You know some big boxing event is hitting a nerve with Floyd Mayweather when the 5-division undefeated former world champ feels the need to interject himself into the fight narrative.
With the heaping amount of praise put on Mayweather arch-rival Manny Pacquiao for taking on a mega-risky bout against 2-belt welterweight champ Errol Spence, it was predictable that “Money” would be shoving his name into the mix.
“I wish both guys nothing but the best, but Errol Spence, I wanna see him win,” Mayweather told FightHype.com. “I’m pushing for Errol Spence to win. Absolutely, that’s my people– I’m gonna always push for my people first. Just like the Philippines are gonna stand by their man, Pacquiao. I’m an American, and I’m going to stand by my people first…Actually, I’m going to call him and give him some pointers.”
This quote, of course, made headlines and found its way into the first Pacquiao-Spence press conference, provoking a playful Manny Pacquiao into a bit of uncharacteristic snarkiness.
“Errol don’t need to have advice from Mayweather,” Pacquiao interjected with a smile. “I believe Errol is better than Mayweather. He’s a [better] fighter than Mayweather…He could teach Mayweather how to fight toe-to-toe.”
As of that press conference, Mayweather had not yet reached out to Spence. But an educated hunch tells you that an offer of help to a fellow American and his “people” was not the real intention behind that headline-friendly soundbite.
The 44-year-old Mayweather has a pathological need to be the center of attention. That’s hardly unusual among fighters/athletes/artists/performers who all need a healthy amount of ego to get to the top of their chosen professions. In Mayweather’s case, though, that ego is especially fragile when it comes to all things Pacquiao.
For the longest time, Mayweather and Pacquiao were neck and neck when it came to who was the bigger star and who deserved the greater regard as a competitor. The Pacquiao vs. Mayweather dynamic became especially ugly when efforts to match them against one another failed and stalled over the course of several contentious years.
When the two finally did meet in 2015, Mayweather cruised to a decisive unanimous decision victory. However, the glory of that moment would be diminished by Pacquiao’s claims of an injured shoulder as well as criticism that the two faced each other well past their physical primes.
So, the animosity and rivalry continued. And, for Mayweather, the need to diminish, deride, and one up the Filipino icon turned into a bit of an obsession.
This upcoming Pacquiao blockbuster with Errol Spence on August 21 is the perfect storm for Mayweather’s insecurities.
While Mayweather’s last three ring appearances have been against a UFC fighter, a Japanese kickboxer, and a YouTuber, Pacquiao has been facing real boxers– and Spence is as real as they come.
Media and fans have been gushing over the 42-year-old’s decision to take on the very best in the welterweight division– and rightfully so. The 31-year-old Spence is regarded by most as the top 147-pounder in the world and, by many, as someone who could do some serious harm to the multi-division former world champ.
Mayweather has definitely reaped the rewards of some lucrative exhibition bouts in recent years, but he’s obviously not getting the type of respect Pacquiao is getting for taking on tough challenges in real, active ring duty.
And that clearly irks Mayweather, no matter how many “look how rich I am” and “I am TBE” videos he posts on social media.
Expect more of this grandstanding and desperate grasping at the spotlight as Pacquiao-Spence fight night approaches and as buzz increases over the legitimately outstanding matchup.