Love him or hate him, boxing needs more fighters like Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Other than arch-nemesis, Manny Pacquiao, no other boxer can capture headlines and attract mainstream attention like the controversial 5-division world champ.
"Hate" all you like, criticize his resume, bristle at his latest off-the-wall statement, but you'll be watching. You'll be watching because there's no other fighter who can generate this kind of heat outside the ring. Mayweather can capture the pathos of a hard-luck youth making his way to great fortune and then, in his next breath, infuriate most everyone in the public with some boorish, childish declaration.
Pacquiao is right there with Mayweather in terms of drawing power, but "the fighting congressman" needs some help to sell his shows. The excitement the Filipino superstar generates inside the ring does not translate outside the ring. Left to his own devices, the outside-the-ring Pacquiao is about as entertaining as a bag of screwdrivers.
While it could be argued that Pacquiao delivers where it counts, in the ring, it's also worth pointing out that Pacquiao's entire worth is tied into his opponent. If he faces someone who refuses to engage or a fighter who works only to survive, fans are left with nothing. No entertaining lead-in, no drama, no action.
In boxing, just like in any endeavor where sales is involved, promoters strive to make the most of everything available to them. They adhere to the old sales adage: "Sell the sizzle, not the steak."
An all-action fight is great, but a great character will sell pay-per-views forever. So what if half (or more) of the people tuning in are wanting Mayweather to lose? They are still paying fifty to sixty bucks a pop and will continue to pay until he can no longer sell his talents as an elite-level bad guy.
For those fans who would prefer for Mayweather to just go away, look at the American fight scene behind him and think about what you're wishing for. There's not a single major draw among the bunch and, really, not much on the horizon. American fighters like Andre Berto, Timothy Bradley, Victor Ortiz, Paul Williams, and Chad Dawson couldn't outdraw Mayweather if they all fought on the same card, at the same time, in the same ring, with The Avengers premiere playing in a gigantic screen behind them.
When Mayweather goes away, the American fight scene will likely take a huge blow. Like it or not, there are only two fighters keeping the scene thriving, and only one is American.
So, sit back and enjoy the show. Take what he says with a grain of salt and learn to enjoy the truly superb skills of one of the sport's modern greats. It's okay if you despise him, just appreciate what "Money" means to the state of modern boxing.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. He is also a contributor to Fox Sports. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing.
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