I’m barely a boxing fan, but like everyone else, I’d love to see Mayweather-Pacquiao. It doesn’t appear the fight will ever happen. At first Pacquiao seemed like the one dodging the fight, but now it’s Mayweather. I’ve grown to dislike Mayweather, whose antics used to be funny. Years later, he’s running the same tired game.
After his controversial knockout victory over Victor Ortiz last weekend, I couldn’t tell if everyone feels the same way about Money Mayweather as I do. Based on these two columns, I still can’t tell:
Greg Bishop in the New York Times:
The only current athlete who draws a similar amount of hatred is the N.B.A. star LeBron James, but that’s not really an accurate comparison, because James seems to incite fury without meaning to. The better analogue for Mayweather is Barry Bonds, without the steroid allegations. Both are historically elite athletes whose accomplishments are, and will continue to be, overshadowed by public perception. Both seemed to be liked less as their careers unfolded.
So everyone hates Mayweather! Great, glad we’ve got that cleared up. But wait! Writes Dan Wetzel at Yahoo:
Mayweather is correct to demand his opponents are clean. You cheat in baseball and someone hits a 600-foot homerun. You cheat in boxing and someone can die.
So with that same Cheshire cat grin he wore after smacking Ortiz, Mayweather has been able to hold Pacquiao at bay with, of all things, an argument on ethics.
It’s just one more way that Floyd Mayweather Jr. has made himself the ultimate box-office villain and the can’t-ignore personality the sport so desperately needs.
So boxing needs Mayweather? Oh, brother. Let’s go back to Bishop:
He says he does not read anything written about him. Then he says the news media hate him for no reason. He says he doesn’t think about Manny Pacquiao, the other candidate for pound-for-pound king and the other half of the superfight everyone wants to see. Then he makes every interview about Pacquiao, without prompting, intimating Pacquiao won’t take a blood test, which Pacquiao already agreed to. If Mayweather is a villain, he is a sensitive one …
Perhaps one day, he’ll recognize there’s one person to blame more than any other. He could’ve been Pretty Boy Floyd, the best boxer in the world.
He chose to be Money Mayweather, the most loathsome and most loathed.
So is the villain act working? From a financial standpoint, yes (though it would be astronomical if he actually fought Pacquiao). From a respect standpoint? Up for debate. He’s 42-0 but when you think greatest pound-for-pound fighters of all-time, is he in the discussion? Or will his sideshow antics ultimately end up hurting his legacy? [NYT, Yahoo]