The LA Times’ Bill Dwyre on Saturday’s Main Event, and the “Grand Canyon likeability gap” between the opponents.
De La Hoya is well-spoken. In two languages. He sees the public, and its messenger the press, as something to be treated with respect, to be looked in the eye and addressed with candor. In all the talk about whether, at 34, this will be his last fight, win or lose, one thing is clear, and was articulated by his Golden Boy business partner.
“This is not a legacy fight for Oscar,” Richard Schaefer said. “His legacy is already established.”
Schaefer also said that this could be a legacy fight for Mayweather, adding, “But even if he wins, he’ll never be another Oscar.”
Never is a long time.
Mayweather is a product of a tough area of Grand Rapids, Mich. His father, Floyd Sr., and his uncle, Roger, were the biggest influences in his life. Both have spent time in jail and neither has put down a blueprint for how to win friends and influence people.
Floyd Sr. trained De La Hoya for most of his recent fights, then lost that job when he demanded $2 million for this fight. His son clearly got the message along the way about money being the end-all. Several years ago, Floyd Jr. told HBO, which had offered him a fight package worth $10 million, that he didn’t “work for slave wages.”
Uncle Roger, who trains Floyd Jr., recently established new lows for bad taste ” call it the Don Imus Award ” when he commented about De La Hoya’s trainer, Freddie Roach, who has Parkinson’s disease, “I could take him, even if I had polio.”
You spend time with De La Hoya, you want to have dinner with him. You spend time with Floyd Jr., you want to take a shower. As De La Hoya himself said, doing his best to be kind, “I don’t really dislike Floyd, I just don’t care for him.”
There is a reason the payoff split for this fight favors De La Hoya, 70-30. And therein lies the lesson for Mayweather, one better learned late than never.
With all due respect, Dwyre doesn’t speak for the entire mainstream audience. As any wrestling fan knows, you can’t have a babyface without a credible heel. Much has been made this week about De La Hoya’s historical PPV grosses, which while certainly impressive, ought to be compared to those of Mike Tyson. Would Dwyre have us believe that Iron Mike’s earning power would’ve been a penny higher had he seemed a tad less menacing?
Prior to Round One, Jim Lampley asked Larry Merchant for a prediction. Merchant, supposedly on his way out the door, replied, “If I were a betting man, Mayweather. But if I lost my money….I wouldn’t be unhappy.”