Is the sport of boxing better off without Mayweather?
(Photo credit: Idris Erba/Mayweather Promotions) by J.R. Leon: Before you, the reader, automatically assume that I’m not a fan of pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr, due to the article’s title, you would be incorrect. I enjoy Mayweather’s ring dominance and his defensive-minded style, although many other people would call it boring.
As a boxer, Mayweather has proven time and time again, that his defense and sharpshooting offense is second to none and as he proudly recites, “forty nine have tried but none succeeded”. But as a business man, Mayweather has taken complete control of boxing’s Junior Welterweight to Middleweight divisions, for the past decade, due to the ever present opportunity to be the lucky boxer to face him.
This has created an imbalance in the boxing world because a lot of the top boxers have evaded good competition, in order to not lose or even “look bad” – all hoping to get their hands on that golden ticket. But if what Mayweather says is true, and last night’s fight against Andre Berto was his last one ever, there will be no real reason for the top fighters to have to play it safe, in hopes of cashing in.
Now everyone can say whatever they want about Mayweather and who he fought, who he didn’t fight, when did the fight happen, catch-weights and so and so, but the one thing that they can’t take away from him is that he maximized his income potential by backing up what he claimed. He said he would beat his opponent, and he did. He said people would line up to pay and buy the PPV events, and they did. Now the question is, is he going to back up what he claimed last night when he said this was his last fight?
So let’s say Mayweather is truly done as a fighter (although I don’t believe it), what are boxers to do now? Are the top champions ready to forget about that golden ticket and will they start to take more serious risk? Considering the Alvarez/Cotto fight around the corner, it seems like the answer is yes.
So is this better for boxing?
All throughout my life I’ve been aware that in the world of sports there usually has to be a “villain” – whether it be a made-up one by the media or a self-proclaimed one – because the fans need someone to root against. And in boxing that’s been Mayweather, for the better part of two decades. But do we need another one? Or better yet, will there ever be another one?
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