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19 JANUARY 2018


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John Lumpkin

In Defense of Floyd

By John Lumpkin: Every time Antonio Margarito or Miguel Cotto fight, we hear the cries of how Floyd Mayweather has avoided fighting them. We want to see these fights because they are fascinating to us and there is a chance that one or both these men could defeat Mayweather. We cannot fathom why Mayweather would turn down $8 million to face Margarito or fail to even discuss facing possibly the very best fighter in his own division. In fact, today we hear the rumblings that people want to place Cotto above Mayweather in the welterweight ranking and we think surely this will motivate Mayweather to fight him. Yet, nothing ever comes of it and we continue to ask why.

Mayweather, for his part, has made the right decisions. And frankly, every single one of us when faced with the same choices would have made those same decisions. It is a simple matter of economics. Mayweather is smart. He has known for a long time that Oscar De La Hoya was quite literally the golden goose of the sport and we all thought he was crazy when he first proclaimed he could beat De La Hoya back when he was three weight classes below him. From that point on, Mayweather moved his career to make that fight.

Oscar De La Hoya is that rare anomaly in boxing that has the ability to draw the casual fan into the sport of boxing from the force of his persona and Olympic fame. A very good fighter, but never really considered to be the best fighter of his time or across the eras, De La Hoya has always been able to provide entertaining matchups whether he is completely outclassing his opponents or in a heated contest. A De La Hoya fight is a show worth watching and the fans always support him.

When another fighter faces De La Hoya, two things are certain. First, they will make a lot more money facing him than they will with any other opponent. They often make more money facing him then facing several other stellar opponents. Second, De La Hoya’s fame and notoriety will ensure that they too will gain the attention of a broad base of fans. If they perform well, their fan base will grow and they will continue to make more money in subsequent fights.

When Floyd Mayweather signed on to fight and eventually beat Oscar De La Hoya, he hit the jackpot. He made an outrageous sum of money and instantly became the toast of the town making his way through a serious of talk shows, interviews, and even danced with the stars. The fight with the almost as popular Ricky Hatton allowed his fortunes and opportunities to continue to flourish eventually granting him a foray into the world of wrestling.

Mayweather faces the same choice he did before. He can fight De La Hoya and Hatton again to continue to make huge paydays and expand his fame to a larger fan base or he can take fierce challenges from far lesser known opposition for a much lower pay rate. Gee, what would you choose? In boxing, careers are short. Mayweather has a few short years left to make all the money and fame he can before he is no longer a viable entity in the sport. Precious few top fighters do as well after boxing as they do during their careers, so there is a real possibility that his earning years are almost over. He would be a fool to turn down the giant paydays in front of him now.

A fight with Miguel Cotto could happen once Mayweather exhausts his big payday opportunities with De La Hoya and Hatton. Cotto’s willingness and ability to continue to take on and beat tough contenders in exciting fashion will grow his stature and increase his notoriety. In a year or so, a Mayweather Cotto matchup might just sell as well as Mayweather Hatton does today making it the most attractive match for both fighters. Fights are made when they can sell enough tickets and secure enough TV rights to the pay the people involved sufficient funds to take the risk. So, in the end, it is really up to us as the fans as to which fights get made. Odd as it may seem, the fans have communicated that they would rather see Mayweather rematch with fighters he has beaten or even wrestle with the Big Show rather than face Cotto or Margarito. It is up to us.

April 15, 2008

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