By Sean Crose
It’s time for boxing to move beyond Floyd Mayweather.
There, it’s been said. The man is indeed great, perhaps one of the greatest of all time. No matter. A fighter who no longer wishes to challenge himself, one who no longer aspires to prove himself against the top competition in the business, should no longer be considered dominant.
The caveat here is that Mayweather may indeed surprise us all in the weeks and months ahead. We may all be stunned to learn that he’s going to fight Pacquiao. Or Bradley. Or Golovkin. If that happens, please ignore everything you’ll have read in this article.
Don’t count on it happening, though. Mayweather doesn’t seem to want much to do with those guys. And if you think it’s because of boxing’s annoying “cold war,” then you’re kidding yourself. After all, Mayweather himself has stated it’s all about making money and staying safe as far as he’s concerned.
And that’s fine. It’s just that those who have that kind of ethos don’t deserve to be part of the larger conversation. Mayweather may indeed be the best fighter out there (in my opinion, he probably is). As long as he wants to play it safe, however, his career simply shouldn’t be as relevant as it once was.
Look at it this way – if boxing is a river and Mayweather no longer wants to flow with it, it’s time for everyone else to simply float on by. That’s a pretty sad scenario, but it’s Mayweather’s choice. Let’s hope he’s happy with it. Just keep in mind that many of us who admire the man are disappointed. Not angry, just disappointed.
Mayweather is amazing to watch, after all. Truth is, there’s never been anyone like him. Leonard had the heart and speed to possibly beat the man. Hearns, the height and power. Few others, however, were likely to have matched up well against the guy they call Money.
Yet at this point, it’s actually worth asking if Mayweather would have even been willing to fight Leonard and Hearns in their day. He’s certainly not rushing to fight Pacquiao while the man is still dangerous. Why on earth would we imagine he’d step into the ring with the 1981 versions of Hearns and Leonard?
And that’s why it’s time to change the channel from The Floyd Mayweather Show to a more interesting program. Ironically enough, Amir Khan, a current contestant on The Floyd Mayweather Show, seems to be willing to do just that. The man’s actually gone so far as to ignore boxing’s Berlin Wall by saying he’d be willing to fight Pacquiao if his potential bout with Mayweather falls through.
Who can blame the guy? Mayweather’s been dangling the carrot of a matchup in front of Khan’s face for months. It may all be about money and safety to Mayweather right now, but Khan seems willing to make it all about moving on if a Mayweather extravaganza doesn’t materialize.
Say what you will about his ability in the ring, Khan’s on to something here. And we all might be well advised to follow his lead. If Mayweather no longer wants to be competitive, then his peers should be free from hearing that the man is on top of the heap. After all, the guy’s voluntarily stepped down from his pedestal.
Admittedly, this is not an ideal scenario for boxing. What else can be done, though, when the pound for pound king of the sport decides to live out his career carrying on elevated exhibition matches? While Mayweather isn’t the first superstar in boxing to decide to take it easy, there’s no reason in the world why the rest of boxing should sit back idly and let it happen.