The lion hunter: A look at Floyd Mayweather Jr’s opponent selection
By Dallas Orysiuk Floyd Mayweather Jr. is without a doubt the number one fighter in the world. Floyd “Money” Mayweather is 44-0 (26 KOs) and has a stellar resume. There is no questioning his skills as he is one of the best fighters to ever step into the ring. Apart from ring craft, Mayweather displays excellent business skill. He is a businessman and promoter.
He plays the role of villain and he plays this role well. It is part of his persona and part of the reason he attains such financial success.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. is also a hunter… a hunter of young hungry lions. This is part of “Moneys” business plan. Mayweather does an excellent job of waiting, scoping, and setting his sights on young hungry fighters that are surrounded in hype. This is part of the reason his PPV numbers are so high.
Mayweather’s PPV’s always sell. Always surrounded by controversy, extremely skilled, and undefeated… there is no question why. There is also the theory that people pay to see Floyd Mayweather Jr. lose. The promoter inside Mayweather takes advantage of this.
Mayweather is perfect at picking opponents who are riding tremendous hype and buzzing in the boxing world. Often, but not always, these hyped up fighters are young hungry lions. This is the reason the fights sell so well. Many boxing fans hope Mayweather will lose. Because these opponents are all buzzing and coming off big wins, this is a major selling point of his fights. Will the young hungry lion finally dethrone Money Mayweather?
The world knows this is unlikely, but because of the hype and the slightest hope that he will lose Mayweather fans and haters will tune in.
Floyd Mayweather was 2012’s highest paid athlete and after they receive their schooling, his opponents aren’t doing too badly financially either. But his opponents do take a risk, the risk of losing the hype they carry.
Mayweathers most recent opponents were all coming off impressive victories and were surrounded by hype. Let’s take a look at his past 5 opponents.
Juan Manuel Marquez, although not particularly young, was coming of an impressive victory in a Fight of the Year (FOTY) type fight against Juan Diaz. Two fights prior to that, Marquez lost a close and disputed split decision to Manny Pacquiao, and was highly regarded as one of the best fighters in the world.
Mayweather easily outboxed Marquez to a unanimous decision. Following this… Marquez fought Juan Diaz for a second time, Michael Katsidis and Likar Ramos. It is clear that following defeat, many had written off Marquez. Although, after those three fights he secured a third fight with Manny Pacquiao; going into the fight no one gave Marquez a shot at winning. But he made it close and proved us all wrong.
Shane Mosley was old, although at the time was still considered extremely dangerous. In his previous fight Mosley went into a matchup with Margarito as a heavy underdog. Mosley beat Margarito by way of a 9th round TKO and beat up Margarito in way fans were not used to seeing. Besides a slight scare in round 2, Mayweather dominated Mosley, leading a great deal of criticism and the majority of the boxing world saying Shane was/is shot.
Then there was Victor Ortiz. Ortiz was no stranger to setbacks, but was always known as a dangerous and exciting fighter. Prior to the fight with Mayweather, Ortiz moved up in weight and as an underdog impressively beat Andre Berto in the 2011 FOTY. Ortiz was now residing at welterweight and this looked to be a better weight class for him. At welterweight he could use his strength and power to shine. The performance against Berto was impressive, and many thought he had redeemed himself for what occurred against Maidana.
Ortiz came into the fight versus Mayweather as a powerful young hungry lion in his prime. But when he got in the ring with Mayweather, Ortiz had a meltdown. Despite the controversy of the ending, Ortiz was knocked out in the fourth. Following the loss to Mayweather, again questions emerged about his heart and mental stability.
Miguel Cotto wasn’t young, but he wasn’t old and Cotto was on a three fight win streak and looked to be getting his career on track by moving up a weight class where he no longer had to struggle to cut weight. Cotto had just avenged one of his (only two) defeats against Antonio Margarito. Miguel Cotto looked good in the victory against Margarito. As an exception to the rest, Cotto put together a solid performance against Mayweather, and unlike the rest of the fighters this loss to “Money” actually raised his stock.
Floyd Mayweather Jr’s most recent victim was Robert “the Ghost” Guerrero. Guerrero was known as a solid fighter who had dominated in many weight divisions. Guerrero had been chasing Mayweather for over a year but the majority of the boxing world questioned his credentials and laughed at the challenge.
Guerrero decided to move up two weight classes to pursue a big money payday against Floyd. In his debut performance at welterweight Guerrero defeated the dangerous puncher Selcuk Aydin. Aydin was not a world beater but was considered a dangerous test to anyone moving up two weight divisions. Guerrero dominated with an exciting performance. Then as an underdog Guerrero challenged Andre Berto. Never before had Andre Berto been so beat up and manhandled as he was at the hands of the Ghost.
These victories created enormous hype surrounding Guerrero and lead to a Mayweather clash. But when Guerrero stepped in the ring with Mayweather he looked sloppy, slow and silly. Since then Guerrero has received very little attention. Prior to the boxing clinic put on by Mayweather, Guerrero was mentioned as an opponent for Maidana and Broner. Yet since his defeat, Guerrero’s name has been relatively unheard of.
Floyd Mayweather Jr., although not the most exciting fighter in the ring, finds ways to create a buzz surrounding his fights. And there is no questioning his skill. Some complain about the opponents Mayweather chooses, yet you cannot deny that the majority of the opponents have been solid. All of the challengers had been coming off impressive victories, full of confidence and riding a great deal of hype. Most of his opponents were young hungry lions. Yet Mayweather went hunting… the lion hunter sought out the young lions surrounded in hype. Floyd put on a boxing clinic and ended the hype train. These opponents may have not been as good as Mayweather, but who is? They were/are extremely solid fighters, yet Mayweather made them look average.
Floyd Mayweather Jr’s next victim will be the 23 year old Saul Alvarez. Alvarez is undefeated with a record of 43-0 (31 KOs) and is coming off an impressive victory of the previously unbeaten Austin Trout. Alvarez has a huge following, and in his victory over Trout, Alvarez sold out the Aladome stadium in San Antonio to almost 40,000 fans, drawing high ratings on Showtime. Alvarez like Mayweather’s previous opponents is coming off an impressive victory, is riding hype and is a young hungry lion. Alvarez has looked impressive in the majority of his fights, but like the rest, will the hunter continue his impressive run and end the hype and make Alvarez look average? Or for once will the lion come out on top?