Quick Jabs: The Floyd Mayweather Vs. Robert Guerrero Numbers; When Trash Talk Gets Inappropriate; More

A boxer boxer. (h/t unofficial TQBR visual consultant Che)

We'll have some Weekend Afterthoughts soon enough for the fights that went down this weekend, but there's still a lot left to talk about with the prior weekend — the pay-per-view buys for Floyd Mayweather-Robert Guerrero, the appropriateness of Ruben Guerrero's trash talk as evaluated by a noted trash talker, what's next for Lil Floyd, and a couple other related things that have transpired mostly over the course of the past week. We also have some non-Mayweather related items, like Deontay Wilder's arrest and Al Haymon's latest signee and the de rigueur steroid update.

Quick Jabs

There were some early reports immediately after the weekend ended that Mayweather-Guerrero pay-per-view buys would come in well below 1 million. They struck me as premature — how much data could even be in so quickly from which to extrapolate? Since, Golden Boy's Richard Schaefer and Showtime's Stephen Espinoza have predicted that the PPV buy rate would be more than 1 million. My personal prediction was that it would do more than 1 million, maybe as much as 1.1 or 1.2 million, but not more than Mayweather-Victor Ortiz's 1.25 million. Now, 1 million even falls well short of anything Mayweather has done since his 2009 return (and approximately 10 percent less than Mayweather-Juan Manuel Marquez's 1.1 million is a meaningful reduction in this game — think of how many fighters would even do 100,000 PPV buys at all, then do the math on $60 or $70 times 100,000.). And 1.5 million, Espinoza's stated goal, was unrealistic, considering that it took a big name with a huge fan base in Miguel Cotto to reach that number in Mayweather's last fight, although I guess it doesn't hurt to aim high. And it might not even be the break-even point given Mayweather's guaranteed minimum; that number is murkier. But it's a good deal higher than the disaster reported at first, and a lot of people jumped the gun in predicting and explaining that disaster. Those maintaining that it won't be more than a million haven't cited any real evidence, so by now you basically have to just say "I don't trust Golden Boy on anything" or "I don't trust Mayweather, a serial exaggerator" or "I don't trust Showtime" or "I don't trust any PPV buy rate proclamations" to be standing on any kind of leg — yet it's a shaky leg, argument ad hominem being its foundation.

So what DOES the number say? We still don't have the final figure, so this is all predicated on it coming in at 1 million or more but below Mayweather-Ortiz. Schaefer's point that the Hispanic market didn't buy in is probably both true and unsurprising. Guerrero has never moved that audience to my knowledge, not even as much as Ortiz. Abner Mares-Daniel Ponce De Leon on the undercard suffered from a similar affliction — as much as hardcore fans love Mares, he has not proven any kind of draw anywhere, mysteriously. That Saul Alvarez was on past Mayweather undercards DID move that crowd, I'm sure, because he is the kind of guy who could sell a couple hundred thousand PPV units on his own, even if there's some overlap with the Mayweather/general boxing fan crowds. Guerrero posed other problems: He has been around for a long time and has been featured a ton of times on both Showtime and HBO, and he has a Northern California following, but rarely has he translated to big ratings, and Ortiz, actually, had. Espinoza's point that Guerrero's gun arrest hurt is also probably true, since it was more bad publicity than good and threw a wrench in the white hat/black hat storyline the promotion was selling, and made Guerrero clam up on the interview front. I also suspect there is some Mayweather saturation, exacerbated by the raw amount of often-repetitive documentary/marketing material, as if we weren't aware by now that Mayweather's story involves him making a ton of money. Espinoza can say the total number of eyeballs on it all accumulated into something substantive, but it should be concerning that All Access did fewer numbers with each episode. Everybody understands All Access and HBO's 24/7 are more marketing than documentary, but at minimum they have to act like they're presenting an honest picture, and the picture this series presented was the exact picture Mayweather wanted, even excluding Ruben Guerrero's attacks on Mayweather's domestic violence incident at the final press conference. People can deal with a little selling; they can't enjoy hagiography unless they're diehard Mayweather fans, which illustrates the shortcomings of a world without unbiased media filters, because unbiased media filters put forward a believable picture and storyline. And the late start to the promotion didn't help, either, because while one press conference doesn't a PPV blockbuster make, every bit of publicity helps. Even without the Hispanic market, even with no expectation of a competitive fight, even with a rough promotion in some ways, Mayweather's baseline is apparently 1 million no matter what. If Showtime and Golden Boy are happy with this, and Espinoza has said that even if they don't break even it helps them in other ways, I can see why they would be. But it's not a raging success, to say the least…

The encouraging element of all this is that it might pressure Mayweather into taking a more competitive fight against a popular Mexican fighter who presents more of a threat than Guerrero did: Canelo Alvarez, a strong junior middleweight in a division where the welterweight Mayweather isn't at his best. Talks have already begun, although we've been down the road of Mayweather having "talks" before only for it to prove fruitless. Some have suggested Alvarez should come down to welterweight for the fight, but that's insane — that kid was a welterweight years ago, but struggled to make the weight then, and has gotten older and bigger and might even be a full-blown middleweight before long. At best, a couple pounds worth of catchweight is something Alvarez could even theoretically do, but hopefully Mayweather won't make him try. Mayweather beats Canelo right now, no matter if it's at 154, and any attempt to disadvantage Canelo severely will rob the fight of some of what makes it marketable. There are some big egos here and one hopes they won't get in the way of making a fight that enriches all parties and that the fans want. Espinoza says Showtime does have some contractual sway over Mayweather's opponent choice, and I hope that's the truth…

