Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Dancing With The Thugs

In less than a week, “Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather, Jr. will make his much talked about debut on the new season of ABC’s hit television show “Dancing with the Stars”.

Maybe they should be calling this “Extreme Makeover” instead.

Most boxing fans know Mayweather as a garbage-mouthed, trash talker with a hair trigger temper and a personality best described as the other side of cocky. But the ABC network is about to gloss over all of Mayweather’s previous transgressions, put him in front of a national television audience and then allow him to dance and entertain gullible Nielsen families.

What the mainstream public doesn’t know about Floyd Mayweather, Jr. could hurt them.

In the past, Mayweather was alleged to have broken a champagne bottle over a fellow bar patron’s head. On another occasion he was reported to have kicked a bar bouncer in the head during saloon melee. He also purportedly assaulted two women in a Las Vegas club. Besides that congenial behavior, the mother of his children, Josie Harris, once reputedly claimed that Mayweather had assaulted her as well.

And that’s just what we know about.

Mayweather, however, before he hits the airwaves explained away his behavior and seems to making an effort to turn over a new leaf. “In boxing,” said Mayweather several weeks ago; “I'm a loudmouth. In ‘Dancing with the Stars’ I can't be a loudmouth. The only thing I can do is go out there and work hard.”

This is the same “Money Mayweather” (his new nickname) that last week nearly electrocuted himself, his close friend and rapper 50 Cent, and a hoard of people assembled around the pool at the Hardrock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas that were festively enjoying the run up to the MTV Video Music Awards.

The 30 year-old Mayweather demonstrated the good judgment he is known for when he “made it rain”. He took wads of bills in various denominations out of a designer leather satchel and threw them into the air over the pool. This caused some of the fans to rush the pool side stage, a few to dive into the water to grab for the bucks, and others to swim madly and splash about. All this hyperactivity nearly caused the electrical musical equipment and lights to topple into the water which would likely have killed everyone had “50” not been forced to call a halt to the show in order to prevent a real tragedy from occurring.

Whatever the case with Mayweather, his mouth, and his ability to create his own weather system - who you are is who you are - and he likely won’t be able to fool the mainstream public for too long. A slick smile and flashy dance moves are only good for so many nights and even his dance partner; the capable Karina Smirnoff won’t be able to prevent Mayweather’s true colors from bleeding through. Like Cus D’Amato once said, “A man born round don’t die square.”

Floyd was up to his usual antics on Monday and again his charming personality seeped through like dog excrement trapped in a paper bag.

The locale was Universal Studios in Los Angeles and the occasion was the press conference to kick-off the “Undefeated” promotion for Mayweather’s December match in Las Vegas against England’s Ricky Hatton. Incidentally, over 16,000 seats for the fight, which will be held at the MGM Grand Garden, sold out within minutes of going on sale on Monday morning.

Mayweather showed up attired in a three-piece suit waving an American flag in each hand. Someone, likely with Golden Boy Promotions or HBO, or both, had the bad sense to play a lewd rap song over the public address system as Mayweather made his entrance. At one point, Mayweather donned a fake crown and proclaimed himself “the new president of boxing.”

Michael Buffer introduced Floyd as “fierce and flashy” and then Mayweather started right in on an unsuspecting Ricky Hatton with enough verbal hooks and jabs to bewilder the Queen of England. Despite the presence of his dance partner, Smirnoff, and Oscar De La Hoya, his former foe and current promoter, Mayweather served notice right off the bat that there was only one star on the dais – and that was him.

Mayweather, who has a professional ring record of 38-0 (24) KO’s, insultingly referred to Hatton, who is also undefeated at 43-0 (31) KO’s, and who has a tendency to put on weight between fights, as “Vicky Fatton”.

Then, like the big bad wolf from “Little Red Riding Hood”, Floyd huffed and puffed and preened and posed and jumped and gyrated while up on the stage trying to blow Hatton’s house down. He got into a stare down with Hatton and got his face within an inch of Ricky’s nose and told him to, “Make a move.” Hatton showed some English manners and didn’t bother to play Floyd’s mind games or engage in similar crass behavior.

Mayweather can say what he wants about using his personality to “sell tickets” but the arena is already sold out in Las Vegas. Additional closed circuit seats are being made available for the crush of English fans that will make the trek across the Atlantic Ocean to the Nevada desert to support “Our boy Ricky” and the fight will likely be an overwhelming pay-per view success. The degrading rants of Mayweather were simply a case of Floyd being the real Floyd.

When asked why he decided to continue his career and fight Hatton after claiming he was “retired forever” after the De La Hoya fight back in May, “Money Mayweather” who made over $20 million against Oscar, explained things this way: “If the price is right anything is possible. I still got money coming in from that fight.”

Floyd, never one to let up on an opponent, at least verbally, later went on to say that, “I really don’t even know too much about Ricky Hatton. I knew he fight (sic) a bunch of guys who was over the hill.” Floyd then went on to proclaim that, “I love my life.”

Asked for his opinion of Mayweather and his goon-like theatrics, Hatton was matter-of-fact in his assessment. “He’s very disrespectful to be honest with you,” said the down to earth Hatton. “I’ve only met him on a few occasions and if he has a good side I haven’t seen it yet. It’s one thing selling tickets, but I don’t think he does it with a great deal of class. I think the most hurtful thing was that he didn’t get a reaction out of me. He was just insulting me and saying he was going to do this and do that and that he was going to do me over. I was just chewing me gum and smiling at him. When I did make a move he just walked away.”

At the end of the surprisingly sparsely attended press conference, Hatton was asked if he was going to tune in to watch Floyd show his fancy footwork and strut his stuff on “Dancing with the Stars”. Hatton just grinned in a dismissive way and disgustingly muttered, “Not bloody likely”.

After day one of a multi-city press tour that will stretch from California to England, Ricky Hatton had already seen enough of the dancing thug.

September 2007

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