Stephen A. Smith Challenges Mayweather, Pacquiao and Arum to Settle Disputes Live on First Take


IFWT_Floyd_StephenAStephen A. Smith is one of the most loved and simultaneously hated figures on the ESPN team. If you’ve seen Smith on ESPN’s First Take then you know he is outspoken and passionate. If you agree with Smith on a particular subject, then you’ll applaud him for commenting on the enthusiastic nature we’ve come to expect from him. If you disagree with Smith on a particular topic, then chances are you’ll hate every word he spews.

In a lot of ways, he’s regarded in the same kind of way that Floyd Mayweather Jr. is, you either love him, or you love to hate him. Ironically enough, Smith has always defended Mayweather and has deemed him one of the greatest fighters in the history of boxing throughout his tenure on First Take, but that changed last year.

At some point, Smith — who has been a staunch advocate for Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao to finally deliver on the mega fight the world has waited for — began to put pressure on all parties involved, including Mayweather Jr. He became critical of Mayweather Jr. in a fair and rational way.

Mayweather Jr. didn’t like Smith’s viewpoints and gave a harsh interview to where he made comments about Smith’s knowledge of sports, in general.

Fast forward to today and Smith has become even more vocal about his perceptions.

On yesterday morning’s edition of First Take, Smith pleaded his case, and he was as sincere about his desire to see the fight as ever.

“We want the fight, and if Bob Arum is in the way I think that people who cover Bob Arum should highlight that and point it out,” Smith said on air.

As I previously mentioned, Smith has been critical of everyone, and rightfully so, but he can only work with the limited amount of knowledge that we have regarding the many different versions of the truth we get from various people within the negotiations. He wasn’t highlighting Arum because he believes that Arum is solely responsible for the fight not happening, and he isn’t accusing him of being the most problematic figure within the Mayweather-Pacquiao storyline. Smith is simply doing his best to get to the real root of the issues, not to assign blame, but rather in an attempt to rectify the problems in order to make the fight a possibility.maxresdefault-16

In reality, he can’t do much, but he offered up the only real solution he has and the only one he can control. That is why he offered an invite to Arum, Mayweather, and Pacquiao to be on First Take and take their issues public.

“This platform is a nationally televised show, live. I would love for Bob Arum-Floyd Mayweather Jr. to come right in studio with Manny Pacquiao. We can have them for the whole 2 hours if they want to. Let’s talk about the differences here and get it done. All we want is to get it done, so there is a fight, and we want to expose whoever’s in the way preventing this fight from happening.”

It is wishful thinking on the part of Smith. There is no way that any one of the three individuals accepts his offer, let alone all three simultaneously. However, at least he is trying. You can criticize his naive offer, or you can applaud him for using his power in the media.

The truth is we’ll never know who was at fault for this fight not happening over the years. Some people blame Pacquiao for, not accepting the drug testing condition initiated by Mayweather Jr. in the first negotiations several years ago, but others suggest it was just a ploy from Mayweather and that he would’ve used another disagreeable term to avoid the fight, using the logic that Pacquiao finally agreed to the testing and still, the fight hasn’t happened.

We could go back and forth, but we’ll never know who was truly to blame and if the fight doesn’t happen this time the debate will wage on with no real understanding. It is with little comfort that I say this but at least we know it wasn’t Smith’s fault. It might not make this any easier if the fight doesn’t happen, but with the biased views spread around the boxing media landscape it is nice to see a true champion for the impartial minority.