Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Bleachers' Brew #189 A Mayweather Exhibit

A Mayweather Exhibit

by rick olivares

It is possibly the richest mega-fight in boxing history. And the Mayweathers, even before ink has been applied on paper have fired the opening salvo and are making the fight all about themselves. They’ve set up tent ahead of everyone and Team Pacquiao, promoter Bob Arum, and fight fans have paid the price of admission.

It’s all part of a calculated pre-fight attack on the Champ. And everyone has fallen for the bait hook, jab, and insinuations that Manny Pacquiao is using performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). They learned of Pacquiao’s fear of needles and have needled him into a testy issue. He is innocent until proven guilty, right? So let’s not even speculate at this point and celebrate his achievements.

It’s a classic Mayweather tactic to piss off his opponents so when they take the ring, they blunder into blind aggression. There is a method to the madness. Exhibit A: Mayweather Junior before his match with Oscar de la Hoya: “It’s not a distraction. Our family being wild and crazy is exciting to us – we don’t mind.” After getting suckered into the war of words, the Golden Boy lost in a split decision. Incidentally, Junior won his fifth title in as many weight classes in that match.

I smell Mayweather Senior’s voice in all this. After Pretty Boy beat the Hitman, he said that Hatton played no defense in his loss to Junior. Then after Hatton’s inglorious loss to Pacquiao where he showed no D against the power-punching Filipino, Senior, who supposedly taught the Hitman defense, failed to even console the Briton and even tried to cast doubt on the Filipino’s triumph with his rap on PEDs.

Now he’s at it again because he can smell the opportunity and the money. After all why gravitate back to his son? He has nowhere to go after Hatton. At least Billy Graham showed Hitman that he did care about the fighter. Senior can and will say what he wants to say.

Exhibit B: Senior asked Oscar de la Hoya for $2 million to train him before right?

Exhibit C: When Junior was a year old, Senior got into an altercation his wife’s brother who pulled out a gun. Senior held up Junior and said, “If you’re going to kill me then you’ll have to kill him too.” The brother-in-law shot him in the leg.

Senior will say what he needs or wants to say. It’s his way of calling attention to himself.

Exhibit D: Instead of training in England, he had Hatton decamp to Las Vegas, where Senior lives, for a training camp a full month ahead of the Pacquiao fight. The Englishman would arrive early every time out to the gym but Senior was always late. So much for setting an example.

Three weeks before Pacquiao’s bout with Hatton, Floyd Sr. waxed poetic albeit with stinging words:

“Manny, come May the second,

You’ll be uncrowned

With head hanging down.

And pain and distress left to confess

That the Hitman is the best.

Let’s make it simple and plain –

After this fight you’ll never be the same.”

I think it was Hatton – God bless the nice bloke that he is -- who has not been the same. With his career stalled at the moment, the only knockout that he scored was a scripted one when he knocked out pro wrestler Chavo Guerrero when World Wrestling Entertainment took its RAW program to England.

Senior, loud and irrepressible as he is, even got on Freddie Roach’s nerves prompting Pacman’s trainer to answer through clenched teeth that they’ll do their talking in the ring. With the latest in a series of reconciliations between father and son, you know where this is coming from. No doubt to discredit the Champ and cast doubt on his achievements. With the recent troubles of Tiger Woods and pre-World Series champion Alex Rodriguez, everyone has taken a long hard look at their sports idols.

For sure, Pacquiao has his shortcomings and pitfalls but that is not the issue here. And if he does use it – then that’s something we’ll all have to deal with later and not speculate.

There is nothing sweet about the Sweet Science. It is legalized brutality and it’s only the characters behind the fights who make them juicier. Exhibit B – Sugar Ray Robinson and Sugar Ray Leonard. And there is the Greatest and Iron Mike. None of them were graceful as a ballerina. But the poet in Muhammad Ali’s corner, Bundini Brown of which Mayweather Sr. is an heir, made the fights memorable as well with his gift for verse.

Boxing has had its share of troubles with a spate of controversial decisions that hurt the sport. And there have been characters like Antonio Margarito, who was caught using illegal tape in a fight and has been suspended for it, and referee Marlon B. Wright, who in a Tim Donaghy moment, took 20 seconds to count out his fellow Canadian Lucian Bute who was knocked down by Mexican-American Librandro Andrade. But survived the long count and when he stood up the bell sounded for the end of the match.

It is certainly possible that PEDs have found their way into the sport and stronger drug testing should be made mandatory. The subject of drug testing has become even more pronounced with the startling revelations in major sports (in the Olympics it has long been an issue). And I’m sure that common ground can be found for the Pacquiao-Mayweather mega-fight. The fight is so tempting and one for the ages that to not have it happen would be a shame. But clearly, the Mayweathers have Pacquiao on the defensive with this drug-testing issue.

Once that is done, business is going to be settled in the ring.

Maybe, the best exhibit of the whole thing next to the 24/7 feature (that will inevitably be a part of the package) and the fight itself, is that they should include a provision to also test the trainer and non-trainer.

There must be a reason why their mouths motor on.

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