COMMENTARY | After the massive wave of praise and good will that washed over Floyd Mayweather following last Saturday night's masterful dissection of Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, an undercurrent of negativity has suddenly appeared.
Somewhere, somehow a select group of fight fans are crying "boring" after Mayweather's genius-level dissertation and pining away about wasting their pay-per-view money on a snoozer.
These also may be the same people who watch NASCAR for the crashes, hockey for the brawls, and apartment building surveillance videos for the odd chance of seeing an elderly couple mugged.
In a world of flailing brawls wrongly classified as prizefighting, fighters like Mayweather stand apart from the crowd. Yes, they are an acquired taste, but not at all hard to swallow for those fight fans with a frame of reference beyond that magical period in history, several years ago, when people suddenly stopped being able to pay attention for more than two minutes at a time.
Watching the fight again, the true fan sees the subtle shifts in pace and angle, the balance, the opportunistic offense, the feints, the geometry of an art that's, sadly, no longer being practiced. Mayweather works around Alvarez, stopping and starting, timing everything perfectly, rolling with his younger opponent's punches, and coming over the top with his own. To the trained eye, a million things are happening. To the untrained eye, nothing is happening. There's no BLOOD, no WAR. Canelo is swinging at shadows and ring ropes.
As the fight goes on and Alvarez because mentally and physically fatigued by fighting an opponent who appears to be nowhere at all and everywhere at once, the pace slows down. This happens, not because of Mayweather, who flawlessly executes his game, but because of an opponent who is clueless as to how to deal with someone who can actually box.
What we're seeing when we watch a Mayweather fight is one-half of a perfectly-executed fistic thriller. Mayweather is doing his job. However, with nobody around to match him, his bouts become more virtuoso solo performance than back-and-forth battle. But, boring?
Alvarez did the best he could, but he was fighting a stealth bomber with an aluminum baseball bat. He simply did not have the skills to handle a complex riddle like Mayweather-and, frankly, the same could be said for just about every fighter from 140-154 lbs. Yes, one day Mayweather will slow down enough to be beaten by a lesser fighter, but there's no sign of that happening any time soon.
Go back in time, though, and Mayweather would've had his hands full.
You see, there are ways to fight someone like Floyd Mayweather. There are ways to negate some of his defensive mastery and force him into more of a toe to toe fight. The problem is that those tricks of the trade have seemingly died along with many of the old-school trainers and can't be learned in a six-week training camp. True mastery is the result of hard work and minute attention to detail over the course of a lifetime and today's fighters are just not being brought up with that thirst to learn.
Mayweather is so utterly dominant because he's doing things that none of his opposition has ever seen before. The answer is really that simple. Guys like Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran may have fought Mayweather on even terms, forcing "Money" to either move up to an even higher level of excellence or fall down in defeat.
But the five-division world champ won't be getting that challenge from Alvarez, Robert Guerrero, or even Manny Pacquiao. Only the gradual weight of Father Time will bring Mayweather down, leaving plenty more years for uninformed critics to gripe because Mayweather refuses to offer his chin on a platter and walk the ring like he's stomping cockroaches.
Ultimately, though, boring is in the eye of the beholder, as is class. That's why Dogs Playing Poker is hanging in more living rooms than Van Gogh's Starry Night and why Mayweather just can't catch a break with certain fans.
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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