By Sean Crose
So the other day I found myself standing before a class full of grade schoolers. They wanted to know what I did besides teach. I mentioned that I write for Boxing Insider…and before I knew it, the name Floyd Mayweather was popping up from among the rows of desks.
Yup, Floyd’s that well known. Thing is, though, he’s starting to become known for having boring fights. Seriously, was his battle with Canelo Alvarez the stuff fight dreams are made of? What about his throwdown with Roberto Guerrero? Does anyone expect that one to show up on ESPN Classics within the next few decades?
The fact is that Mayweather hasn’t had a genuinely rousing fight since he battled Miguel Cotto way back in 2012. And before that he hadn’t had a satisfying bout since he dusted Ricky Hatton in 2007. Floyd is many things, but a thrill machine isn’t one of them.
Of course that hasn’t hurt the man’s enormous popularity. For Floyd is a perfect fighter for this time and place in that the entertainment value of his fights doesn’t matter as much as the buzz surrounding them does. A reporter recently compared Mayweather’s outings to the “Transformers” flicks in that fans historically know what they’re getting in both cases. That wasn’t a bad way of putting it.
Yet even Hollywood sequels wear out their welcome after a point. How many times can people be expected to enjoy the same thing, after all? Mayweather himself seems aware of this fact, for he implied in a recent interview that he’ll be far more aggressive come Saturday than he has been in recent fights.
Is that a good idea, though? Let’s face it, aggression and power are not what’s gotten Floyd to the level of success he enjoys now. The man’s succeeded with slick defensive skills and amazing counter-punching, not by imitating Tommy Hearns. Floyd’s the opposite of Marcos Maidana, frankly. Why, then, would he appear willing to engage Maidana at the Argentinian’s own game?
Not many people see Floyd losing on Saturday. If he were to give up the style that has worked so well for so many years, however, the chances of him facing defeat might grow exponentially. It’s hard to imagine the guy making that kind of mistake, though, especially with someone like Maidana, who was born to swat.
Yet that still leaves Mayweather with the problem of potentially boring even his most ardent fans after some point. Fight fanatics are clearly less than thrilled with the prospect of coughing up close to a hundred bucks to see Floyd fight a guy whose crowning achievement was besting Adrien Broner. It remains to be seen if casual fans – those who make Mayweather’s pay per view bouts the huge successes they become – are equally dismayed.
If those casual fans are getting put off by the Mayweather show, though, if they’re starting to decide it’s better to save their money than to watch twelve rounds of Floyd dodging punches, the man’s reputation may be in trouble. If there’s one thing Floyd cares about as much as his perfect record – or almost as much – it’s the high number of pay per view buys his bouts bring in. Don’t think he won’t notice it if The Moment brings in less than half of what Mayweather-Alvarez did last year.
What can Floyd do if he finds himself in a Catch 22 situation, though? Does he become a more exciting fighter and risk losing – or does he stay the same fighter he’s pretty much always been and risk having the fans lose interest in him? No matter which way you look at it, it’s hard to find an upside to such a dilemma.
Unless, of course, the casual fans decide they still can’t get enough of what they’ve seen time and time again. You never know. “Survivor” must be on its 600th season already.