your personal safety by carrying hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash around in a suitcase and Tweeting that fact to hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers.

Floyd Mayweather gambling slips

Floyd Mayweather life skill #2: Ensure a stable financial future by investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in weekly sports wagers. (Dude absolutely slays the E-Trade baby on ROI.)

Read more…

Arum: Mayweather, Jr. an “ignorant, illiterate kid”

Today’s Bob Arum gave us a command performance promoting what will probably be his last superfight. Never thought I’d say this, but Arum has quite literally done the impossible. He’s somehow succeeded in convincing the media and fight fans that a fight that will generate the most money in the history of the sport could be called off.

Mayweathers and Bob Arum

(Arum digitized for your protection)

But you just knew that if the 78-year-old talked enough today, he would say some things about the Mayweathers that were wildly inappropriate. And I’m pleased to report that Arum didn’t let us down. Read more…

Grand Rapids Press: Mayweather-Pacquiao Is Off

David Mayo of the GRAND RAPIDS PRESS reported last night:

The proposed Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight is off because Mayweather’s camp refused to relent on drug tests via blood rather than urine sampling, promoter Bob Arum said Tuesday night in an exclusive interview with The Press.

Bob Arum pretends Pacquiao Mayweather Fight Canceled

(Okay, I’ll indulge old man Arum one last time. Let him have his moment)

Arum said Pacquiao agreed to blood testing before the pre-fight press conference — typically conducted months before a major fight — and after the proposed March 13 bout, as well as random urine sampling at any time. But when Mayweather’s camp insisted on random, Olympic-style blood samples, Pacquiao abandoned plans for the richest fight in history, Arum said.

Anyone who has followed boxing and Arum for more than five minutes knows this fight will come off somehow some way, but let’s play pretend with Arum. This is probably the last, big moment for the venerable promoter, so I’ll indulge him.

Read more…

It’s On: Mayweather, Pacquaio Camps Begin Talks

Lance Pugmire of the L.A. TIMES reports this afternoon that representatives for Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao will talk today to begin negotiating the terms of a future fight.

Floyd Mayweather Manny Pacquiao Camps Begin Negotiations

(HBO Sports Prez Ross Greenburg, “Floyd’s calling the shots.” ORLY?)

The blog Fighthype.com earlier today also reported that Mayweather has told his promoter, Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy Productions, to begin talks with Pacquiao’s camp.

The posturing for a bigger slice of the purse has already started from Mayweather’s rep Schaefer, who made clear to Pugmire that he thinks his client is a bigger draw than Paqiuoa. HBO Sports President and boxing power broker Ross Greenburg also sides with Schaefer.

“How did Pacquiao-Marquez do versus Mayweather-Marquez? How did Pacquiao-Oscar do versus Floyd-Oscar?” Schaefer asked, well aware of the disparity.

Greenburg made it clear: “Floyd’s calling the shots for this fight to happen.”

After last night’s spectacle though against Cotto, not everyone agrees with Schaefer and Greenburg. Read more…

Kellerman Gets Roasted For Mayweather Interview

If you’ve ever wondered what would happen if Deputy Barney Fife became a ringside television boxing reporter — and I know you have — then you need to see the video following the jump, below, of HBO’s Max Kellerman.

Floyd Mayweather, Max Kellerman, Shane Mosley

Kellerman has absolutely no intention of letting Floyd Mayweather speak following the boxer’s victory over Juan Manuel Marquez on Saturday. When Shane Mosley breaks in and wants to jaw with Mayweather, Kellerman does the broadcasting equivalent of fumbling in his shirt pocket for a bullet, before cutting Mayweather off completely. Reaction around the Internets has been pretty harsh on the former ESPN “Around the Horn” host.

Read more…

Can Athletes No Longer Afford To “Make It Rain”?

Sure, I’ve read over and over again about how bad the economy is. I know that people are losing their jobs, businesses are shutting down and people are hurting. But this story in the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL really brings it home: apparently, things are so bad that millionaire athletes can’t afford to “make it rain” at Las Vegas nightclubs. Damn it, we’re bailing out Detroit, why can’t we bail out Las Vegas?

Javon Walker

Branden Powers, a partner and director of marketing at Poetry nightclub at the Forum Shops at Caesers, saying that Vegas is “drying up” in terms of big money spenders coming to exclusive nightclubs. He estimated that business was off by 25 to 40 percent in December, and the practice of big shot athletes “making it rain” by tossing wads of hundred dollar bills into the crowd is almost non-existent:

Read more…

50 Cent and Mayweather Fight and America Wins

SPORTAPHILE reports confirmation that 50 Cent and Floyd Mayweather recently had a slap fight street brawl during a celebrity basketball game held by Mayweather. (”I’m beatin’ your #*%#$ for the children, Fitty.”)

Floyd Mayweather 50 Cent Strip Club

(The cheeky young boys in better times)

Apparently, someone reneged on a prop bet (first to immolate their career with ridiculous choices?) and these two fine young men debated in the traditional format for a hardcore rapper and a boxing champion: Oxford rules.
Read more…

Floyd Mayweather’s Lady Friend Sure Loves Shoes

A nice pair of new kicks can make anyone — man or woman — feel good about their day. Nine pairs of new shoes that cost a total of $4,600? Well, I can’t say that should make you feel nine times as good. It would, however, help you remember the words to “Waterfalls,” apparently.

Rozonda Thomas

Yes, the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL reports that Rozonda Thomas (better known as “Chilli” from TLC, and not to be confused with the crazy and now deceased member of the group who burned down Andre Rison’s House, though ironically that was also about shoes) went on a shoe-buying spree with Floyd Mayweather Jr. to the tune of $4,600. Read more…