At this point we can describe Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao’s little rivalry as a beef. All of the prerequisites necessary for something to be called a beef (hurt feelings, legal drama, constant trash talk) have been checked off many, many times – this is unquestionably a beef.
Plus, Mayweather’s admitted best friend, 50 Cent, is the king of stupid beefs, so it works on that level too. Granted, 50’s little tiffs have largely been limited to the hip hop realm, but a beef is a beef regardless what “space” (look it up) it occurs in.
With all of that in mind, Mayweather messed up on Thursday. As first reported by the Washington Post, the undefeated champ had a perfect opening to pull a classic move that some of the best beefs in history have featured – and he opted not to do it. It was a disappointing missed opportunity.
While touring in Los Angeles with Miguel Cotto to promote the pair’s looming May 5 bout, Mayweather found himself by one of the city’s most historic landmarks: Grauman’s Chinese Theater. Besides its obvious cinema lore significance, there is something else that’s really cool about the Chinese Theater – it’s a very short, brisk walk away from another lesser-known L.A. milestone: Wild Card Gym, the place where Pacquiao always famously trains while in the City of Angels.
Mayweather didn’t bother visiting this particular landmark, though. And in failing to visit it, he missed out on a golden opportunity to etch his name into the beef record books.
Back in the mid 2000s, rappers T.I. and Lil Flip found themselves embroiled in a beef centered around general relevance and the former artist’s claim to being the “King of the South.” As is usually the case with rap beefs, most of the back-and-forth between these two was limited to wax; one confrontation, however, took place in person.
In March of 2005, T.I. -- while doing on a mini tour throughout Texas -- went on a local radio station and proclaimed that he was going to Lil Flip’s old neighborhood, Cloverland, to expose him as a fake. The whole thing was supposedly part of a bigger plan to make a DVD regarding Flip’s lack of credentials among the people on his own block. Well, staying true to his word, T.I. eventually showed up on the aforementioned block only to be greeted by some of Flip’s posse. A massive physical confrontation ensued and, according to a lot of accounts, T.I. got punched out by someone or other in the melee.
That’s not the point, though. The end result of the encounter doesn’t matter. What matters is that after talking as much smack as T.I. did, he had the you-know-whats to back his talk up and go into an unfriendly part of town to say what he wanted to say behind enemy lines. Regardless of whether he got punched out or not as a result, T.I. earned points just for displaying that sort of realness.
Now let’s go back to Mayweather who, one again, was just a few blocks away from his arch rival’s training grounds this past Thursday. Why didn’t he visit? Sure, Pacquiao is currently on a tour promoting his upcoming June 9 bout versus Timothy Bradley and wouldn’t have even been there anyway, but just seeing Mayweather talk all his trash with some of Pacquiao’s people in the general proximity would have been a ballsy move. It would have shown that Mayweather really isn’t scared to say whatever he wants to say whenever he wants to say it.
Now it kind of seems like he is. It would be one thing if Mayweather stopped talking smack about Pacquiao altogether. The pair isn’t going to fight any time soon, and they have no reason to speak on one another. But Mayweather always talks about his Filipino arch rival anyway. So if you can talk about the man from thousands of miles away, why not say a few words in his gym surrounded by fighters that idolize him?
You don’t want to insinuate that someone was scared to do something when you don’t know for sure, but Mayweather is a master at creating publicity out of nothing. He’s a master marketer. He’s a hype machine. And he's studied his best buddy's beefs up close and personal for years. Him passing up this classic opportunity to show up Pacquiao in his own (boxing) church leads to one question and one question only: why?