We are yet again on the brink of a Floyd Mayweather announcement for his next opponent. In the mean time I have come up with some reasons why Mayweather can be considered a positive or negative force in boxing.
1) His drawing power is good for the sport of boxing.
I remember realizing how big of a star Floyd Mayweather was when I called Hooters to ask if they were showing the May 4th Mayweather/Guerreo fight. “Yes” the hostess quickly said, “We are”. The significance of this is in the fact that I had also called and asked about the Martinez/Murray fight, the Bradley/Provodnikov fight, and the Alvarez/Trout fight. The answers were all no, no, and what sport do they play? Bottom line, when Floyd Mayweather fights, the whole world watches. Heck, his fight highlights even get a full 30 seconds on ESPN’s SportsCenter as opposed to 10 for most fights. The drawing power of Mayweather is a great thing for the sport of boxing. I’ve even had a couple of friends become serious boxing fans from watching a single Mayweather “event”. Some watch Mayweather to see him finally lose, others watch him to admire his supreme skills. Moreover whatever the reason maybe, it helps to push boxing a little closer into the mainstream channel.
Simply put, watching Mayweather is entertaining. From his elaborate and (literally) circus like introductions to his 6th sense like reflexes, he is a sight to behold. Also, at this point in his career his fights carry one of the oldest clichés in all of sports; Will tonight be the night the Grand Champion’s reign is ended? This question alone brings in large amounts of viewership, and by all accounts Mayweather is perfectly fine with this. As of matter fact one of his many mottos are “You either watch me to win or watch me to lose, but you’re gonna watch me.”
1) Pioneer of the “0” culture
We are now in a period of boxing that I will refer to as the “O Era.” What it consists of are young up and coming boxers with undefeated records boastfully declaring how they are such elite fighters, many of them largely untested. Mayweather is singlehandedly responsible for this line of thinking in boxing. You don’t have to dig very deep to find a video of him letting you know he is undefeated. “Thurman made it crystal clear the “importance” of being undefeated by saying “As long as you have a “0” on your record, it’s like holding on to a golden goose egg.” This was his response to rejecting an offer from Roc Nation. Also, in addition to fighters coveting undefeated records they are also taking fights which will allow them to do so which leads to a completely different topic of top guys not fighting other top guys. (which I will not go in to.) Mayweather has made it seem as if retiring with an unblemished is the sole ultimate mark of a great fighter, which is absolutely FALSE. Say what you want about boxing fans but we’re easy to please. As long as fighters compete with full effort and full heart they’ll always have fans. Guaranteed.
2) Lack of respect for fans.
Mayweather has always been a man to do things his way, but recently his actions have been a slap in the face for fans of his. Take for instance the “poll” he had on his website where he claimed he would let fans decide his next opponent. Two things. First, Mayweather has NEVER let anyone decide anything for him in his career after his Top Rank days. Second, according to the “official” results Khan edged out Maidana by close to 5,000 votes. So Mayweather being Mayweather chose to fight Maidana, twice. What makes the “poll stunt” so egregious is how not only Mayweather promoted it in all the videos he was doing at the time, but how quickly it was picked up by major sports outlets including ESPN. All of this to ultimately disregard who fans had picked. But what if the poll was never a deciding factor and Mayweather just wanted to….Let me stop here. My brain can’t comprehend all of the possible reasons that Mayweather came up with the poll in the first place. In the end he fought who he wanted to.
In short, Mayweather can be good or bad for the sport of boxing. It just depends on what side you’re standing on.