Boxing is conflict. It is chaos. No sport proves the theory of entropy more than the sweet science. The business of boxing is much the same. At any given time a fighter-manger relationship that made millions will dissolve. A promoter who works with one of the best fighters in the world will decide it’s not worth his time to market his prize asset. Every day the business of boxing changes just a bit, and sometimes, those changes build up to a momentous shift. We might be on the verge of such a change.
Recently, in an interview between FightHype.com and Floyd Mayweather, the pound-for-pound champion announced that for his next fight in May 2015, there will likely be major changes in his camp. At least one of the major changes has already been identified: Rafael Garcia is out.
Mayweather’s hand issues have been well-documented. For several years, the man chiefly responsible for protecting Mayweather’s million-dollar hands has been Rafael Garcia, a legend in the boxing world. Garcia has been in the sport more than seven decades, cornering some of the greatest fighters in several generations, including Lupe Pintor, Roberto Duran, Alexis Arguello and Wilfredo Gomez.
According to the FightHype interview, due to an incident where another member of Mayweather’s camp wrapped Mayweather’s hands for the Maidana rematch instead of Garcia, Mayweather believed that Garcia was intensely upset. Mayweather said, “I don’t know if Rafael Garcia left me. I don’t know.” Garcia later confirmed that he was indeed leaving Mayweather’s camp, not because of what had happened but because of what might happen in the future. Garcia declared his retirement from the sport of boxing “before they [Mayweather & company] push me aside.”
Garcia’s departure from the Mayeather camp might just be the beginning of several bigger changes. As Mayweather put it, “I think when May comes around and you guys see All Access in May, I'll have a totally new team and probably a totally new staff. We may make a lot of changes in my team, but Al Haymon ain't going nowhere.”
Although Mayweather’s longtime adviser, and international man of mystery, Al Haymon, might not be going anywhere, Leonard Ellerbe, current CEO of Mayweather Promotions and mainstay of the Mayweather corner, might be.
“I think we're just getting to a point where we're outgrowing each other. I think I just see things my way and I think he sees things in another way," Mayweather said. "… Leonard wasn't in my corner, so, you know, it's not any hard feelings. It's just people outgrow one another. I'm not mad at him. There's no hard feeling like I hate the guy; not at all. No hard feelings whatsoever. People just outgrow one another, just like when people get a divorce. They're no longer on the same page mentally."
Mayweather’s words caused immediate shock waves in the boxing world and have left many with a litany of unanswered questions and much speculation. Of the beef, Richard Schaefer, former CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, said, “I don’t know what’s going on, and I don’t have any inside information about what Floyd said. I am retired for the time being, and Floyd is my friend and Leonard is my friend, and I wish them nothing but the best.”
The issues between Mayweather and Ellerbe come at a time when it seems that Al Haymon’s future promotional company is on the cusp of finally becoming reality.
There was a time when it seemed clear that Haymon, Ellerbe, Schaefer and Mayweather would all play a role in the new boxing promotional titan. Perhaps the new ship doesn’t need that many captains. If you look at Golden Boy and Top Rank, there are usually two or at most three names toward the top that make the wheels of those organizations run. Maybe the pie isn’t big enough for four big names. Maybe the beef between Mayweather and Ellerbe somehow relates to the new company. So much is unclear.
The issues between Mayweather and Ellerbe come at a particularly inopportune time, only months after Mayweather Promotions applied for a promotional license in Nevada and concurrently with a request from the Nevada State Athletic Commission to speak with Mayweather regarding potentially unsafe training conditions at his gym. It seems that the commission has taken issue with training sessions shown on Showtime’s "All Access" where intense sparring sessions at The Mayweather Boxing Club were recorded. The commission also took offense to images from "All Access" showing a group of women smoking marijuana in Mayweather’s presence.
The conversation to be held with Mayweather is a prime example of selective targeting. If the commission was truly concerned with the moral issues surrounding Mayweather’s presence around marijuana, then it should be expected that the commission would also call in two other big-time promoters for their proven and extremely public lapses in moral judgment. But that will almost certainly not happen.
Regardless, the immediate question on the minds of many boxing fans is whether Ellerbe will be in attendance to support Mayweather at his meeting with the commission. In times past, his presence would never have been in question. Now, however, whether or not Ellerbe shows up may signal just how damaged his relationship with Mayweather has become.
For most of his meteoric rise, Mayweather has been a master of marketing. Only recently has he lost the reins of the media and allowed others to dictate the narrative about his life. Might this recent FightHype interview be an attempt to regain control of the story line of his career? It doesn’t seem that way given Rafael Garcia’s departure and the recent confirmation that Alex Ariza — one-time strength and conditioning coach for Manny Pacquiao and Marcos Maidana — has signed to a two-year non-compete/non-disclosure agreement with Mayweather.
Things are changing in the Mayweather camp. There's no question about that. Just how deep will the changes be? We’ll have to wait and see.
50-0 is all that matters to Floyd, and he doesn't care what it takes to get there. Not one bit.
I know he won't, but I hope Floyd takes a bit more risk in his next three fights to get to 50-0. I know that doesn't make sense, I mean....why would he take any to get to that prestigious mark, but I wonder if he's been so calculating that it ends up hurting his legacy to a degree.
Hell, I remember what they said in Coming to America. "Rocky Marciano never fought Joe Louis until he was 137 years old." Will we be saying something similar about Floyd? We just might.
This was eye-popping to read.
I kinda figured changes would be made in his camp, especially given how much he's been tagged in the media this year, but wow.
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