COMMENTARY | At stop after stop of the 11-city tour to promote his bout with Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, Floyd Mayweather has had to face the harsh reality that he is not the reason fans have crowded outdoor plazas and stuffy halls. The vast majority of the fans have shown up to support Alvarez and, apparently, Mayweather only enters into the equation because he's fighting Alvarez.
As a matter of fact, even on fight night in Mayweather's adopted hometown of Las Vegas, most of the fans at the MGM Grand will be there to cheer on Alvarez. Mayweather will have his supporters, of course, but when push comes to shove on September 14, most of the real fans in the cheap seats will be rooting for the 22-year-old battler from Guadalajara.
The celebrity of "Money" Mayweather is a strange thing. Reviled by some, worshipped by others, his presence doesn't immediately invoke a call to action, but it does seem to be an irresistible force when it comes to convincing fight fans to hit the "buy" button on their remote controls.
It doesn't matter if those who pay sixty bucks a pop are there to see the continuation of a legend or the humbling of a loudmouth, the money all goes into the same pot at the end of the night. But there's a matter of personal pride involved when it comes to athletes and performers of any kind. Sure, they want the money and glory, but they also want to be wanted. They want to see others passionate about their work. And while there are plenty of connoisseurs of Mayweather's genius-level ring IQ and flawless tactical execution, most of those fans are not likely to show up at a live press conference/fan rally to scream words of encouragement to the five-division world champ.
So, at city after city, Canelo fans outnumber Mayweather fans by a wide margin, even in Mayweather's actual home town of Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Mexican flag is held aloft over the American flag and Mayweather, despite his wealth and well-earned standing among the boxing intelligentsia as pound-for-pound no. 1, is a mere accessory to Alvarez's fistic rite of passage.
The 36-year-old Mayweather has been insulated from the real world ever since he began making enough money to insulate himself. Surrounded by yes man and lackeys, Mayweather rarely seems to be troubled by negative words coming from outside his small world. At home and among his hand-picked people, he can do no wrong and the world is what he makes of it. Any dissenting view is singled out and eliminated as a random "hater" with an unreasonable agenda.
However, this unprecedented 11-city press tour has pushed Mayweather out of his cocoon of safety and has forced him into the real world, albeit for only an hour here and there. What Mayweather may be finding is that the awesomeness of being Mayweather has not infected the general population and that professional respect is not the same as hero worship.
If Mayweather's psyche has been permanently frazzled by the protective comfort of his hired hangers on, nothing on the press tour meant anything. Even in the face of an 80-20% fan split in Canelo's favor, Mayweather, in his own mind, is still the straw that stirs the drink. But if there's still some humility and common sense left in "Money," the 11-city diss could serve as a gut shot to his ego-something that could make him dig in deeper and strive for a more compelling performance against Canelo. This, in turn, could push him just enough over the edge and out of his comfort zone to make him vulnerable against an always confident, mega-hungry Alvarez.*******************
Paul Magno was 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 as Editor-in-Chief of The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing. For breaking news, additional analysis, and assorted crazy commentary, follow him on Facebook, @TheBoxingTribune or on Twitter, @BoxingBTBC.
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