By Matthew Hurley: As it became apparent that Floyd Mayweather would fill one of the final slots in his ridiculously lucrative Showtime contract with a rematch against Marcos Maidana in September, a collective eye roll spread among many in the boxing world.
The fact is, despite Maidana’s spirited effort in fight one, Mayweather closed out the show after the sixth round as he usually does. Michael Pernick’s scorecard of 114-114 was a ridiculous tally along the lines of judge C. J. Ross’ draw in Floyd’s fight with Saul Canelo Alvarez. Both of those unwarranted scores seemed to reflect a near desperation for Floyd to at least be in a fairly competitive fight, whether in the ring or on some jaded judge’s scorecard.
Maidana made it fun. Mayweather made it academic.
Which leads one to question why we need to see it again. For Mayweather it doesn’t really matter who he fights anymore because he gets paid regardless of who is standing in front of him; regardless of public apathy; regardless of historical significance. He really doesn’t care anymore because, again, the money is already in the bank. Furthermore, Floyd contends he is the best fighter who ever lived so he no longer needs to prove it against rising stars like Keith Thurman or Shawn Porter.
As far as Manny Pacquiao is concerned, Floyd lost his phone number years ago. The fact that a Pacquiao fight still looms in the public consciousness is a testament to the arrogance and greed of both fighters. But at this stage in their careers the blame lies firmly on Mayweather’s shoulders because, like it or not, he is in charge. If he really wanted to make the fight he could do so. And he could make Pacquiao and his promoter Bob Arum, who Mayweather hates, bow down to every stipulation he wants. He could literally make Arum a non-entity during the negotiation process because he is the face of boxing, not the Top Rank octogenarian and not the Filipino wunderkind.
But Floyd, for reasons only he can explain yet never really does despite his braggadocio, wants nothing to do Manny. And that fact will hurt his standing among the all time great fighters he purports to be better than. And, again, he couldn’t care less. He’s already been paid.
So, despite lackluster pay per view numbers for his first go round with Maidana, Floyd simply shrugged his shoulders and said, “Let’s do it again.” Showtime executives, on the hook for any fight Mayweather throws at them, must be chewing their fingers nails off in frustration.
And don’t be surprised if after Floyd boxes circles around Maidana in this proposed rematch, he clears out his contract with return bouts against Miguel Cotto and Canelo Alvarez – should Alvarez get by Erislandy Lara on July 12, which is no sure bet. If Landry wins he has as much chance of fighting Floyd as Pacquiao does because Money Mayweather will simply say, in regards to the talented Lara, “Nobody knows who he is.”
The negative spin here is in no way a raised middle finger directed at Floyd and his awesome skill set and overall career. It is born out of frustration with a fighter who seems to be on cruise control as he refuses to test those immaculate skills against the very best the sport has to offer. He should be seeking those challenges out as he ends his career, not avoiding them. Particularly if he truly believes he’s the greatest fighter of all time.
This ducking and dodging started years back when pre-caught-glove-tampering Antonio Margarito all but begged Floyd for a chance. Floyd sized Margarito up, realized he could beat him but would probably suffer a bit in doing so and said, “Margarito who?” He just ignored him until he went away. It’s a tactic that Floyd has lately loved to employ. Wait out his rivals until they lose and then deem them unfit to share the ring with him because they lost. When Pacquiao was finally put down by Juan Manuel Marquez no one was smiling more contentedly than Floyd. Marquez did his work for him, and Floyd had already beaten a blown up, sluggish Marquez years earlier so in his mind he’d already beaten Pacquiao. Such is the twisted logic in Mayweather’s crazy brain.
So now we get a rematch no one is all that excited about – and it will tank in terms of pay per view buys. Manny Pacquiao is still without an opponent for his late year return and whoever he ends up facing will also result in a box office dud.
Perhaps the time has come to say goodbye to the two best fighters of the last twenty years (with apologies to Bernard Hopkins and Marquez) and focus on the Keith Thurmans, Shawn Porters and Gennady Golovkins among others.
Even if warring promotional firms hamper their careers, all three have attitudes that indicate they desire to be great. Thurman has already said a loss on his record means nothing in the long run as long as he gave it everything he’s got. That’s admirable. That’s refreshing in its honesty. That’s old school, and that’s something Floyd Mayweather has never understood. At least from the time he changed his nickname from Pretty Boy to Money.
Matthew Hurley is a full time member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. His first book on boxing, Ringside Reflections, can be purchased at Amazon.com.