By Ivan G. Goldman
As the Canelo Alvarez-Floyd Mayweather superfight looms ever so close, the depth of Oscar De La Hoya’s hostility toward Mayweather has gradually been revealed. It doesn’t look like any marketing gimmick either. You have to wonder whether the business partnership between the two can survive the event.
Mayweather has been letting De La Hoya’s company take the role of lead promoter on his fights, but apparently there’s no long-term contract between them. In the third episode of the All Access promotional show, Oscar, as he predicts Canelo’s success, again has no kind words for Floyd. “It’s personal to me,” he tells the camera. Yes, Oscar was once the superstar and now he watches from ringside, rich, but not always happy as Floyd in the spotlight talks and talks and talks some more.
Says Mayweather: “Of course Oscar, he’s jealous of me. The Golden Boy is extremely fake,” and then peels off a long line of fighters that Oscar has backed unsuccessfully against him, including Oscar himself, who lost a split decision to “Money” in 2007.
But mostly the All Access reality programming series flounders as it rolls toward its final segment next Saturday. As the producers try to find something original, they find themselves stuck and out of gas. This time around we’ve barely seen Floyd Mayweather, Sr. or Uncle Roger. Maybe not everyone liked them, but they livened things up. We also don’t see Mayweather making love to his currency anymore, but in episode 3, shown last night for the first time, he does brag about his toys – a large stable of white, ultra-expensive automobiles that are kept shiny and ready in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Miami.
Other than the conspicuous absence of Roger and Floyd Senior, though, it’s largely the same old, same old, recycled from the 24/7 HBO series that went over this ground so many times before. But the show is also getting sloppy.
The very first words of episode 3, “They say boxing is a simple sport,” aren’t even true. “They” are nonexistent. No one says that. Is it called the sweet science because it’s simple? There’s a countermove to every move. A counter to every counter. Boxing is quick, complex, never “simple” and never described that way. The series is tired, including the script. Yes, somebody had to write that ridiculous lead-off line and somebody else had to decide it was okay because heck, you have to say something while footage runs across the screen.
But just maybe, Episode 3 gets a little closer to reality when it likens the dozen or so sexy women on Floyd’s payroll to a “harem.” We also see a between-fights gut on Adrien Broner as he visits Floyd, his idol.
Floyd tells us he took “fifty friends” to see a Lil’ Wayne show. But Floyd, if you were to go broke, would they still hang around? If not, then they weren’t your friends.
In the Canelo camp, we hear a reply to Leonard Ellerbe’s charge that the contract called for a catch weight of 152 because an “idiot manager” working for Canelo made a mistake. Team Canelo says it was Mayweather who whined that there must be a catch weight. Sorry, Canelo, but since your guys answered only with insults and threats, it’s the account of Ellerbe, Mayweather’s right-hand man, that seems to hold up.
Meanwhile Canelo once again comes across as a dangerous guy who seems to understand what he’s up against and truly believes in himself. His confidence sounds at least as sincere as Floyds’s.
The All Access marketing blitz series by Showtime, which will offer the pay-per-view extravaganza at a record $75 for high-def reception, is clearly aimed at what we call “casual” fans. So far it has contained basically nothing on specific strategy, for example. You look at TV coverage of football and with all its tactical terms, it looks like a more complicated version of rocket science. But this simplistic Showtime series treats boxing as the “simple” sport it incorrectly describes in the opening line.
There’s little or nothing about all the deft little moves Floyd makes that’s kept him undefeated or how he reacted to adversity in previous bouts. No comparisons between the Canelo of ten fights ago and the more polished Canelo we saw in his last outing against Austin Trout. No hard comparisons between Alvarez and previous Mayweather opponents such as future Hall of Famer Miguel Cotto. This has been fluff for the masses and probably can afford to be because there’s no way hard-core fans would miss this fight anyway.
Sick Justice: Inside the American Gulag, by New York Times best-selling author Ivan G. Goldman, was released in June 2013 by Potomac Books. It can be purchased here.