COMMENTARY | Everybody knows what Floyd "Money" Mayweather brings to the sport of boxing--- Speed, precision, genius-level ring IQ, and the overwhelming confidence of an undefeated superstar. On the business end of the game, Mayweather is the undisputed cash cow of the American fight scene and, perhaps, the single most important fighter in the sport today. The 36-year-old five-division world champ also carries with him a legion of detractors and full-time critics, who have done their best to diminish his legacy and paint every fight he takes as a cynical. cherry-picked mismatch.
These days, it seems as though every Mayweather fight features a tug of war at the grassroots level between his supporters, who wildly approve of every step he takes, and the critics, who refuse to give him an ounce of credit. Actually, every Mayweather movement, both inside and outside the ring, eventually comes down to an us vs. them battle between pro-Mayweather and anti-Mayweather forces.
Of course, it's this back and forth squabbling that makes Mayweather a star. Whether they love him or they hate him, people can't help but pay attention to "Money." And whether they tune in to watch him win or tune in to watch him get knocked out, it's all money that goes into the same pot.
But at 36 years of age and with just a handful of fights left in his career, legacy has to be on Mayweather's mind. Now one fight into his 30-month, 6-fight deal with Showtime, Mayweather also has to worry about keeping his network happy, a pressure that he never had to deal with back at HBO, where he basically came and went as he pleased.
After his May 4 Showtime pay-per-view debut against Robert Guerrero registered around a million buys, the pressure was on to do bigger and better numbers against a more competitive opponent this time out.
All of this has pushed Mayweather into fighting the 22-year-old Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, who he ordinarily might've made jump through hoops to earn a shot at such a main stage opportunity. But a win over the very credible Austin Trout and proof of some legitimate drawing power was enough to get the red-headed battler from Guadalajara fast-tracked to the front of the line.
Fast track or not, Mayweather-Alvarez is the bout that makes the most sense for Mayweather and for the first time in a very long time, there's a legitimate feeling that it's at least somewhat possible that he may have bitten off more than he can chew. The reigning pound-for-pound top dog may very well score a one-sided victory on September 14, but there's a real uncertainty about this match-up that won't be settled until fight night when the younger, stronger, and bigger Alvarez actually gets his hands on Mayweather.
In the meantime, the eleven-city press tour kicked off on Monday in New York City to hype the event and sell the pre-fight narrative.
"I've been at the top since Canelo's been five years old," Mayweather told the media at the NYC press stop. "I know what it takes when it's a fight of this magnitude...My job is to go out there and be me, continue to be me and do what I do."
When asked about his legacy as a fighter, it became clear that Mayweather has come to terms with the fact that he has a legion of doubters and full-time critics.
"Nothing has any effect on my legacy. If Floyd Mayweather was to retire today, I truly believe that I'm going down as an all-time great…I've come to realize and understand that you cannot make everyone happy, you cannot please everybody. [The} only thing I can do is go out there and try, go out there and be at my best and stay focused and continue to rack up victories."
On September 14, the supporters, the critics, and fight fans of all levels of intensity will be focused on the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Whether one cares to admit it or not, Floyd Mayweather is boxing's biggest star and this upcoming bout with Alvarez will be the biggest event of the year. Underneath all the hype that is sure to come, there's a legitimate world class prizefight taking place between two of the very best fighters in the world.
It's hard to imagine a truce between the so-called "flomos" and "haters," but it would be great if both sides could just sit back and enjoy what will likely be an intriguing, compelling bout.
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.
Source: RingTV, YouTube
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- Floyd Mayweather