Stephen A. Smith: “Bob Arum is right to say Cinco de Mayo weekend is for Canelo Alvarez and the Mexican fight fans, not Floyd Mayweather Jr."Written by Joseph Herron
"Floyd Mayweather is not ducking or dodging any opponent," stated the pound for pound king of boxing. "Bob Arum is stopping the fight. We've been trying to make this fight happen behind the scenes for years now but the fans and the people have been fooled because they've been listening to people on one side."
"Now it's time for us to talk. We want the fight. We're ready. Let's make it happen...May 2nd...Mayweather versus Pacquiao. Cinco de Mayweather, let's do it."
When news of Floyd's proclamation made its way to the desk of Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, the 83 year old fight promoter had a few things to say about the "Cinco de Mayweather" claim.
"Let me tell you something, and this I feel very strongly about," stated the Hall of Fame fight promoter."
"That weekend celebrates Cinco de Mayo, which is a Mexican Holiday. It commemorates the outstanding, courageous dstand of a lot of Mexican civilians who turned back the French Imperial Army, and it's a significant holiday in Mexico and among Mexican Americans who live in the United States."
"That being said, neither Mr. Mayweather, nor Mr. Pacquiao, nor Mr. Cotto, are Mexican fighters. The only big Mexican attraction in the group is Canelo Alvarez. And to poach on the Mexican Holiday by a non-Mexican fighter shows terrible disrespect for the Mexican people."
Both Arum and Canelo's promoter, Oscar De la Hoya agree that the Cinco de Mayo weekend fight date should be reserved for the proposed and currently negotiated Canelo vs. Cotto showdown, which would outline the heated "Mexico vs. Puerto Rico" longstanding boxing rivalry.
While many critics have viewed Bob's position as evidence that Arum is indeed stonewalling the progress in making the Mayweather/Pacquiao super fight a stark reality, longtime Floyd Mayweather supporter and respected journalist Stephen A. Smith believes that Arum is correct in making his assessment.
"Bob Arum is absolutely right in saying that Cinco de Mayo weekend should be reserved for Alvarez and Cotto," admits Stephen A. Smith of ESPN. "That's like Floyd wanting to fight during Black History Month, and two Hispanic fighters trying to move him out of the way. That's not right. So Bob Arum is absolutely right about that."
In a recent interview with unofficial Mayweather publicist, Ben Thompson of FightHype.com, the Money man of boxing refuted Arum's claim.
"Last time I checked, any holiday is a day that's for everyone," stated Floyd Mayweather Jr. to FightHype.com. "I embrace my Mexican fans, just like I embrace my African-American fans. Just like I embrace my white fans. I love everybody."
While Floyd will often refer to himself as his own boss, figures tell us that the passionate fans of the sport have always been and will always be the genuine "bosses of boxing".
Since signing an unprecedented six fight deal with CBS/Showtime Sports in February of 2013, the only fight to garner hefty returns for the network has been the pairing opposite the biggest Mexican draw in boxing, Canelo Alvarez.
On September 14, 2013, the Mayweather/Canelo super fight generated 2.2 million PPV buys...far exceeding any other Mayweather event since Showtime Sports' involvement. Floyd's three other events with Showtime/CBS, featuring Robert Guerrero and Marcos Maidana, didn't perform nearly as well, and failed to even reach the 1 million purchase point.
But was it the match-up of Canelo/Mayweather that attracted so many viewers to that Mexican Holiday weekend, or was it the fact that Alvarez is the biggest draw currently among Mexican fight fans?
Do the great Hispanic fans of boxing wish to see Floyd Mayweather featured on Cinco de Mayo and Grito de Dolores weekend, two of the most lucrative PPV boxing dates of the entire year, in 2015? Or do they want those dates to be reserved for a Mexican born combatant?
Does national origin supersede the super fight in the minds of most boxing fans?
That question can only be answered by the fans...not Arum, Mayweather, Pacquiao or Canelo.