If you didn't read all of the Yahoo two-parter with Mayweather baby mama Josie Harris, go catch up on all of it now. We hadn't heard her tell her version of the story about what happened in their domestic violence encounter, and the details are sad and ugly in part 1 (she alleged that they've been intimate since the incident) and just plain informative and juicy in part 2 (Mayweather eats six steaks and more post-weigh-in, has a seating chart to keep apart his ladyfriends)…

UFC boss Dana White thinks Showtime is now officially kicking HBO's ass, and he's not the only fan to be taking sides in this network war. Showtime has made big in-roads, no one can doubt that. But HBO still has the bigger overall numbers and has had the more enjoyable fights, on the whole. That "enjoyable fights" thing is slowly changing, with the HBO Sergio Martinez-Martin Murray card nearly a standstill with the Danny Garcia-Zab Judah card, and Mares-De Leon and J'Leon Love-Gabriel Rosado on the Mayweather-Guerrero undercard, and this weekend's upcoming Lamont Peterson-Lucas Matthysse battle expected to produce fireworks. I remain on the fence, unlike Dana…

Speaking of Matthysse, the junior welterweight puncher is now in manager/adviser Al Haymon's stable. I have no idea at ALL whether this means we're more or less likely to get Matthysse against Haymon product Garcia should Matthysse beat Peterson. Haymon has so damn many Golden Boy fighters these days and Golden Boy is doing a ton of in-house fights to a degree that it would be impossible for Haymon to keep up his unofficial years-long "can't match Haymont fighters against each other" edict, and we already saw Haymon middleweights Peter Quillin and Fernando Guerrero go up against each other. If Garcia isn't going to fight Matthysse or Peterson, he'd be in line for Mayweather before long, and Mayweather is Haymon's biggest client. But would I put it past Haymon to intend to keep Matthysse and Garcia separate? Nope…

When news surfaced that Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios would do drug testing for their welterweight clash with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, there were many reasons to be skeptical. Pacquiao's team was famously skeptical of USADA during the Mayweather negotiations; Top Rank's Bob Arum has talked about his fighters using the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association; Rios' shady strength and conditioning coach, Memo Heredia, prefers USADA; plus at least a week or maybe much more will be spent in China where USADA doesn't have jurisdiction, as opposed to some other kind of World Anti-Doping Agency affiliate. Naturally, then, we got word that VADA will indeed do testing. The takeaway either way would've been, for me, great that they're doing some kind of advanced testing. It's just that the initial USADA report made no sense…

It turns out it wasn't only Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach's preference for Rios that got Rios the Pacquiao fight over the man who just beat Rios, Mike Alvarado. According to Arum, Alvarado has an injured paw, and isn't rehabbing it appropriately. Can you imagine missing out on millions and millions of dollars because you weren't doing a basic thing you needed to do for your own health anyway? If Arum's claim is true, Alvarado ought to be smacking himself in the head (with his uninjured paw, anyway)…

Frequently racist trash talking boxing dad Angel Garcia thinks Ruben Guerrero's trash talking about Mayweather's domestic violence crossed a line, which is one of those great "Are you fucking kidding me?" moments. The reasoning was that Guerrero was talking about something personal regarding Mayweather, not related to his ring career. But but but it kind of was! The trash talking was saying, "You beat up women, Floyd, but now you're facing a man," which is at least as related to the boxing ring as Garcia saying a whole race of people can't box well. Either way, it's a fucked up priority set: Which is more deserving of trash talking, random Pakistanis or woman beaters? Also in the trash talking department, Adrien Broner and Paulie Malignaggi are breaking new ground for their upcoming welterweight clash, what with Broner calling a lady Malignaggi used to date in some fashion during their news conference last week, and Malignaggi saying horrible things about that woman and releasing nude pictures of her. That, too, is awfully personal and definitely not related to anything in the ring, but I suppose I have some grudging admiration for the innovation…

This whole Deontay Wilder domestic violence arrest is peculiar as all get-out. Maybe it'll go away, and Wilder's attorney said he's apologized to the victim and the apology was accepted, but "I thought I was being robbed" doesn't explain why Wilder was (allegedly) hitting or strangling some woman he said he knew (but wasn't banging?) to the point that she had multiple signs of the attack. Wha?…

Roach might soon train Cotto. I thought Cotto was showing his best form with trainer Pedro Diaz, even if Cotto seemed unfocused leading up to his last bout with Austin Trout. I don't see how Roach improves on that with any certainty…

Mike Tyson is going to be a detective in an Adult Swim cartoon. I'm guessing he won't investigate all his past zany crimes! JK, I know Mike has mellowed these days and that was a cheap shot. But, no shit, I'm looking forward to the 'toon. I'm simpatico with most Adult Swim programming, and Tyson's never boring, plus there's a foul-mouthed pigeon who will serve as his sidekick, plus one of the plot lines involves investigating why an "author/werewolf cannot finish a novel," so it's promising…

Because of the murky circumstances of the Sam Soliman drug testing after his win over Felix Sturm and the resulting no contest, I thought the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board made the right decision to move the previously unranked Soliman one spot below Sturm, who had dropped as a result of the loss in the first place. It seems that Soliman might've done SOMETHING wrong from where I sit, but the testing procedures used also strike me as a bit dicey. Also, middleweight James De La Rosa, come on down! You're the latest boxer to test positive for a banned substance. SURELY, though, somebody put it in you against your own will, or you got bad advice, or there was some other way it wasn't your fault. It's never the boxer's fault, is it? I mean, he's just the one ultimately responsible, and there's a whole generation of tested positive/misled by dark mysterious forces robbing these poor boxers of their personal responsibility.

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (http://www.tbrb.org). He lives in Washington, D.C., where he is a staff writer for CQ Roll Call.

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