Floyd Mayweather Jr. didn't make weight, but will fight on Saturday anyway. The spin has started. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports is reporting a different take on the saga of Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s failure to make weight for tomorrow night's fight against Juan Manuel Marquez.
[Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard] Schaefer said the contract the fighters signed in May was for the bout to be at a limit of 147 pounds. But in that contract, each man agreed to a substantial penalty clause for every pound, or fraction thereof, more than 144.
"There were no surprises," Schaefer said. "The contract the fighters signed for the fight so many months ago called it a welterweight fight. But there was a stipulation that there would be a penalty for weighing over 144.
"Floyd’s team informed us today that he would not be able to make 144, and because of that, there was a substantial penalty. If he would have been 147, it would have been even bigger."
Thus, Mayweather was in the odd position Friday of making the contracted weight but still paying a penalty.
If either man had weighed in excess of 147, he would have been required to sweat off the excess weight to reach 147 exactly. That is not normally the case unless a fight is for a championship, which Saturday’s fight is not.
It's spin. It's spin to save the fight's aura, its reputation, and Mayweather's status. I'm not saying that Mr. Iole is purposely reporting anything false; not at all. I'm also not saying Richard Schaefer is lying.
I'm just saying they're trying to make this sound as good as they possibly can, and trying to keep the fight compelling and not let this overshadow the actual bout tomorrow night. It's good spin, it's spin you should expect, but it's spin.
If fighters agree that anything over 144 pounds is a financial penalty, then they agreed to fight at 144 pounds. What the language they're using does is give Floyd an out. He didn't miss the weight, see, he just didn't make the first tier weight. It was still OK so long as he was under 147, see, he just has to pay.
I'm just not buying it. Mayweather deserves to be called out for this. On HBO.com's "24/7 Overtime" with Jim Lampley, Max Kellerman and Bert Sugar, it was agreed upon by Kellerman and Sugar that Mayweather never intended to make 144 pounds at all. Lampley called that a "ploy." They're not the only ones seeing it that way, and Schaefer, Golden Boy and Floyd aren't going to be able to spin out of this in the court of public opinion.
For all intents and purposes, this is a lot like Corrales-Castillo II, where Castillo came in overweight and Corrales took extra money to take the fight anyway. The heavier Castillo stopped Corrales (who had broken his tail to make 135 pounds) early in one of the least satisfying rematches you'll ever see.
Castillo's reputation took a massive hit for that, and an even bigger one when he didn't make weight for a proposed third fight between the two, which Corrales refused after Castillo again failed on the scales. Castillo would later miss weight for a fight with Timothy Bradley in 2008 that never came about.
Again: There's a reason no one connected to the fight ever talked about the weight. Reliable sources knew it was at 144, and the resulting discussion tonight centers on 144, which everyone now admits was the limit. They're just shifting words around, and since they never said 144, we're told, "Well, they COULD go to 147, it's just over 144 cost money..."
I will admit that it somewhat disappoints me that this didn't happen with Manny Pacquiao, not because I dislike Pacquiao at all, but because I could have then said, "Take a load off, Manny. Take a load for $600,000."