In a documentary aired in the build to his recent clash with Robert Guerrero, Floyd Mayweather repeatedly stated how he was duty bound to ‘entertain’ the fans during his fights.
It seemed a tad ironic considering how his most of his prize fights get pilloried by fans who boo at his boring performances.
But Mayweather is an entertainer. Sadly, though, his most exciting and explosive performances are almost always reserved to the confines of a press conference, as opposed to inside the parameters of the ring. Where, incidentally, Pacquaio never fails to entertain- win or lose.
However, it is not his fault that virtually all his opponents are over matched by his technical genius which is far superior to any boxer of his era. But his lack of adventure and enterprise for such a great offensive fighter is staggering. Conversely, his courage in terms of taking fights cannot be called into question: he has fought and beaten a whole host of past and present World Champions throughout his legendary career.
But still he polarises opinion among the boxing public.
Maybe this because ever since his early days, he has displayed near perfectly polished boxing skills and has almost come to resemble the prototype of athletic perfection. Therein lies the problem, though, as normal people love their hero’s to be flawed but brilliant at the same time. Human’s, inherently plagued by imperfections find it easier to identify with someone when they witness how they deal with adversity. It normalises their relationship with their hero.
Yet there is nothing normal about Mayweather. He is a total outlier. A man, who by definition is a combat fighter, yet will actively avoid conflict, in the ring at least anyway. In a perverse sense, the convincing nature of Mayweather’s point’s victories, actually make him less convincing in the eyes of many millions of fans, including this one.
But to paraphrase a famous David Brent (Office UK) quote, “Maybe I question his methods because I don’t understand his methods”
Maybe I just cannot comprehend that Mayweather would wish to fight in such a conservative style when he is such an offensively brilliant fighter. From a personal point of view, I find it underwhelming that he chooses to sporadically populate his prize fights with flashes of attacking genius as opposed initiating combat. But whilst the wear and tear of a career defined by wars has finally caught up with Manny Pacquiao, the ageless Floyd Mayweather Jnr is reaping the benefits of his relative aversion to conflict and counter punching style.
But in spite of the obvious magic of Mayweather, he’s never really had to exert himself.
And this is why when the debate resurfaces about who deserves to be remembered more favourably by history out of Mayweather or Pacquaio, fight fans must take into account some vital differences. Mayweather has, for the majority of his career, at least north of 130lb, mustered point’s victories with the minimum punch output possible. Whereas, Pacquaio, once a perpetual power punching machine, caused maximum destruction to a lengthy list of champions who loved a tear up. Like a natural disaster, Pacquaio showed the same sort of disregard to the landscape, but caused even more damage to it, when he began tearing through the boxing terrain, terrorising titlists in the heavier weight classes.
He beat the living day lights out of a host of future hall of famers such as; Barrera, Morales, De La Hoya and Cotto, who cowered in fear in the face of his withering assaults. Mayweather’s holy matrimony with caution has ensured he could never cause similar damage to his opponents, or illicit the same sort of unbridled delight from fight fans that Pacquaio did.
Where Mayweather punched out of pure point scoring necessity to do enough to get the decision, Pacquaio, much like the tsumani which tore through his homeland in 2004, consumed all before him in a perfect storm of speed, power and boundless aggression knocking out champion after champion.
And this is why Pacquaio, despite always playing subordinate to Mayweather in the pound for pound rankings, was deservedly honoured as the ‘Fighter of the Decade’. Put simply, Pacquaio left a far more indelible imprint on the sport and, in the memories of fans in a few years, than Mayweather has managed to do in a 17 year, unbeaten professional career.
Yet maybe Floyd Mayweather Jnr will come good on his promise to entertain fans inside the ring by finally arranging a long overdue fight with Manny Pacquaio.
What do you think?