Everyone has different ways of expressing themselves in today’s society. While some people are extremely upfront and outspoken others are more laid back and to themselves and such is the way of life. In the sport of boxing in particular you will come across a wide array of characters with drastic different personalities, whether it is the fighters themselves, members of their team, or even people from the media.
In my time in the sport of boxing one man I have come across with a boxing mind that stands out for many reasons in aspiring amateur Heavyweight and 411 Mania correspondent Ryan Bates. Bates’ also serves as co-host to 411 Mania’s ‘3 More Rounds’ podcast and recently spent a great deal of his time working for Top Rank under promoter Bob Arum. While at Top Rank Bates’ was given a closer look at how hectic the sport of boxing can be, whether it was assisting fighter’s with their needs or helping coordinate on huge shows in the Las Vegas area.
Throughout it all Bates’ has always carried with him a heavy opinion on all things concerning the sport and he is never one to shy away from voicing his beliefs, as can be found in his weekly ‘Calling a Spade a Spade’ column. If anyone is worthy of praise Bates will gladly acknowledge them but if he feels as though someone needs to be called out he is also quick on the trigger and that’s what has made the Granada Hills native who is today.
I’ve noticed that there has been one man in particular who Bates has brought up time and time again; Floyd Mayweather Jr. While at first being appreciative of the undefeated fighter’s skills in the ring, over time Bates has grown heavily disinterested in the theatrics of the Grand Rapids fighter. It has gotten to the point where Bates’ contributions to the 411 Mania website have almost gotten a cult following with many accusing him of being over biased in a negative way to all things concerning Floyd.
Wanting to fully understand where his brutal outlook on the Las Vegas based Mayweather has come from, I recently picked Bates’ brain to get a full scope of his thoughts. Taking me back to Mayweather’s early days, Bates concedes that he first saw only skill when looking at young Floyd.
“He’s an extremely skilled fighter,” Bates said recently when giving first thoughts on Mayweather years back. “He kind of revolutionized defensive boxing. He really brought back the science of hit and not get hit. I really feel that as he developed more of an attitude that he needed a leg to stand on and I really never found any platform. I even remember watching him and thinking that he was great but not as great as he thinks he is.”
Wanting to get an sense for when exactly the pot boiled over, I asked Bates if there was any moment or instance where his dismay towards Mayweather was at full tilt. Bates revealed while Mayweather was somewhat likeable as a champion in the lower weight classes, he later seemed to strike people’s nerves when he made the move to 147 pounds.
“It was when he could have fought Margarito but he chose not to,” Bates says going back a few years. “Floyd kept saying he was the best over and over and everyone said that Margarito was a champion and asked why he didn’t want to fight him. This was before ‘Wrap gate’ and before any of us knew what was going on between him and his trainer. So we’ll really never know what happened there but in our innocence we felt that he should have fought Margarito if he was the best Welterweight. And he didn’t. He turned that down and took the same exact amount of money to face Carlos Baldomir. Yes, he had a belt but nobody gave a s***. He was not as good as a champion. The best at the time was Antonio Margarito.”
When Manny Pacquiao stopped Miguel Cotto this past November to capture the WBO Welterweight championship of the world the MGM Grand instantly filled up with chants of ‘We want Floyd!’. A Pacquiao-Mayweather matchup become the immediate focus of the sport but despite initial signs that there was a real chance the bout could happen, Bates was adamant as far back as November that the fight wouldn’t’ come off this March.
“Because I figured the negotiations would break down and I figured it would be due to Floyd,” Bates said explaining his reasoning. “And it was. I was actually surprised at how far it got. Manny kept making his acquiescence towards making this fight happen. Floyd wanted to fight at 154, which was ludicrous, so Manny said they could do it at 147 even though Manny probably would have liked a 144 or 143 catchweight. Manny liked the eight ounce gloves and Floyd liked the ten so he let Floyd have his gloves. Manny made the acquiescence about the ring size. Manny made the acquiescence about the 50/50 purse split which is beyond unfair to him. He did everything he could be none of it was good enough for Floyd. Floyd was looking for a way out and he had all of his doors slammed on him so he made up a blatant lie. He had Floyd Sr. make up a blatant lie.”
Strong words from Bates. Whether the Mayweathers did make up a blatant lie or whether they fully believe that Pacquiao is on something is something only they will know. Regardless Bates believes that Pacquiao shouldn’t even be the subject of such accusations given his clean record in previous drug testing situations.
“Pacquiao never showed any evidence of being juiced, ever,” an opinionated Bates claimed. “There are some people who are just that naturally God-given talented. Are we going to say that Kobe Bryant is juiced now or that Tiger Woods is juiced because he is the greatest golfer ever? Some people are just that damn good. Manny Pacquiao is just that damn good. If Mayweather ends up fighting Mosley and demands testing it would seem more reasonable because Mosley has proven that he took substances. Whether or not he did it on purpose or not is up for debate but Pacquiao has never had that linked to him. There is no reason for that to come up.”
During his time within Top Rank Bates’ was a witness to the calculating and shrewd mind of Arum. Bates saw on an up close basis how the world’s leading promoter went about his business and he wasn’t surprised when Arum pushed for Mayweather at first nor was he shocked when the Las Vegas promoter set his sights on Ghana’s Joshua Clottey.
“He probably didn’t expect it to fall apart over something as baseless as this,” Bates says of the Pacquiao-Mayweather fallout. “He probably just slammed his head on his desk saying ‘What the hell?’. Did he really want the fight? Bob is the kind of person who if he wants something will go after it and if he doesn’t get it he will just end up moving on.”
When assessing his own words Bates will be the first to admit there is sometimes a certain bias that shines through but that doesn’t change the conviction he speaks with. No matter what anyone else thinks, positive or negative, Bates’ beliefs towards Floyd Mayweather Jr. are all his own and the way in which he expresses them are what has made him who he is. While full understanding that his dialogue may strike a nerve with some, Bates’ doesn’t shy away.
“I take full responsibility for my words.”
To read about Bates’ time in Top Rank assisting Manny Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto, Kelly Pavlik and others click HERE
To read more about Bates’ involvement in boxing click HERE
To visit 411 Mania’s boxing website please click HERE
Also in the news this week
Top Rank photographer Chris Farina speaks on Las Vegas, Manny Pacquiao, and the world of boxing
Behind the scenes at the Pacquiao-Clottey press conferences
Welterweight Tommy Rainone returns on Madison Square Garden card this weekend
Chris Robinson is based out of Las Vegas, Nevada. He can be reached at [email protected], www.Twitter.com/CRHarmony, and www.Facebook.com/CRHarmony. More of his work can be found HERE