Thursday, September 1, 2011

Floyd Mayweather will make them pay

It’s a road that hasn’t been traveled much lately. Mayweather hasn’t fought since beating Shane Mosley 16 months ago and has only fought three times since beating Oscar De La Hoya four years ago to become a pay-per-view attraction. He says he’s returning to the ring because he got excited watching Ortiz beat Andre Berto in his last fight. But he wasn’t going to fight Ortiz unless he agreed to take blood tests to
make sure he wasn’t doping.

That’s a rule Mayweather says he now lives by. And, unless Pacquiao agrees to the testing, he says there will be no megafight between the two. Mayweather was careful not to accuse Pacquiao of using something to get stronger, perhaps mindful that the Filipino sensation is suing him for defamation for allegedly making repeated statements that he thought Pacquiao was taking performance-enhancing drugs. Indeed, he portrays his call for random testing as his way of cleaning up the sport of boxing.

That didn’t seem to concern Mayweather as he got his hands wrapped before a workout Friday in a gym that seemed even hotter than the 108 degrees it was outside. He believes that he–not Pacquiao–is still the biggest name in boxing, and he’s determined to play out his career on his own terms.

So far that’s made him a rich man. He’s been able to sell himself as the fighter everyone loves to hate, making millions on big pay-per-view fights. He’s the star attraction on HBO 24/7 Mayweather vs Ortiz, where last week the last six minutes of the episode featured Mayweather and his father screaming at each other.

The bad boy image isn’t just for TV. Mayweather is involved in a half dozen different court cases, one of which could send him to prison for felony domestic assault. In a separate civil lawsuit, two men claim he orchestrated a shooting attack on them outside a Las Vegas skating rink two years ago.

What he’s worried about right now is getting himself ready to fight Ortiz, who so impressed Mayweather in his fight with Berto that he reached out to make him his next opponent. Before that bout, Ortiz was best known for quitting in a fight he was losing, and his relative inexperience also should play into Mayweather’s hands.

Assuming Mayweather wins, he will be 42-0 and a champion once again at 147 pounds. But he still will be dogged by questions about the quality of his opponents, his relative inactivity, and what seems to be an aversion to fighting Pacquiao.

Mayweather vs Ortiz