Richard Schaefer was at an open workout to promote the fight between Juan Manuel Marquez and Michael Katsidis on Saturday when someone asked him about Floyd Mayweather Jr., who has a working relationship with Golden Boy Promotions.
That was all the prompting the Golden Boy CEO needed. For months now he has read and heard countless attacks of the idle six-time titleholder and was compelled to defend him, as no one from Mayweather’s inner circle has.
Afraid to fight Manny Pacquiao? Rubbish, he insisted. Avoiding the Filipino icon? Not at all. Selecting his opponents in general too carefully? Nonsense.
“Basically what I’ve been reading and hearing is that Mayweather is afraid of fighting Pacquiao or he would’ve agreed to the fight,” Schaefer said. “They say he must be hiding somewhere. I read it in blogs, I hear it from HBO commentators, a lot of people are saying it.
“We haven’t heard anything from Mayweather’s side, though. I feel we need to sit back and think for a second: What’s going on here.”
First of all, Schaefer said, Mayweather’s No. 1 priority at the moment is to resolve his legal problems. The fighter was charged with felony assault of his ex-girlfriend in September and faces other assault accusations, including one on Monday in which a friend claims Mayweather ran him off the road.
Thus, Schaefer said, he has not been in a position to pursue a fight against Pacquiao or anyone else –- or even discuss it –- the past few months.
“I don’t think Floyd really needs to make a statement on this,” Schaefer said. “People should be smart enough to realize that he’s in the middle of legal proceedings. His focus and energy is on that, clearing his name, not on making a fight. That’s just common sense.
“Anything else would be disrespectful to a judge or the legal system. … He could say, OK, let’s fight Pacquiao in May or whenever and make a deal. How would a judge feel about that? You just don’t do that.”
That doesn’t mean Mayweather doesn’t want the fight, Schaefer said.
The promoter said he constantly reads that Mayweather is afraid to fight Pacquiao for fear of losing for the first time and dismisses it as ridiculous.
“These comments that he wants to protect his ‘0’ are silly,” Schaefer said. “He fought De La Hoya when he was still in his prime. He fought Shane Mosley when everyone thought it would be a hard fight. He fought (Juan Manuel) Marquez.
“And, no, he hasn’t just fought small guys. De La Hoya and Mosley were both bigger than he was. The fact is he hasn’t ducked anyone.”
And then there’s the money to be made if Mayweather fights Pacquiao, perhaps as much as $40 million each –- or more.
Mayweather’s critics would say that money was the only reason he agreed to fight De La Hoya. If that’s the case, Schaefer would say, then it follows that he would fight Pacquiao for the same reason even if it meant risking his perfect record.
“No matter how rich you are, who couldn’t use that kind of money?” Schaefer said. “I believe that Floyd truly loves the sport, he loves to fight. He’s also a businessman, though. If you add these things up, why wouldn’t he want to fight Pacquiao? It just has to be the right deal at the right time.
“… And there’s nothing wrong with wanting the right deal. Mayweather has never ducked anyone. What he might’ve done is make decisions that have allowed him to maximize his earning power. I applaud him for that.”
Some have criticized Pacquiao for maximizing his earning power by fighting the likes of Joshua Clottey and Antonio Margarito. Schaefer defended Mayweather’s rival, too.
“It’s the same with Pacquiao,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with it. These guys have worked hard to get to where they are. Pacquiao wasn’t born being where he is. He now commands a million-plus pay-per-view buys every time he fights. The same with Mayweather.
“They worked hard to get here. Who would criticize them for trying to maximize their earning power? Certainly not me.”
So what about that big fight?
“I can assure you,” he said, “that when the time is right, he'll fight Pacquiao and beat Pacquiao.”