Jim Lampley has been a longtime fixture on HBO's boxing telecast over the years, and for the start of this season's "The Fight Game," he made it a point to take aim at boxing's top pound-for-pound fighter. Mayweather's "retirement from boxing can not come a moment too soon," said HBO's Jim Lampley during Tuesday night's closing comments. If you thought that was perhaps a reference to the dull performance he put on last Saturday, it wasn't. Here are his comments in its entirety:
"Floyd Mayweather long ago made clear that he isn't trying to please the entire available audience, and through the concentrated money harvest of pay-per-view distribution, he has convincingly established that he can do it his way, generate a kind of appeal not all of us will ever understand, and attract an income that out-distances those of polite golfers and friendly, smiling auto racers. Some would say, ‘more power to him.'
"But if the goal is to push the limits of public taste to the point where the overwhelming preponderance of consumers simply wash their hands and want nothing to do with him or his fights, his blithe comment to the effect that the NFL was over-reacting to a videotape by suspending Ray Rice was probably a pretty good start. And his garbled apology did little to remove the stench.
"This was the absolute height of heaving a rock out of a glass house. And if he honestly thinks that he can offer that kind of love to Rice without offending significant numbers of fans and observers, he's wrong. The fact is, unbeaten record or not, consummate skill, notwithstanding, Floyd Mayweather is an often aggressively distasteful human being whose behaviors are a blight on the boxing landscape.
"He also said, last week, he will retire from the ring after the completion of his six-fight CBS/Showtime contract. And, in responding to the result of his most recent win, earlier in the show, we ignored that, because it won't happen. But if it did, no damage would accrue to boxing. Fact is, for the betterment of boxing's image, Floyd Mayweather's retirement can not come a moment too soon."
These comments aren't exactly groundbreaking news, many have routinely accused Mayweather of being a terrible person on this very site. I do wonder, however, if these comments are not somewhat opportunistic. If Mayweather was still affiliated with HBO, instead of leaving them for rival Showtime, would they have still openly lambasted him on their network? Somehow I think not; but that's not to say it isn't fair and well-deserved criticism.
"I just feel that it's no longer necessary, or shouldn't be necessary and probably never was necessary to tiptoe around this, and pretend that we're going to bring down the whole facade if somebody openly criticizes the guy who is seen as the No. 1 fighter. The show says it all. He's the No. 1 fighter, and we've acknowledged that," said Lampley.
"But what he does out of the ring is not helpful to the image of the sport, and, to a certain degree, what he does in the ring is not helpful to the image of the sport. I don't think that the whole building is going to fall down if somebody pulls out a brick. So I pulled out a brick, and other people can do the same. As reporters who love the sport, we ought to stick up for it."
The very comments of it no longer being necessary to tiptoe around Mayweather's out of the ring behavior directly alludes to the question above that if it was simply about journalistic integrity, they would have been calling out Mayweather for quite some time now, not just now that he's no longer with their company. When he was making HBO a ton of money, they were more than happy to skirt the out-of-the-ring issues.