By Geoffrey Ciani: A recent article by my East Side Boxing colleague, Ernesto Morales, has inspired me to write a rebuttal of sorts. Yesterday, East Side Boxing published this article by my esteemed colleague: De La Hoya/Mayweather: A Fair Fight? What Happened to the Old Way?
In that article, Mr. Morales accused The Golden Boy, Oscar De La Hoya, of “deliberately stacking the deck in his favor”. After first giving an intriguing glimpse into his background, and talking about what constituted a “fair fight” where he grew up in the Bronx, Mr. Morales then proceeded explain how the deck was stacked in Oscar’s favor. He stated the following:
2-Pre-fight promotional demands
3-Ring size to cut his versatility. If we remember well, when Oscar fought Trinidad he also then demanded a ring size to his liking, but that time it was a demand for a larger ring or the fight was off! Needless to say, his demands were met.
4-Oscar’s Pre-arranged/conditioned weight agreement where Floyd must come in at a certain weight and no lighter in an attempt (a logical attempt) of the Golden Boy to slow down the fleet footed Pretty Boy.
But this fair fight doesn’t stop here, there’s more;
5-The gloves to be worn are also conditioned to Oscar’s wants and desires.”
With all due respect to my colleague, this is much ado about nothing.
First of all, the notion of comparing a street fight with a prize fight, in terms of what constitutes a fair fight, is an apples and oranges comparison. It’s simply not valid on any measurable standard. Boxing is, first and foremost, a business, much like any other professional sport. As such, there are rules of conduct that must be adhered to during the prelude to any big fight. In the case of De La Hoya versus Mayweather, this isn’t just a big fight—this is a mega fight!
Secondly, Oscar De La Hoya is boxing’s biggest attraction, bar none. As such, he’s the cash cow, which means his fellow pugilists desire to fight him. Landing a fight with De La Hoya is much like landing awinning lottery ticket! Fighting De La Hoya usually provides his opponent with a career payday. In the case of the upcoming bout between Golden Boy and the pound-for-pound King, each fighter will be receiving a career payday. Is this not, then, a mutually beneficial endeavor?
Finally, the conditions set by Oscar were conditions that Floyd Mayweather, Jr. agreed to. If Mayweather thought that boxing’sGolden Goose was stacking the deck against him, it didn’t seem to bother him much. That Mayweather signed the contract and agreed to said conditions supports this fact. Whether Mayweather feels these perceived “advantages” are no such thing, or whether he’s willing to overlook them in order to secure a career payday is a moot issue. The fact is, Mayweather agreed to these terms!
The bottom line is both contestants agreed to fight under these conditions. When they enter the ring, none of this will matter. It will be two warriors battling it out, one-on-one. Each fighter will be wearing gloves, both fighters will be in the same ring, and both fighters will have met the weight conditions stipulated for this bout. How is that not a fair fight?
It certainly seems fair to me.
What Oscar is really being criticized for is being a great negotiator. After all, if he got Mayweather to agree to his terms, which he believes will help give him a slight edge, what’s the problem? Isn’t that a display of good negotiating tactics? When negotiating to buy a new car, isn’t it in your best interests to try and secure the best deal you possibly can? Didn’t De La Hoya do what any good negotiator would do going into what might possibly be the biggest fight of all-time? Of course he did!
De La Hoya wrote up The Golden Contract, and Mayweather couldn’t wait to sign it! In fact, he probably signed it with a smile, because it was in his best interests to do so. Come May 5, boxing fans will most certainly witness a fair fight. May the best man win!
This article was also published at East Side Boxing