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Breaking Down America’s 50 Highest-Earning Athletes

Sports Illustrated has released its seventh annual “Fortunate 50″ list, which gives us a sense of the type of money American athletes made last year based on salary, winnings, endorsements and appearance fees.  Despite the epic downfall of his image, Tiger Woods remained at the top of the list with nearly $30 million to spare.  Phil Mickelson held strong at No. 2 on the list and can probably thank Tiger’s demise for any extra cash that may have been thrown his way over the past year.   Here are a few aspects of the list that stuck out to me:

Floyd Mayweather Jr.: Want an idea of how much money can be made in boxing?  Mayweather, who may or may not be ducking Manny Pacquiao, checked in at No. 3 on the list after not being ranked in 2009.  While most of the top athletes on the list rake in a ton in endorsements, Mayweather made only $250,000 in endorsement deals and the rest — $60 million — in salary and winnings.  A bout with Shane Mosley alone earned him $40 million.

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Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Shane Mosley Begin USADA Olympic-Style Drug Testing

One of the criticisms of Floyd Mayweather Jr. was that he was holding up the fight with Manny Pacquiao because of outrageous demands that both fighters submit to random drug testing including blood tests. Critics say Mayweather was making these demands because he was afraid to fight Pacquiao. While I believe Mayweather took these steps because he knows how dangerous of a fighter Manny is, Floyd has displayed consistency in his new views on drug testing. Pretty Boy made Sugar Shane Mosley agree to random, Olympics-style drug testing prior to their fight, and they will begin that testing on Monday, March 22nd.

“I am excited that Shane Mosley and I are willing to take these tests to ensure a fair fight on May 1,” said Mayweather. “I just want to show the world that boxing is a clean sport and it is my hope that all fighters will take a similar stance and responsibility which reflects sportsmanship at the highest level and sets a new standard for safety in boxing.”

“I think the testing program is a great idea and I did not hesitate for a minute about agreeing to it,” said Mosley. “Let’s hope that the rest of the boxing world follows Floyd’s and my example.”

It’s a great sign that the two fighters have agreed to the random testing to come as close as possible to ensuring a level playing field, PED-wise. I really do hope that all boxing commissions in the U.S. and all sanctioning bodies around the world follow the precedent set by Mayweather and Mosley. As I’ve said all along, if Manny Pacquiao doesn’t have anything to hide then he shouldn’t have a problem with random blood testing. What might he be hiding that urine tests might not detect, you ask? Check out this list from USADA via FanHouse: Human Growth Hormone (HGH), Homologus Blood Tranfusion (HBT), Synthetic Hemoglobin (HBOC) and the passport program. That’s what Pacquiao could be hiding, amongst others. Why not submit to this program to prove he’s clean? That’s all he has to do, and with the health risks and physically demanding nature of the sport, why not level the playing field for all fighters as best as we can?

Sources:
USADA’s Travis Tygart Says ‘Test Blood’; Richard Schaefer, ‘Zero Tolerance’ [FanHouse]

Manny Pacquiao Plans to Sue one Steroids Accuser but Fight Another

In one of the greatest paradoxes I’ve seen in sports, Manny Pacquiao and his camp are making making themselves look even worse for their recent decisions. The madness began a few days ago when the agreement between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao to fight on March 13th began to fall through. Pacquiao began backing out of the fight because he didn’t want to submit to olympic-style drug testing. Manny’s promoter, Bob Arum, then went on a verbal assault trying to come up with every possible angle to spin the reason for why Pacquiao is backing out. Pacman is even going on the offensive now, saying he’s going to sue for defamation over the allegations. In the meantime (and this is my favorite part of the story), Arum says he’s in the process of arranging a fight with Paulie Malignaggi for the same March 13th date. This is the same Paulie Malignaggi who ALSO accused Pacquiao of using PEDs:

The level we have of testing in boxing is not really that deep. I mean, we have urine tests on the day of the fight and we don’t have much else…there’s things that don’t come up in drug tests. There’s ways to beat drug tests.

Manny Pacquiao is the first guy in history, and he might be the special thing that everybody says he is, he might be, the first guy in history to go up in weight and knock out more people as he goes up in weight than he did when he was smaller. He might be that special person. Me, I think that looks a little fishy. I think that’s a little bit fishy.

So let me get this straight, it’s fine to accuse Manny Pacquiao of using steroids or performance-enhancers so long as you don’t demand he submits to strict drug testing? Good, just wanted to make sure I had that straight. This should put an end to the debates about Pacquiao and Arum’s motive. Manny complaining that having his blood drawn will sap him of his power is like one of those people who claim they can levitate so long as nobody is watching. Uh huh. The onus is on Pacquiao here and he should submit to Olympic-style testing if he has nothing to hide. End of story.

If Manny Pacquiao Weren’t Guilty, He Wouldn’t Have Anything to Hide

Maybe things happened too quickly creating a “too good to be true” scenario in boxing. After all, organizing a fight and getting two high-profile individuals to agree to contract terms is one of the most complex processes in sports. Despite all that, Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. supposedly had agreed to fight mid March in Las Vegas until a matter of drug testing came in the way.

