Jim Lampley defends scathing criticism of Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s “retirement from boxing can not come a moment too soon,” said HBO’s Jim Lampley during Tuesday night’s closing comments criticizing THE RING’s No. 1-ranked pound-for-pound fighter on his 30-minute show, “The Fight Game.”
Calling Mayweather “an often aggressively distasteful human being whose behaviors are a blight on the boxing landscape,” Lampley ripped the undefeated fighter for comments he made about Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, who was dismissed from the team and suspended indefinitely by the NFL after a disturbing video taken inside of an Atlantic City hotel elevator showed him knocking out his then-fiance├® and now wife, Janay.
Although Mayweather later apologized for his statements, which were made during the lead-up to Saturday’s unanimous decision victory over Marcos Maidana, Lampley characterized the retraction as “garbled,” adding that it “did little to remove the stench.”
The following is Lampley’s statement in its entirety:
“Floyd Mayweather long ago made clear that he isn’t trying to please the entire available audience, and through the concentrated money harvest of pay-per-view distribution, he has convincingly established that he can do it his way, generate a kind of appeal not all of us will ever understand, and attract an income that out-distances those of polite golfers and friendly, smiling auto racers. Some would say, ‘more power to him.’
“But if the goal is to push the limits of public taste to the point where the overwhelming preponderance of consumers simply wash their hands and want nothing to do with him or his fights, his blithe comment to the effect that the NFL was over-reacting to a videotape by suspending Ray Rice was probably a pretty good start. And his garbled apology did little to remove the stench.
“This was the absolute height of heaving a rock out of a glass house. And if he honestly thinks that he can offer that kind of love to Rice without offending significant numbers of fans and observers, he’s wrong. The fact is, unbeaten record or not, consummate skill, notwithstanding, Floyd Mayweather is an often aggressively distasteful human being whose behaviors are a blight on the boxing landscape.
“He also said, last week, he will retire from the ring after the completion of his six-fight CBS/Showtime contract. And, in responding to the result of his most recent win, earlier in the show, we ignored that, because it won’t happen. But if it did, no damage would accrue to boxing. Fact is, for the betterment of boxing’s image, Floyd Mayweather’s retirement can not come a moment too soon.”
Lampley defended his assertions during a Wednesday morning interview with RingTV.com.
“I just feel that it’s no longer necessary, or shouldn’t be necessary and probably never was necessary to tiptoe around this, and pretend that we’re going to bring down the whole facade if somebody openly criticizes the guy who is seen as the No. 1 fighter. The show says it all. He’s the No. 1 fighter, and we’ve acknowledged that,” said Lampley.
“But what he does out of the ring is not helpful to the image of the sport, and, to a certain degree, what he does in the ring is not helpful to the image of the sport. I don’t think that the whole building is going to fall down if somebody pulls out a brick. So I pulled out a brick, and other people can do the same. As reporters who love the sport, we ought to stick up for it.”
Neither Mayweather, nor Mayweather Promotions CEO, Leonard Ellerbe, could be reached for an immediate comment on Lampley’s statements.
Mayweather has completed four bouts in his exclusive six-fight deal with Showtime and its parent company, CBS Corporation. Through an e-mail from Chris DeBlasio, vice president, sports communications for Showtime, the network’s sports and boxing executive, Stephen Espinoza, declined comment.
Mayweather spent two months in jail in 2012 for a domestic battery charge against his former girlfriend and has been accused of domestic violence on several other occasions. Lampley also was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence against his girlfriend in 2007 but the charges were ultimately dropped.