Moments after Manny Pacquiao nearly decapitated Ricky Hatton en route to a chilling second round knockout victory, Hatton’s trainer Floyd Joy Mayweather Sr. was already out of the MGM Grand Garden arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
In fact, Floyd Sr. did not even climb the ring to attend to his fallen fighter in the frightening seconds that ensued after Pacquiao connected a wrecking ball of a left hook to Hatton’s chin.
Perhaps even grizzled fighters-turned-trainers can still get shocked by results they never saw coming, maybe in the heat of battle he himself was in need of help to calm his own frayed nerves.
Or maybe, his enormous pride got in the way of manning up and facing the questions sure to follow a monumental failure on their side of battle. It was not going to be easy for sure, not when he incessantly downplayed and ridiculed the opposing fighter and his counterpart trainer in the buildup to the fight.
In the days that followed Pacquiao-Hatton Floyd Sr. started what was to become a bandwagon of sorts when he alleged Pacquiao was on something not exactly legal to rationalize the Filipino’s awe-inspiring performance. Other boxers wanting to float their names in boxing news headlines got a piece of the action and picked up on Floyd Sr.’s insinuations, like Kermit Cintron and Paulie Malignaggi.
The ripple created by these drops in the boxing pond rose to considerable proportions, becoming big enough that some in the boxing world started questioning the legitimacy of Pacquiao’s recent wins.
Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. started negotiations in December 2009 for a fight and predictably Floyd’s camp insisted on random blood testing. While negotiations were going on both sides aired their grievances to the boxing media, and this avenue proved most fruitful to the Mayweather camp and its apparent agenda to totally discredit Pacquiao’s achievements.
Golden Boy Oscar dela Hoya who was representing Mayweather at the negotiating table issued statements in his The Ring online blog contradicting his previous assertions on Pacquiao’s punching power but ultimately casting yet another stone at Pacquiao’s besmirched honor. Where before he belittled the Filipino’s punches despite getting stopped in a humiliating loss to the smaller man, this time he was comparing Pacquiao’s punches to Shane Mosley and Fernando Vargas, two big-punching fighters he faced in the ring who were later found out to have taken performance enhancing drugs (PED).
Even seemingly neutral parties chimed in damaging blows to the beleaguered reputation of Pacquiao. Respected trainer and ESPN analyst Teddy Atlas who is known for shooting his mouth off at times, dropped a bombshell even by his standards and mentioned during a live broadcast of a boxing event a source perusing an email allegedly coming from Pacquiao’s camp requesting a gag order clause in the negotiated fight contract in the event of a positive drug test result. Curiously, Atlas has never offered proof of his revelations.
While only time will tell whether the accusations instigated by the Mayweathers are straight and true or simply blatant lies, there is no doubt what the intentions are behind them. An unbiased observer would not even need rocket science to discern Floyd Jr. was casting a jealous eye on the surging Manny Pacquiao while he was passing on fighting dangerous welterweights, or in simpler terms temporarily retired.
The Filipino has been surpassing expectations with brilliant performances and an exciting go-for-broke style. These and his unusual charisma have enabled him to receive universal acclaim and acceptance from the boxing world, things that Floyd Jr. himself has lusted for but never really received.
Days before the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) was to give the Filipino a historic Fighter of the Decade award, Floyd Jr. stated in an interview his intention to stay away a year or two from the sport once again. His motives for making such a statement would not have made sense especially considering negotiations for a fight with Pacquiao have reportedly resumed and were making progress, were it not for Floyd Sr.’s revealing tirades recently.
The elder Floyd lambasted the BWAA for awarding Manny Pacquiao Fighter of the Decade when he had two draws and a loss in that decade, while his son is still undefeated in his career. Apparently, father and son have their eyes fully set on the latter’s perceived place in boxing history and such an award going to another contemporary fighter would greatly compromise how history treats Junior.
The performance enhancing drug accusations may or may not have a proper resolution, but the intentions behind them are crystal clear.