Floyd Mayweather Continues To Polarize Boxing Fans

floyd mayweather jr.18.11.07 – By Matthew Hurley: When it comes to Floyd Mayweather Jr. his arrogance and obsession with his money and jewelry and how much more he can attain always threatens to overshadow his talent in the eyes of many boxing fans.

In particular those boxing fans who attend local club shows to cheer on fighters who will never hit the big time and who, in so many ways, represent the lives they live in their modest blue collar worlds. Mayweather’s world is not only alien to them but his attitude is an affront to their struggle. It is why he has become such a polarizing figure in the boxing community.

For those fans at the local shows, after a night of beers and hot dogs and cheering on the local talent they ultimately return to their modest residences with bills piling up on the kitchen table and set the alarm clock for an early wake up for yet another day at a job that they aren’t particularly keen on.

As a writer I’ve found boxing venues and bars to be two of the best venues to observe people and their respective mannerisms, temperaments and loyalties be they ethnic, political or sporting. In those dingy clubs and wonderful dive bars Mayweather is the antithesis to these people’s very lives and his now constant predilection for flashing wads of money in front of cameras and saying things like, “nothing better than being rich” completely alienates him from these boxing fans who he probably would love to have cheering for him when he fights; such is their burning passion for boxing and fighters. And he would love their adoration because, truly, there are many things to appreciate about Floyd Mayweather the man. Even even his harshest critics acknowledge his brilliance as a technical boxer. His loyalty to his kids, family and friends is unquestioned. His overlooked charity work is admirable. His work ethic is unparalleled in not only boxing circles but in all of sports and his whacked out relationship with a father whose arrogance exceeds even his helps to explain his quixotic personality.

But, as anyone from the streets of Boston, my hometown, will tell you, a big mouth, now matter how big the stick you carry, will make you countless enemies. So good does Mayweather believe himself to be that he cares little for all those that despise him. At least that’s what he says until emotion grabs him as it did after his welterweight title win over Carlos Baldomir when he wept openly at the post fight press conference and threatened to retire. Even his handlers turned away, not knowing how to react.

So much of Floyd Mayweather is on the surface that one wonders what will happen when he is faced with an opponent who will force him to dig deep down inside himself. All the great fighters have had to face that pivotal moment when the desire to be great, as I think, for all his assertions that he already is, Floyd truly wants to prove, was tested by the very will within. Boxing fans will argue until the bell rings on December 8th whether or not Ricky Hatton is the fighter to provide that test. But should Hatton or another fighter down the road bring Floyd Mayweather to the brink of defeat as Joe Frazier did to Muhammad Ali in Manila and Thomas Hearns did to Sugar Ray Leonard in their first classic struggle, and the “Pretty Boy” digs down and pulls out a victory with grit to match his talent, that blue collar boxing crowd who so resent him now will at the very least nod in appreciation and acknowledge his greatness as a fighter. Until then they will revel in anticipation of his downfall. Such is the fate of an athlete fueled by arrogance.

Article posted on 19.11.2007

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