Four Mayweather myths debunked: Fan’s take

There are few athletes that generate the same level of controversy and debate as five-division world champ, Floyd Mayweather jr. From his days as a 21-year-old world champion wunderkind right through to his current status as world class, elite-level heat magnet, Mayweather has become a permanent part of the psyches of most fight fans.

Attacked by unfriendly media sources and his persistent legion of critics, Mayweather has often been his own worst enemy, refusing to acknowledge critics' assertions and playing the role of indifferent party boy. As a result, myths have popped up about the talented former Olympic bronze medalist and have been allowed to stay in the public forum, becoming part of conventional wisdom for some, regardless of whether the accusation is based in fact or not.

In the spirit of fair play, here's a look at the most persistent myths regarding Mayweather and why they are more fiction than fact:

Mayweather has ducked…

Mayweather's failure to fight guys like Antonio Margarito and Miguel Cotto continue to hound the former welterweight titlist, but what's seldom pointed out is the promotional barriers to making these bouts.

When Mayweather left promoter, Bob Arum, he made a powerful, spiteful enemy. He also ensured that any dealing with Arum's promotional company, Top Rank, would be as pleasant and easy as a root canal.

When he was criticized for not meeting Margarito's "challenge" in 2006, it's rarely mentioned that Mayweather had just left Top Rank, had pending legal action against Arum, and was unlikely to turn around immediately after leaving his promotional company and fight, once again, under his old promotional banner.

As for Cotto, it should be noted that by the time Cotto made his debut in the welterweight division, Mayweather had already captured the lineal welterweight title and was beginning negotiations for his money fight with Oscar De la Hoya.

If Arum had wanted to force a fight between his guys and then-WBC champ, Mayweather, he could've easily done so by positioning Margarito, Cotto, and Clottey within the rankings of the organization. Instead, Arum chose to position his fighters in every division, except the WBC.

Mayweather always fights smaller fighters

This is easy to debunk. Mayweather has only fought two fighters who moved up in weight to fight him, Ricky Hatton and Juan Manuel Marquez— and Hatton was WBA welterweight champ a year prior. For the vast majority of his career, Mayweather has been the naturally smaller fighter.

Mayweather "cherry picks" his opponents

This isn't a myth at all. However, hardcore, observant fight fans will acknowledge that every top fighter strategically chooses the right opponent for the right price. Mayweather may, indeed, be a cherry picker, but this is nothing unusual at all. All professional prize fighters at the top of their game weigh risk vs. reward carefully when it comes to their bouts.

Mayweather is afraid of Pacquiao

"Afraid" is a heavy word to toss around when talking about a professional prize fighter who has been in competitive action since childhood. There aren't many cowards who fight for a living and have dominated the amateur and professional ranks, fighting fifteen past, present, or future world champions.

Mayweather did what he could to make the Pacquiao fight happen. Whether the request for random blood testing was just a psychological ploy or it represented a sincere concern on his part, the fact of the matter is that Mayweather came to terms quickly on all stipujations and even went to arbitration to settle the blood testing issue. During arbitration, as stated by the arbitrating judge, Mayweather would even go on to compromise on his request for true random testing, but it was Pacquiao who wouldn't budge.

Mayweather would move on after the fight fell apart and, by most accounts, hold firm on his demand for true, Olympic-style random blood testing— a stipulation Team Pacquiao has never conceded. The truth remains that on the one occasion where both Mayweather and Pacquiao were present for negotiations, it was Pacquiao who ultimately killed the deal.

Believe what you wish, but all the subsequent stories about Pacquiao agreeing to random testing and Mayweather turning down huge financial offers to take the fight have come from one source, and one source alone— Pacquiao promoter and jilted former member of Team Mayweather, Bob Arum.

Paul Magno is a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing.


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Updated Friday, Jun 10, 2011