- Thomas Hauser
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As most of the sports world knows by now, Floyd Mayweather will battle "The Big Show" Paul Wight in the featured event on WWE's March 30 WrestleMania XXIV card in Orlando.
"It's entertainment," Mayweather told the media at the Feb. 25 kick-off news conference in Los Angeles. "You have a chance to just be you and do what you want to do."
Mayweather was also pleased to report that "Wrestling takes care of business right on the spot. There's no waiting three, four, five months. Quick results, quick money; big money, too."
Few people believe that Mayweather will actually receive the $20 million figure that has been bandied about, but he will be well compensated.
As for the tale of the tape, Mayweather is 5-foot-8, 150 pounds. Big Show, at least in theory, is seven feet tall and weighs 430 pounds. Here it should be noted that, five years ago, he was listed by the WWE as being 7-foot-2 and weighing 500 pounds.
Obviously, professional wrestling has taken a heavy toll on Mr. Show.
In 1976, Chuck Wepner was thrown from the ring by Andre The Giant in a similar boxer-wrestler confrontation.
Wepner knows a bit about entertainment. His 1975 match-up against Muhammad Ali served as the basis for Sylvester Stallone's Rocky. What does Wepner think of WrestleMania XXIV?
"If it was on the level, Big Show would squash him," Wepner opines. "In fact, that's what should happen. Floyd is a great fighter but as a person, I don't think much of him. Big Show should pick him up, body slam him, fall on him and squash him like a bug."
Not likely. Nor should we expect to see Al Haymon, Mayweather's publicity-shy adviser, in the ring before the fight, wearing a sequined leisure suit and trash-talking to incite the crowd.
So how will it be scripted?
"Very carefully," says promoter Cedric Kushner. "Otherwise, Big Show might fall on Floyd by accident and his September fight against Oscar De La Hoya will be off."
"Whatever it is, it won't be subtle," adds writer Jerry Izenberg.
Myriad other theories abound. One fair maiden in the boxing community suggests that the roundcard girls could stomp Mayweather unconscious with stiletto-heeled boots.
An attorney with experience in the industry predicts, "There won't be a fight. The WBC will go to court and get an injunction against it because Big Show is wrestling against a WBC champion but neither guy will pay a WBC sanctioning fee."
Another observer suggests, "Let Joe Cortez referee it and Floyd won't have any problems."
The most ambitious scenario comes from Sam Simon (co-creator of The Simpsons and the man who guided Lamon Brewster to the WBO heavyweight crown).
Simon's script is as follows: "Big Show enters with his trainer, Floyd Mayweather Sr. Then Floyd Jr. comes out and the crowd gasps. Thanks to WWE steroids and human growth hormone, he, too, is now seven feet tall and 430 pounds.
"In the early going, Floyd looks good thanks to his previous experience in another choreographed embarrassment, 'Dancing with the Stars.' Then a melee erupts. Mike Tyson and Lawrence Taylor storm the ring followed by Pete Rose, the ghost of Joe Louis and several of Michael Vick's dogs. Order is restored and Floyd is declared the winner. But another fight breaks out between Floyd and Vince McMahon when Floyd gets his paycheck and sees that it's nowhere near $20 million. Floyd then announces his retirement; apologizes for his materialism and gangster image and sings a version of John Lennon's 'Imagine' so beautiful that it makes everyone cry. For the first time in history, the audience for a Floyd Mayweather pay-per-view event feels that it got its money's worth."
Other scenarios come from:
Showtime boxing commentator Steve Albert: "I think that Floyd will draw from the legendary Killer Kowalski and go to the claw hold. You can't go wrong by using the claw hold. When I was a kid and wrestled with my brothers, it worked every time. That is, it worked until my brother Al punched me in the nose and I stopped doing it."
Junior welterweight titlist Paulie Malignaggi: "First, you have to have Roger Mayweather working Floyd's corner. Then you do some unexpected things like have Big Show box and Floyd wrestle. At the end, Roger can come into the ring and try to hit Big Show in the head with a chair, but miss and knock Floyd unconscious."
"Contender" producer Jeff Wald: "Floyd kicks him [below the belt] in the first five seconds and everyone goes home."
HBO commentator Larry Merchant: "Big Show should throw Mayweather into the upper deck like he was shot out of a circus cannon because this is nothing but a glorified circus. Or maybe he can do to him what Muhammad Ali pledged to do to Sonny Liston, and turn Floyd into a human satellite."
Promoter Don Elbaum: "Who gives a [damn]. I am so not into this. It means nothing to me. It turns me off completely. As far as I'm concerned, Floyd deserves the last three figures of the $20,000,000."
HBO's unofficial ringside judge Harold Lederman: "Big Show should lie down on his rear end on the ring canvas and kick at Floyd's legs for 45 minutes the way Antonio Inoki did with Muhammad Ali."
Former top-10 heavyweight boxer Lou Savarese: "All I know is, Mayweather has to get body-slammed at least once. And at some point in the fight, Floyd should scoot between Big Show's legs."
HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg: "Floyd throws a wad of bills in Big Show's face and the fight is stopped on a paper cut."
Dr. Margaret Goodman: "Big Show can one-up Floyd's appearance on 'Dancing with the Stars' by doing the tango on his way to the ring."
And then there are the thoughts of one of boxing's greatest champions, the legendary Larry Holmes.
"Big Show is serious about this," Holmes says. "There isn't any script. I'm worried for Floyd. Big Show is going to pick him up and throw him around like a rag doll. He might break Floyd's neck. You know me; if something is fake, I tell it. But this is for real."
Thomas Hauser is the lead writer for Secondsout.com. His most recent collection of boxing columns -- "The Greatest Sport of All" -- has been published by the University of Arkansas Press. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1mEthan Sherwood Strauss