Floyd Mayweather Jr and His Quest For Super Stardom
By Samuel Rivera - Floyd Mayweather Jr. is a rare talent, perhaps one of the greatest fighters to ever lace the boxing gloves up. While in my fight analysis article I predicted a UD win by Marquez (I still stand by that pick, if it goes the other way I will eat my crow on Sunday), I still think he is a very talented, great fighter but Mayweather knows better than anyone how great he is, which is why he has always felt that his popularity didn’t match his ring talents.
Mayweather has stated in recent interviews that if he were a fighter from a boxing crazed nation (Perhaps he meant Mexico, Puerto Rico or another foreign country) he would be a National hero. He went further saying that if he were Caucasian he would be the biggest sports star today…in other words he played the race card.
Most people would jump on the guy for that, but I won’t do that because from a neutral perspective the flamboyant fighter has a point. Mayweather perhaps never really understood why he never reached De La Hoya’s popular status..
De La Hoya was a marketing dream, a great looking east LA kid, who had great story leading up to his gold medal win, and at least in the lower weight classes he was a pleasing KO artist.
The Caucasian theory perhaps is a bit misleading, Calzaghe who is in my eyes the greatest Caucasian fighter of our generation, retired undefeated and while he was certainly popular in the UK, he wasn’t a cross over star in America, at least nowhere near the level of a De La Hoya.
Mayweather however has plenty of things going against him, he is a great African American athlete in a sport that his ethnic group no longer supports with the passion that let’s say Mexicans and Puerto Ricans support their fighters.
That is not to say that African Americans do not support Floyd on the contrary they know him and they pull for him, but not in the way that Mayweather probably feels he deserves, because if he were pleased with his fame status he would not be constantly expressing his distress at the fact that he is not the ‘Michael Jordan’ of our time.
But Michael Jordan himself is an example that you can transcend beyond your sport while being African American. So the race theory is not as valid as the fact that Floyd is not the next Oscar De La Hoya because quite simply he didn’t take the advantage of taking Oscar’s crown when he had the chance to do so.
‘The Fight to Save Boxing’ generated 2.4 million buys, people who never watched boxing probably forked over 50 plus dollars in order to see what was billed to be a “great” fight. Instead 2.4 million people tuned in to watch a worthless undercard with a ‘dud’ of a main event. And you wonder why MMA is taking over the mainstream fans?
Beating De La Hoya doesn’t make you De La Hoya, you can ask Shane Mosley about that, but Floyd’s flamboyant and bad guy persona enabled him to earn some degree of popularity (most people will turn into watch the Marquez fight to see if Marquez can finally shut the mouthy Mayweather up) but being that the Oscar-Floyd fight was to be “The fight to save boxing” it was a massive disappointment in which Floyd did just enough to win while Oscar did just enough to lose.
Floyd is not to take the full blame for this of course, those who know boxing knew that if Floyd was cautious against Baldomir, he would take zero chances with Oscar. Oscar should take 25 percent of the blame because truth be told, he did nothing worthy of remembrance in that fight because he was very afraid of eating the counter shots and looking silly.
But Floyd takes the great share of the blame because when all it’s said and done, he talked a lot of smack before hand, he promised a great fight and if he wanted to become the sports star he feels he should be, he should have given De La Hoya the shell shacking that he was very well capable of delivering.
But Floyd doesn’t take chances, it is the reason he is 39-0, it is the reason some feel he is taking on Marquez (I actually think Marquez is the best fighter Floyd has ever fought), and it is the reason why he is not as popular as he should be.
By fighting a safety first fight he opened the door for Manny Pacquiao to capture our hearts and our minds. Great fighters are not just supposed to win, they are supposed to make it look special, Pacquiao save for his two wars with Marquez, has been able to do just that.
Mainstream viewers that tuned in to watch Pacquiao’s dismantling of Oscar, watched (or at least they thought they watched) something special, and quite possibly some of them became fans of the Filipino based on that flawless performance. In the other hand those who witnessed Mayweather’s split (though I thought Floyd won it clearly) decision won over the Golden Goose, came away wishing they were fifty bucks richer, provided they were still awake by the time the decision was announced.
Perhaps Floyd returned to boxing because he felt disrespected that the little (not so little) Filipino fireball was taking the spot he felt he deserved but never received (perhaps he also returned because of the alleged money troubles he has been rumored to have), the point is Mayweather doesn’t have the style and was born in the wrong era to be the ever bright shinning star he feels he should be.
We don’t know if Pacquiao is better than Floyd, because they have yet to fight, but Pacquiao renders people unconscious and Mayweather wins boring UDs, sports fans usually gravitate towards the power punchers rather than the masterful boxers.
On Saturday night Floyd will once again enter a stage in which he will be watched by millions as Golden Boy has gone into unheard lengths in order to insure that the fight will be available for everyone to watch.
We probably wont get a war of Vazquez-Marquez proportions, as we will have a fight between two natural counter punchers (not the recipe for fireworks) but Marquez has very rarely as of late been in a boring fight, and because he has slowed down as he has aged, he has been forced to trade more than he would have in his prime so he has produced some impressive KO wins.
Floyd on the other hand has been in snooze inducing fests, he usually wins decisively, but mainly because his opponents are totally out matched, that won’t be the case here. We can add to the fact that Marquez is Mayweather’s most formidable opponent to date that Mayweather has something to prove…he wants to beat Marquez in a way that people start talking about a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight, the only way he does that is if he knocks the perceived out sized and out gunned Marquez by a decisive knockout.
Quite simply Pacquiao sold us that he is the PFP king by stopping two guys that were bigger than him, it would be a let down to all of Mayweather’s fans if Marquez lives long enough hear the final bell. Knocking Marquez out is a tall order for anyone, so yeah boxing is not fair to Lil’ Floyd, but Marquez himself is looking for that PFP crown by taking on what many consider are near impossible odds and hey he is not complaining.
In this great sport that we love there is always a double standard especially when it comes to Mayweather who is universally respected for his skill but not universally well liked.
Boxing is funny that way, if Marquez beats Mayweather he automatically becomes THE GREATEST fighter our generation because he was a 36 year old natural featherweight that defeated a Prime Mayweather at welterweight in a fight no one (except me, and a few others) though he could win. In the other hand even if Mayweather wrecks Marquez (not likely, when was the last time Floyd wrecked anyone? Do not mention Ricky Hatton) the naysayers will complain that Marquez was too old and too small while still claiming that Pacquiao is the KING, all while conveniently forgetting that Marquez not too long ago dropped a controversial decision to that very same Pacquiao that most felt should have gone his way.
In my opinion Floyd should just be happy that he is Floyd Mayweather Jr. and that he is 39-0, if he wants to be a star he could start by taking risks, which I believe he will have to take if he is to beat Marquez.
After the Marquez fight, if he is victorious, he should take on the Cotto-Pacquiao winner, and if Mosley still around afterwards why not face him too? If Floyd is 42-0 after getting in the ring with those guys, he probably won’t be the Michael Jordan of our time, but he will leave no doubt that he was the greatest boxer of our time, and maybe in my children’s time the great fighter of that era will be striving to be the Mayweather of their time, and there is nothing more that Floyd Mayweather Jr can ask for than that kind of legacy.
Samuel Rivera can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Article posted on 18.09.2009