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NYdailynews: Floyd Mayweather's recent silence might be good news for boxing fans
We haven't heard much from the boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. over the past few months. No Ustream video labeling Manny Pacquiao a "midget" or a "whore." No silly statements from his spokesman. No comments from him as he walked out of jail on a grand larceny charge in September. Mayweather has been all but mute, and that's music to the ears of the kingmakers of the sport of boxing, such as Ross Greenburg, president of HBO Sports, who are trying to make a fight between Mayweather and Pacquiao. While the world patiently waits for a deal to be made, Mayweather has done his best to torpedo the super bout with Pacquiao through his erratic behavior. He demanded that Pacquiao adhere to an Olympic-style drug testing policy; he delivered a racist rant directed at Pacquiao on Ustream; he went to jail briefly for allegedly beating his ex-girlfriend and stealing her cell phone (he is due back in court on Nov. 9 for a hearing). After saying way too much, Mayweather is suddenly keeping his thoughts to himself.
"The fact that we haven't heard from Floyd (over the last month) is a good sign," Greenburg said. "I think there are people who are close to him that are working with him to resolve this situation and also to get his life in order. I think no news is good news with Floyd, and I do think he's making some strides in Las Vegas from what I'm hearing, personally. He needs to straighten his life out."
Greenburg was on the line to discuss the network's strong end to 2010 where it will air Pacquiao-Antonio Margarito on Nov. 13, Sergio Martinez-Paul Williams II on Nov. 20, and a number of other high-profile fights before the year's end. A deal is just about in place for Timothy Bradley to meet Devon Alexander in January on HBO in a junior welterweight unification match. But the conversation kept drifting back to Mayweather, however, and the importance of putting him in the ring with Pacquiao, sometime next year, to "get the world really paying attention to the sport again," in Greenburg's words.
It's always this way in boxing. The next big fight is the one that will rescue the sport and keep it from becoming irrelevant. In this case, Greenburg is correct in saying that a fight between Mayweather and Pacquiao would be water cooler-type news. But for the moment, I can live without the fight, and the sport can survive without it. I don't need to see Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather meet in the ring. They don't deserve each other and the public doesn't deserve another round of bizarre negotiations. Greenburg acted as a facilitator between the two camps over the summer, trying to bring the sides together before things fell apart. Formal discussions for the fight began in 2009. Greenburg is aware of a backlash the public may be feeling at this point. Call it Mayweather-Pacquiao withdrawal.
"I think the public is skeptical that the fight will even happen," he said. "And until it's announced, they won't emotionally get involved."
Greenburg has been working at HBO for more than 30 years; he's presided over hundreds of fights, so he's used to this type of thing. I haven't made a fight in my life and am not. For him, the back-and-forth, on-again-off-again talks are the norm in
"It's torturous for us in terms of doing our job on a daily basis to try to make all this happen," he said. "But I think at the end of the day it's that crazy roller-coaster ride that is boxing. And you have to get on the ride and just roll with the punches, and that's what we're doing."
This is true, but they do stop fights after you've taken too many of those punches. Then again, if silence is golden, as in the case of Mayweather, maybe the match will get made after all.