Opinion

Ringside Seat To Hypocrisy

John Steigerwald Contributor

Manny Pacquaio’s shorts were worth $2.3 million.

That’s how much advertisers paid to have their names on them for his fight with Floyd Mayweather.

By the time you read this, Mayweather may or may not have upped his boxing record to 48-0. It’s the richest fight in history and, for people who are old enough to remember when boxing still mattered, it brings back memories of previous Fights of the Century like Ali-Frazier, Ali-Foreman, Leonard-Duran and Leonard-Hagler.

I’ve covered World Series, Super Bowls, College Football National Championships and Stanley Cup Finals and not one of those events created any more excitement for me than the closed circuit telecasts of those fights.

If you don’t remember closed circuit fights, those were the big fights that were shown on large screens in theaters around the country.

They weren’t available on cable and, even though it was just a screen in a theater, they had the electric feel of a live event.

I stopped caring about boxing a long time ago and paid as little attention to Mayweather-Pacquiao as possible.

What’s more interesting to me than the fight is the hypocrisy surrounding it.

Do you think Mayweather would have a $140 million payday if America had seen a Ray Rice-like video of him slamming a woman with a car door, throwing her into the car and repeatedly punching her?

That’s what Mayweather eventually pled guilty to in October of 2001. It’s one of seven assaults against five women that got him either arrested or cited.

Showtime (owned by CBS) has no second thoughts about selling the millions pay-per-view subscriptions at $89 a pop and the MGM Grand casino is happy to collect the $74 million live gate.

Because of the Ray Rice video that surfaced late last summer, domestic violence has been discussed almost as much as anything that has happened on a field, court or rink in the last several months.

I’m not sure if anybody really knows what or where boxing’s governing body is, but it’s obvious that whoever is in charge was never going to do the boxing equivalent of what the NFL did to Rice and punish Mayweather with a suspension.

Did I mention that advertisers are paying $2.3 million to get their names on Manny Pacquiao’s shorts?

Why Mayweather is on the street and has only spent a few months in prison is another story.

Tickets were going for as much as $140,000.

Some of those seats were bound to be filled with women, many of whom may be celebrities who have taken an opportunity to show how concerned they are, by self-righteously coming out publicly against domestic abuse.

What about the pretty ring girls who will parade around carrying signs in between the rounds?

Would a video of Mayweather’s biggest out-of-the ring hits have made them ashamed to contribute to the show?

Mayweather likes to tell people to back off on the women battering because nobody has produced a video of his abuse.

What about the ESPN female reporters who have been covering the buildup to the fight? How would they have felt about helping to enrich Ray Rice nine months ago?

If you pay $140,000 for a seat, you’re probably not going to have a problem with buying an $88 dollar leather cap with the letters TMT (The Money Team) on it. That’s one of Mayweather’s 16 trademarks. He has 129 more pending.

I seem to remember the people lining up for hours to get full refunds from the Ravens for their Ray Rice jerseys last year.

And that was because of one punch.

Mayweather’s reputation for not having a lot of patience with his women didn’t scare Nicole Craig. She’s in charge of marketing his merchandise, including the white T-shirt with “Future Mrs. Mayweather” scripted in pink on the front for only $20.95.

I looked but couldn’t find any pink protective head gear.

Pittsburgh ex-TV sportscaster, columnist and talk show host John Steigerwald is the author of the Pittsburgh sports memoir, “Just Watch The Game.” Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast at pittsburghpodcastnetwork.com