Floyd Mayweather, the highest paid prize fighter in history, charges that “racism still exists in the sport of boxing” in a new interview.
A Ring magazine pound-for-pound rankings that does not list an African-American fighter until fourth on the list served as the catalyst for Mayweather’s critcism.
“I can’t believe they [Ring magazine] got Andre Ward ranked number 4 in the pound-for-pound list,” the retired boxer tells FightHype.com. “Even though the guy that’s ranked number 1 pound-for-pound right now [Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez], you know, you can’t argue about that, but without Andre Ward losing a fight, he has to be number 2. I mean, he wins his fights not in good fashion, but in great fashion, and they have him at number 4?”
Super middleweight Ward boasts a single fight, to an unheralded 35-6 British boxer, in the last two years. Like the top six fighters on Ring‘s pound-for-pound list, Ward remains innocent of defeat. But the three men who place higher on Ring‘s list show more activity. Flyweight Chocolatito fought seven times, light heavyweight Sergey Kovalev fought six times, and middleweight Gennady Golovkin also fought six times in the period in which Ward competed just once.
“They got some guy ranked number 9, I don’t really know his full name, so I don’t want to be disrespectful,” Mayweather notes. “But they got a Japanese guy [Shinsuke Yamanaka] ranked number 9. They got Andre Ward number 4, and this guy that’s ranked number 9, we don’t even know who he is. I truly believe that racism still exists in the sport of boxing.”
Mayweather points to a double standard in the media reaction to boxers. “You gotta really look at things like this: when Bernard Hopkins was a middleweight trying to fight Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosley, and Felix Trinidad,” the 49-0 fighter maintains, “they [the media] said he was calling out smaller guys. When the guy Triple G does it, they don’t say s—. Once again, I’m not racist. I’m just saying racism still exists.”
Triple G called out Mayweather for a fight last year. Mayweather, who fought toward the end of his career at 147 and occasionally below the 154-pound junior middleweight limit, balked at moving up to 160, as Oscar De La Hoya, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Felix Trinidad did, to take on the middleweight titlist.
Mayweather names names in his criticism of the boxing press. He calls HBO boxing play-by-play man Jim Lampley “a guy that don’t know a right hook from a left hook” and says of Max Kellerman, another boxing commentator on the pay network, “because y’all watched a bunch of VHS tapes and DVD tapes, that don’t mean y’all know about boxing.”
Mayweather uses the two most famous figures in mixed-martial arts to illustrate his point about racism in the fight game.
“After Ronda Rousey fought I think 9, 10, 11 fights, it didn’t even take that long, she got all types of endorsements, movies, and everything,” he notes. “Laila Ali did the same thing in better fashion. Ronda Rousey, she’s a good looking woman when she put it on. Laila Ali is a drop-dead gorgeous woman; I mean a naturally beautiful woman and can kick ass, but you never heard them [the media] saying when she had, I think, somewhere around 10, 11, 12 fights that she was the baddest woman to ever fight on the planet.”
Rousey targeted Mayweather for more than a year with insults stemming from the boxer responding to a question about the former UFC 135-pound woman’s champion by answering, “Who’s he?” He similarly pleads ignorance about Conor McGregor, the UFC featherweight champion who fights at about the same weight as Mayweather did as a boxer.
“They say [Conor McGregor] talk a lot of trash and people praise him for it,” Mayweather maintains. “But when I did it, they say I’m cocky and arrogant. So biased! Like I said before, all I’m saying is this: I ain’t racist at all, but I’m telling you racism still exists.”