You’re probably asking yourself “How can the #1 draw and pound-for-pound king be bad for boxing?” Let me break it down for you….
Floyd has done a brilliant job marketing himself and his brand to the point that when boxing is offered up to the casual sports fan, Floyd Mayweather is usually the response. Boxing is in a precarious position of constantly fighting for a bigger fan base and market share. When Floyd Mayweather is the face of a sport hinging on entertainment to garner new fans, the task is daunting.
Ask yourself this question… When’s the last time you walked away from a Floyd Mayweather fight feeling satisfied?
Hardcore boxing fans can appreciate Floyd’s defensive wizardry, brilliant accuracy and sharp counter punching, but even the purist of fan possesses a feeling of emptiness after a Floyd bout. Passionate fans offer up their heart and emotion in watching these modern day gladiators do battle and that’s why it’s extremely difficult to be a fan of a fighter who doesn’t offer up his own.
There are moments in almost every Floyd fight where he can land at will and evade any oncoming attack. What separates Floyd from being great and becoming a legend in my eyes, is his desire to put his stamp on boxing INSIDE the ring as opposed to OUTSIDE the ring. He doesn’t take chances, risks and most importantly, he doesn’t leave a lasting impression. Floyd doesn’t feel it’s necessary to put himself in danger by unleashing his offense at the expense of his defense… and who can blame him? He continues to be the #1 draw in boxing.
Now imagine the casual sports fan who hasn’t watched boxing since Mike Tyson or when Oscar De La Hoya was in his prime. The only boxing voice they hear through the mainstream media is Floyd Mayweather. Let’s say they decided to drop the $75 to watch Mayweather-Maidana 2. Do you honestly believe they went to sleep that night enamored by Floyd? So much that they’d become a resurged or new fan of the sport? Regardless of the subjective view on pure boxing, at the end of the day, sports are entertainment. Right now, the face of the sport is one of the least entertaining.
Jim Lampley recently offered up his thoughts on Floyd Mayweather during his HBO Boxing show entitled “The Fight Game”:
"Floyd Mayweather long ago made clear that he isn't trying to please the entire available audience, and through the concentrated money harvest of pay-per-view distribution, he has convincingly established that he can do it his way, generate a kind of appeal not all of us will ever understand, and attract an income that out-distances those of polite golfers and friendly, smiling auto racers. Some would say, ‘more power to him…”– Jim Lampley on THE FIGHT GAME
Once again, from a marketing standpoint, what Floyd has created is no short of genius. In a sport where the knockout and offensive prowess have always taken center stage, Floyd somehow constructed a villainous character that truly resulted in must watch television. Whether fight fans tuned in to see him lose or not, the fact of the matter is, they tuned in.
Floyd Mayweather is bad for boxing and the time has come to pass the torch. His egregious comments towards the Ray Rice situation would usually fall to the wayside, but in the fragile society of today, mixed with an act that has become increasingly tiresome, it’s just more evidence that boxing needs a new face. The departure of Floyd Mayweather will breathe new life into the sport of boxing.
“But if it did happen [Floyd retiring], no damage would accrue to boxing. Fact is, for the betterment of boxing's image, Floyd Mayweather's retirement cannot come a moment too soon." – Jim Lampley on THE FIGHT GAME
In the end, I believe Floyd holds the sport back by overshadowing some incredible fighters. The casual sports fan identifies boxing with Floyd Mayweather and regardless of his amazing boxing skills, he simply doesn’t entertain inside the squared circle. First impressions are everything… and for boxing to build on its hardcore foundation, Floyd should not be the mainstream representative of the sport. While potential fight fans may gravitate to the sport due to Floyd’s outlandish personality, they are quickly turned away by a caricature with unappealing content.
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