Floyd’s father accused Pacquiao of using steroids and/or supplements in an interview a few months ago and it looks like he was right on. Mayweather’s camp wants both fighters to submit to Olympic-style WADA drug testing prior to the fight, which is more stringent than drug testing outlined by the Nevada Gaming Commission. Pacquiao only wants to submit to drug testing prior to the media kickoff tour of the fight and after the fight. It does not take a genius to figure out that the lapse between tests is plenty of time to do a cycle of drugs.

The excuses coming from Pacquiao’s side are pathetic. Trainer Freddie Roach says the request proves Mayweather is scared. Promoter Bob Arum says Floyd is just harassing Pacquiao because he knows Manny feels weakened by giving blood. There’s no doubt that Floyd recognizes the talent of Pacquiao and that he’s in danger of losing. Even with that being the case, there’s nothing wrong with requesting stringent drug testing for the fight. The retort by Arum is pathetic and offbase. It’s clear he’s just trying to spin the issue but he doesn’t have much ammunition in this argument. The undeniable bottom line is that Pacquiao would not have anything to hide if he weren’t doing anything wrong. What’s so hard about Manny agreeing to random drug tests during his training? There shouldn’t be anything wrong with it as far as I can tell. Maybe there’s a lot more to Pacquiao’s story that helps explain his late career surge.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. Wins/Loses Millions Gambling on NFL Games

Floyd Mayweather Jr. used to be nicknamed “Pretty Boy,” but I think that alias has changed to “Money” Mayweather, for good reason. The guy has bragged about being a billionaire athlete, making $20 million in his wrestling debut, and he’s made it rain with hundred dollar bills in Las Vegas. When he announced his retirement, Floyd was confident his financial future was secure. About a year later, Floyd announced he was returning to the ring where he beat Juan Manuel Marquez, and how he’s setting up a fight with Manny Pacquiao. Why the return? Possibly because he lost money due to the recession and possibly to remind critics who the best fighter in the world is. Regardless of the reason, money doesn’t seem to be an issue for Floyd as he outlined on Joe Buck’s HBO show:

Mayweather admitted to losing “big” this past weekend while betting on NFL games. he went into detail about how he lost the money, and he also revealed a little bit about winnings he has made in the past.

“Two weeks ago I won like a million (dollars),” said Mayweather to Buck, “that was across a week of games, Monday night, Sunday, and Thursday. I didn’t lose a million (this week), but I lost a couple hundred thousand.”

After that stunning admission, Mayweather went on to tell Buck and his audience which teams cost him money this past week. His main losses this past week came on the Patriots, Saints, and then on Sunday night, the Vikings.

Dude, how could he go with the Saints against the Redskins knowing New Orleans was coming off an emotional high from the Monday Night Football massacre of New England? Betting on games every day is not a good habit — believe me, I’ve been there. The good news for him is that football season should be over by the time he starts training for his fight with Pacquiao so he won’t have too many distractions. At least we can thank him for almost single-handedly keeping Vegas sportsbooks in business. Nice job, Floyd.

Floyd Mayweather Jr: I have Nothing to Gain by Fighting Manny Pacquiao

After seeing Manny Pacquiao dismantle Miguel Cotto on Saturday night, I said that a Pacquiao/Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight has to happen for the sake of boxing’s integrity. There’s only one fight left that makes sense for each fighter. One fight, and one fight only, and it’s between them. Unfortunately Pacquiao expressed no immediate interest in fighting Floyd, and Floyd has gone on record saying he doesn’t want to do business with Bob Arum (Manny’s promoter). Making matters worse is that Floyd told Sky News he feels like he has nothing to gain by fighting Pacquiao:

Floyd says that everyone wants to see him lose while Manny’s already lost three times therefore there’s no upside for him. While there’s no erasing Pacquiao’s three losses and Floyd’s undefeated record, there is a question as to who is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world and who the top welterweight is. Right now Pacman is on top of his game and considered to be every bit as good as Floyd. Because of that reason, Mayweather stands plenty to gain by fighting (and beating) Manny. The term “undisputed” champion is often used in boxing. Right now there’s a dispute that can only be settled in the ring. Floyd should recognize that and make this fight happen to boost his legacy. After that, beating Sugar Shane Mosley would just be icing on the cake of an unblemished career.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. Pwns David Lloyd in Interview, Gets Owned by Brian Kenny

It seems like wherever Floyd Mayweather Jr. is going and whatever he’s doing the guy is always putting on a show. The man who claims he’s back to “steal more money” because he can, because he’s “Money Mayweather,” is coming back to the ring from retirement to fight Juan Manuel Marquez on July 18th. He was doing an interview tour this week to promote the fight and wound up doing most of the interviewing. These two separate interviews are utterly classic. In the first one on ESPNews, Mayweather catches an unprepared David Lloyd with his pants down and exposes him as a guy who doesn’t know boxing but is just following what the rest of the world says. Make sure you watch at the 1:20 mark to see some serious embarrassment:

Dude, like who doesn’t know that Manny Pacquiao has lost three times?? That’s embarrassing. How could he even proceed after that? Now if you’re ready for a role-reversal, Brian Kenny owns Mayweather on SportsCenter in this interview:

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