[Trying to] Appreciate Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Posted: May 7, 2012 in Bunker

He’s brash, racist, obnoxious, loathsome, but he’s carrying a dying sport on his back. There’s something to be said for that. When Tiger burst on the scene with his precocious game, the racial background and the excellence that only made him an overnight sensation, but made golf worth watching for the casual fan. Floyd Mayweather is no different, however unlike Tiger he embodies all that most people loathe about athletes and will never be regarded with the appreciation he deserves [as a boxer].

Mayweather flashes his money like a rapper. He doesn’t show off with credit cards, he shows off cash and gambling receipts. He lives in Sin City, seemingly where he belongs. He makes it obvious that he boxes for money, he often emphasizes the fact that he is a prize fighter. He doesn’t do it for “the love of the game”. He’s the epitome of materialism. Mayweather is anything but phony, he’s possibly all too real. He never backs down, he never wavers, he has no problem claiming he’s better than you and believes it too. He refuses to apologize for his offensive comments or his actions and takes sick pleasure in being villain. He also has no qualms about poking fun at your culture. Mayweather never seems be willing to play the victim either. Why? He makes more money being reviled than he ever could as a good guy. Truthfully if we are to believe he is as genuine as he claims, Mayweather isn’t a good guy. But that’s why he sells. We don’t like him. 2.5 million households don’t purchase his pay-per-view mega-fight with Oscar De La Hoya without at least 70% of those households hoping that De la Hoya destroys Mayweather. Manny Pacquiao doesn’t become America’s favorite boxer if Mayweather doesn’t continue to prove himself to be a man of questionable moral character. And most importantly to Mayweather, he doesn’t make $32 million in a glorified tune-up fight with Miguel Cotto.

[Not to mention he is the backbone of HBO’s series 24/7. Another notch in the belt of boxing’s self-proclaimed “Cash Cow”]

He inspires the vitriol that Jack Johnson once commanded;he has the charisma and commands the room much like Muhammad Ali and he attracts the interest of popular culture and dominates his sport like Tiger Woods in his prime. Unlike Ali and Tiger, Mayweather may not be as appreciated until after his career is over. What’s more impressive about Mayweather is that his appeal will subside as soon as he takes his first loss, but even with that pressure, he continues to deliver dominating performances against all of the best fighters of his era. His legacy is on the line with every fight. One loss drops him from one of the top 10 fighters of all-time to someone who might be regarded as highly overrated given his era. Yet, he still delivers.

Heavyweight boxing is dead. No one appreciates nor cares for the Klitschko brothers (especially American sports fans). Sergio Martinez can’t move the meter. Bernard Hopkins is too old and his age is more of an interest than his skills. Manny Pacquiao’s purse is partially due to his fighting style and largely due to his reputation as the anti-Mayweather. Mayweather is carrying his sport and even if Mayweather’s detractors hate his success, without his success boxing would be D.O.A.

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