The promotion for Floyd “Money” Mayweather’s rematch with Marcos Maidana is in full swing and it was kicked off this week with a press conference in New York, the first stop on their five city promotional tour.
The rematch will take place September 13th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
I’m sure that in a perfect world the fans and media would just focus on the surprisingly competitive fight Mayweather and Maidana had back in May, making Leonard Ellerbe’s job as CEO of Mayweather Promotions that much easier when trying to promote the rematch.
However, that will never be the case in this fickle sport, mostly because boxing fans (hardcores) are smarter than any other fans of any other sport and they can smell bullshit a mile away, but it is also because of the situation Ellerbe finds himself in this time around, a first since he began working with Floyd.
Ellerbe and Floyd have worked many events, huge events, of the record-breaking variety. But they are treading in unfamiliar territory this time. Both Ellerbe and Floyd share some of the blame for the sticky situation they are in, although sticky may not be the right word, curious is better.
The Money Team made spectacles of themselves only a few weeks ago by publically stating they were finished with Golden Boy and would refrain from working with them now that Richard Schaefer was no longer with the company.
And yet, here we are. But what changed? No, I know what they’re saying, both Golden Boy and Mayweather Promotions, but what really changed?
If you read Thomas Hauser’s story last week about Al Haymon and the directions he’s been taking over the course of last year you know that there is something very strange brewing within the boxing world. I’m not one for conspiracy theories, but I don’t have to be, the writing is on the wall. I’m not privy to the same inside information that some of boxing’s best scribes get on a daily basis, but again, I don’t have to be, not right now.
It would be nice to have something concrete to go off of, other than the info we’ve all received. I don’t like to work off conjecture or hypotheticals, and I won’t speculate anything specific, again, mainly because the people reading this are way too smart and would tear me apart online.
However, Ellerbe made some comments on Monday that raised my awareness a bit more, actually it was about what he didn’t say that really stuck out to me.
Thaboxingvoice’s Nestor Gibbs was among the swarming group of reporters at the New York press conference and he was the no-nonsense, never back down Nes that we all know and respect, asking the hard questions as many times as Ellerbe’s patience would allow.
Ellerbe wanted to focus on the promotion, but whether he wants to admit it or not the promotion is entangled in speculation spawned from the happenings in the last couple months (years is probably more accurate).
Ellerbe was flat out asked about the current status of his relationship with Golden Boy, to which he responded with a typical PR rehearsed rhythm.
“We’re working together and we’re going to go out there and promote the hell out of this fight and the fans are going to be the winners,” Ellerbe said.
Ellerbe was then asked about any future plans, possibly referring to a future that will contain a working promotional license for Mayweather Promotions, likely to be obtained by the year’s end.
“We’re focusing on this promotion. I’ve never looked past anything we’re doing because you can never get ahead of yourselves. We (Golden Boy) have a good working relationship. Anytime your business principals are predicated on the revenue opportunities and benefits of your fighter then nothing else matters,” Ellerbe said with the same rehearsed rhythm as before, a nice contrast to the same rhythm Floyd utilizes in the ring.
The “good working relationship” comment prompted Gibbs question regarding Mayweather Promotions’ acquisition of Bruce Binkow, who Ellerbe has called a “consultant.”
Gibbs also asked about the “big surprise” Floyd alluded to when interviewed at the BET awards. These two things aren’t directly related, obviously. But there could be some indirect connection in regards to Mayweather Promotions promoting Floyd’s next fight without any assistance from any other promotional outfit, which would be a first for the company.
“Floyd was just talking. We’re fighting Marcus Maidana on September 13th, that’s all Floyd’s focus is,” Ellerbe said before Gibbs reasserted his question, pressing the issue of whether Ellerbe can in actuality have a “good working relationship” with Golden Boy and still hire the man Golden Boy parted way with just weeks later.
“How I run my company is none of nobody’s business. I’m going to put on the biggest and best event possible and I’m going to do whatever I need to take, to do to make that happen,” Ellerbe snapped back in a manner that was far from his normal PR trained tone.
I’m a fan of the sitcom The Office and I remember one hilariously famous quote that goes (and I’m paraphrasing) “Sometimes people say more in their pauses, let’s listen again and this time pay attention to the pauses.” I know I’m doing the thing I said I wouldn’t, speculating. But I just found it so strange that Ellerbe would abandon his cool, in control demeanor at a question he is definitely smart enough to see coming.
Ellerbe kept trying to hide behind the fact that the question had nothing to do with why everyone was there, that it had nothing to do with the press conference for Mayweather-Maidana 2.
It was even stranger when Ellerbe wouldn’t simply confirm that Binkow was indeed hired by Mayweather Promotions, something that was of public record and made public record just a few weeks ago with his own declaration.
Perhaps Ellerbe was dead set on keeping the rematch topic in focus? Yet, he’s done many press conferences and knows everything is fair game. Forget that for a moment and focus on the fact that he made working and not working with Golden Boy a storyline when he and Floyd pronounced to the world they would no longer be working with Golden Boy and then did just that weeks later.
Ellerbe is smart, crazy smart, the kind of smart that some of us only imagine ourselves to be one day. And yet, Gibbs had him off-guard, off-cue, and off of his game, regardless if it was only for a moment.
I could speculate some more and offer up some of my theories, and I bet they won’t be that far off the mark either because believe me when I tell you TBV has some genuinely credible resources itself, but I won’t for now (you guys deserve better than me spewing halfcocked propaganda).
I find it strange for many reasons and we can leave it like that.
My final thought is this: If Mayweather Promotions becomes its own real entity in the sport of boxing and not just some paper manifested conglomerate, then it really isn’t all that big a deal.
Floyd has a couple fights left and perhaps a few more after that if you are reading between the lines of what’s going on here. But so what? Golden Boy has Canelo, Top Rank has Pacquiao, and Mayweather Promotions will have Mayweather.
Mayweather Promotions will make themselves the 3rd best promotion coming out the gate and it isn’t likely they will able themselves into sweeping the competition in a matter of years.
Mayweather Promotions isn’t of any real consequence unless Haymon is/gets involved. Then, my friends, we are getting into some seriously dangerous territory. Ellerbe is smart, Binkow knows the market, Schaefer is extremely talented (felt right throwing him in there but I did it just to make my point), but Haymon, Haymon is another beast all together.
I said if Haymon gets involved, but that’s not how he operates, he’s Bobby Fischer if Bobby Fischer could think 3 steps ahead of himself. If Haymon decides to be involved that he decided that long ago and Ellerbe has full knowledge.
Gibbs tried to get us answers, and Ellerbe probably knew that he couldn’t even admit to things he already admitted to because the slippery slope leads to whatever they don’t want us to know for the time being. Ellerbe said he never thinks ahead of the fight they’re currently promoting, but he’s smarter than that and he’s smart enough to know that we’re smarter than that.
All I can focus on is the possibilities. That and the same phrase that has both scared and excited me in the past few years… If Haymon is involved… Haymon involved, on repeat (pause for dramatic effect).