No athlete in recent memory has mastered tumbling from being in the right to being in the wrong quite like Floyd Mayweather Jr. And by the same token, no other athlete benefits as greatly from another’s continuous miscues as Manny Pacquiao constantly does courtesy of Mayweather’s irritating style.
Over the last few years, save for a few times, Mayweather has always seemed to be on the losing end of his PR war with Pacquiao – even when he’s been sort of right.
Back when performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) was the subject of conversation, the undefeated Mayweather could have sold the public on his opinion that something wasn’t right regarding Pacquiao’s record. He could have pointed out that Pacquiao’s career path has been unique and unlike any other in recent memory, and that maybe there was justification for a more strenuous PED program. But thanks to his obnoxious, fingernails-on-the-chalkboard style, a situation that should have put Pacquiao on the defensive and made him be the subject of scrutiny, somehow wound up making Mayweather the object of a lawsuit and the general public’s scorn.
History repeated itself recently when things finally looked like they may work themselves out in regards to a possible Pacquiao versus Mayweather showdown. Mayweather quickly turned a position of strength into a position of weakness.
Here is what we know for certain: Pacquiao picked up the phone, called Mayweather, and the pair talked about putting on a superfight. Pacquiao demanded a 50-50 purse split; Mayweather said he would never give up a 50-50 purse split to anyone, including his Filipino arch rival.
Boxing fans who have followed this story from the very beginning know that Pacquiao, last year, said he would be willing to give Mayweather the lion’s share of the purse from their potential bout. This is an accepted fact. Somewhere along the way, though, he changed his mind and suddenly demanded a 50-50 split. Fine. So be it. But Mayweather should theoretically have the high ground in all purse split discussions with Pacquiao just for that reason alone.
Amazingly enough, however, he’s been able to squander that position as well. Here is what Mayweather had to say in a press conference on Tuesday about a potential dream match versus Pacquiao:
“Just by speaking to Pacquiao on the phone, I mean, he’s not one of the sharpest knives in the drawer,” Mayweather said (via the Washington Post). “He faces Floyd Mayweather, he’s not getting 50-50. Not at all. No one is getting 50-50.
“If I offered him $30 million, he should be happy,” Mayweather added. “If I offered him $30 million and I didn’t give money on the back end, why should I? He’s with Arum right now, and they’re having problems. It’s obvious he must not be getting money on the back end.”
Could Mayweather possibly be more unbearable than he was right there in citing why he refused to give Pacquiao a 50-50 split? He has a fair point to make – Pacquiao promised him the lion’s share of a purse last year. It's a matter of public record. That’s all he has to say. Instead, Mayweather went for the cheap insults of Pacquiao’s intelligence and his questionable relationship with Top Rank.
It’s almost embarrassing to watch.
The truth of the matter is, Pacquiao deserves a 50-50 split. We all know this. But a skilled, competent debater could probably argue that, all things considered, there is a reasonable case to be made for Mayweather not giving it to him. Mayweather didn’t make that case on Tuesday. He simply doubled down on his stupid, childish stand that won’t endear him to anyone besides 50 Cent.
Mayweather is clearly a great boxer and probably has a wide assortment of things he’s really good at – but actually explaining to people why he takes the positions that he takes is clearly not one of those things.