Michelle Beadle and Rachel Nichols weren’t the only media members who had their access yanked around at the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight. A longtime boxing writer believes he had his arena credential revoked for the May 2 event because of his coverage of Mayweather, specifically an interview he did with Nichols.
Thomas Hauser, a writer and member of the Boxing Writers Association of America, applied for a credential to cover the fight for various boxing websites, such as The Sweet Science, and to do work for HBO. Hauser said he received a confirmation email on April 23 telling him that he had been approved for a credential which gave him “access to the arena” and “access to a permanent position on the main floor.”
On the morning of the fight, however, Hauser woke up to an email from Las Vegas-based Magna Media informing him that he wouldn’t be in the arena. Instead, he’d be restricted to watching the bout from the media tent—a demotion, under the color-coded status system for fight media, from a coveted green credential to the less useful black one.
He went down to pick up his credential at a table reserved solely for HBO and found his name on the list, but with no in-arena badge attached. Hauser talked to Ray Stallone, who works in media relations for HBO Sports; Stallone made some calls and confirmed that Hauser’s in-arena credential had been revoked by the promotion company.
(Mayweather’s PR handler Kelly Swanson didn’t reply to a request for comment Tuesday.)
The trouble was not a complete surprise. On Friday, April 24, ESPN had televised an interview that John Barr conducted with Hauser regarding Mayweather’s past physical abuse of women, on an episode of Outside The Lines. The show was rerun in its entirety on Sunday, April 25; excerpts from the interview also aired on SportsCenter. Mayweather’s camp apparently noticed, and on April 30, Hauser said, a “sympathetic” person gave him the heads-up that he had ruffled some feathers.
“During Fight Week, I was told that the Mayweather camp, the Mayweather publicists, were unhappy, and that I should watch what I say,” Hauser said.
Hauser and other writers said they believed the boxers’ camps were monitoring the credentialed media right up to fight time, taking advantage of the fact that many people weren’t sure whether they were supposed to be in the arena or the tent. The uncertainty, Hauser said, had a “chilling effect.”
But Hauser himself was sure he was in the arena. On May 1, the day before the fight, CNN’s Rachel Nichols asked Hauser if he would participate in a segment that also brought up Mayweather’s domestic violence cases. At one point, Hauser said, “Somewhere in the United States tonight, a young man—who thinks that Floyd Mayweather is a role model—will beat up a woman.”
The next day, he learned he was being reassigned to the tent. Stallone told Hauser that would he fight for him to receive his arena credential, but Hauser knew that Stallone had a lot of things on his plate that morning, and simply wanted a ticket—any ticket—for the fight so he could write his stories. HBO was able to get Hauser into the arena with a regular ticket, not in the press area.
“My credential was pulled by the promotion and if it wasn’t for Ray Stallone and HBO, I would not have been in the arena on fight night, after having it confirmed to me, in writing, on multiple occasions, that I would be in the arena on fight night,” Hauser said.
Photo: Isaac Brekken/AP
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