COMMENTARY | Like it or not, "Money" Mayweather sits all alone at the top of the boxing food chain now-- and he's not shy about wielding his power.
Although not focused on implementing catchweight clauses and other game-altering contractual stipulations, like arch-rival Manny Pacquiao did when on top of the world, Mayweather is no less insistent on calling all the shots. He moves when he wants to move, signs when he wants to sign, and generally acts the role of a petulant and dismissive monarch. And Mayweather's recent deal with Showtime, worth as much as $250 million, hasn't exactly tempered the five-division world champ's attitude.
Recently, Mayweather let Saul "Canelo" Alvarez walk away from a high-profile co-feature slot on his May 4 pay-per-view show over a refusal to sign a contract guaranteeing opponent status to Alvarez in September. Mayweather had verbally agreed to the arrangement and, by all accounts, was on board with the match-up, but simply refused to put it in writing.
Alvarez's team had tried to put public pressure on Mayweather to force his hand, but Mayweather was oblivious and the rest of Team Mayweather just didn't seem to care, either. While Alvarez twisted in the wind, having to decide between moving ahead with his Austin Trout bout on the May 4 Mayweather-Guerrero undercard or his own headlining gig on a new date, Mayweather went ahead with his whirlwind schedule of tossing money around and satisfying each and every adolescent whim. He would never give an inch to Alvarez and, really, not even acknowledge the existence of any behind-the-scenes conflict.
Essentially, the 22-year-old red-headed WBC junior middleweight champ from Guadalajara had his bluff called and had no choice but to take his talents and his growing fan base to an April 20 date in San Antonio, Texas.
Through it all, Mayweather remained indifferent and focused on promoting his fight with Robert Guerrero in May. If he ever cared about Alvarez or Team Alvarez's attempt to pressure him into signing a promise of a September bout, nobody on the outside would ever know it. The 36-year-old future hall of famer is now in a position where he doesn't even have to pretend that life is fair for those who dream of fighting him.
Just like most stars in the sport, Mayweather piggybacked off the success of a more established star to get ahead. And since doing so against Oscar De la Hoya in 2007, he has averaged well over a million pay-per-view buys for each of his subsequent bouts. The proven sales record has put him at the top of the boxing food chain. And arch-rival Manny Pacquiao's two consecutive losses and string of lackluster showings have made sure that Mayweather sits at the top all alone.
For the most part, though, Mayweather seems content on letting adviser Al Haymon handle all of the business while he just plays the role of "Money." It's a role that has yielded the talented fighter a no. 1 spot in the Forbes Magazine list of the highest-paid athletes.
For those who have bristled at the idea of "Money" Mayweather being able to roam the boxing wilderness freely, picking and choosing his prey at will, things will only get worse from here on out. What has happened the last several months is tantamount to a full and total takeover of boxing at its highest level. From Manny Pacquiao's faceplant KO loss to Showtime's backing up of the Brinks truck to Casa Mayweather, the last three months have affirmed that there is only one king.
Now, the only way to pull Mayweather from his throne is via ring defeat. Time has already slowed down the once-untouchable defensive prodigy, but will his last few opponents be able to satisfy the haters and the critics with a bubble-bursting comeuppance? Or, will Mayweather continue to frustrate and confound the masses by retiring well before he can be humbled?
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.