Deal with it, Floyd Mayweather Jr. is smarter than you. He has made himself into the villain of the boxing world. Nobody likes him. I don’t like him, but I think he (and/or his team) are way smarter than most people will give them credit for.
Let me start by saying Mayweather is a great defensive fighter. Unfortunately, that makes for boring fights. Besides the hurting he put on Ricky Hatton, his fights for the past 5 years or so have been boring. This weekend, he had one of his most exciting fights in years. It was also one of his most viewed fights.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. has made himself into the only bad guy in boxing. Nobody likes him and everybody that remotely pays attention to boxing wants him to lose. He’s polarizing that way. His fights register about 5-7 times more viewers than most big HBO or Showtime fights. The majority of people who watch his fights, only watch boxing to see him lose. They’ll also tune in to see Manny Pacquiao win (more on him later).
Set up for this fight with Victor Ortiz wasn’t much more different from most major fights with a press tour and 24/7 on HBO. The one thing that has really been different is that Mayweather seems to have turned up the jerk meter. He even had a spat with his father on 24/7 to help promote the fight.
All of the hate towards Mayweather, took attention away from Victor Ortiz. Ortiz is not a good boxer and his heart to box has been questioned after he quit a few a couple years ago. This fight was set up to be a n0-brainer win for Mayweather but the promotion of Ortiz as the good guy and Mayweather as the bad guy incited people to pay for the fight.
Besides Manny Pacquiao there isn’t a fight I’d pay to see with Floyd Mayweather. Generally, he’s not fun to watch – except last night when he became, in my eyes, the good bad guy. After being dominated for 3 rounds Victor Ortiz head butted Mayweather on purpose which led to a point being deducted from the score cards. After the deduction Ortiz went to apologize to Mayweather twice. On the second apology, Floyd just punched Ortiz hard. Twice. Knocking him out.
While Mayweather didn’t break any rules reaction on twitter was like he killed a dog. Mayweather may have done something unsportsmanlike, but he’s fighting. How many times does the dude need to apologize. Ultimately, if Ortiz didn’t break the rules this never would have happened so quickly. Mayweather would have taken him out eventually, but not right there. After the fight, Mayweather continued to be a jerk by not answering interview questions asked by Larry Merchant than screaming at the, well-respected, boxing analyst who went back at Mayweather telling him “If I was 50 years younger I’d kick your ass.” This only helps to build Mayweather’s villain reputation.
I’ve been a boxing fan off and on for my whole life and, as I said, I didn’t pay to watch this fight. Like with most things in life, if I don’t like what is being offered I won’t pay for it. The only way to speak to most companies is with money. I don’t want mismatches like this and I won’t support them with my dollars. I haven’t paid for a fight since Manny Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton. I had a great time because I was in Las Vegas and I loved Manny.
I’ve gotten on my soapbox before and preached “If you don’t want to see these fights then don’t buy these crappy fights.” This fight was a mismatch and anyone that watches boxing knew it. Everyone says that they want to see Manny and Mayweather fight, but why would either fighter do that?
Each fighter can make about $30-$40 MILLION a couple of times a year fighting scrubs because people pay to watch the fights. If people stopped buying these bad fights Manny and Mayweather might be inclined to get into the ring, but supply and demand doesn’t tell their team that they should do so right now so why take the only fight people want to see off the table?
So Mayweather will keep being a jerk and people will keep paying for his crappy fights and he’ll keep dangling the carrot of a fight with Manny for as long as he can while he continues to get paid.
For what it’s worth, I’m stoked to see the final bout of the Super Six on Showtime in October between Carl Frosch and Andre Ward. The fights in the tournament have, mostly, been good but I’m sure more people watched Mayweather legally and unsportsmanlikely (is that a word?) beat Ortiz on Saturday.
See reaction and what happened on ESPN.com. Photo: Vegas News