By Kirk Jackson
It appears all indications point towards Floyd Mayweather 48-0 (26 KO’s) facing Andre Berto 30-3 (23 KO’s) in his final fight this upcoming September.
Much to the chagrin of Amir Khan, Keith Thurman, Gennady Golovkin and every other fighter north of 140 lbs. And much to the chagrin of some fans who will seemingly be disappointed with Mayweather’s decision to face Berto.
While the particulars are still being sorted out (determining which network will broadcast Mayweather’s final fight), it appears things are set go for September 12th.
For the frustrated fans and fighters alike, what did you really expect?
Simply put, Floyd Mayweather doesn’t care what you think and why should he?
There isn’t an obligation to fight anyone in particular having already disposed of the biggest names of the sport. He crossed out every name on his hit list. Out of the last 10 fighters he faced, six are already in or will be in the Hall of Fame shortly.
That would include Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosley, Miguel Cotto and Manny Pacquiao. Has he not accomplished what was asked of him in not only facing the pre-mentioned opponents but also soundly defeating each opponent listed?
He defeated the young, hungry, lion, the future torch bearer of the sport, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, beating this younger, bigger, budding superstar with relative ease.
Marquez and Pacquiao are considered legends in their native countries and are widely acknowledged along with Mayweather and Cotto as the best of their generation.
If you happen to be a disgruntled fan, disgusted by Mayweather’s power moves, there is a simple solution. Do not support him.
Do not purchase the pay-per-views. If the rumors are true and this last fight is broadcasted on CBS as part of the Premier Boxing Champions series, bypass watching this fight on free television. You have that freedom.
It’s fair to say people want to see Mayweather lose. Which happens to play a major role in Mayweather’s marketing scheme as the villain.
Sometimes in wanting to see him lose so badly, we lose rationale when analyzing match-ups and critiquing fighters.
For the hardcore fan, it’s easy to view Berto as an undeserving challenger to Mayweather.
Although Berto boasts a respective record of 30-3 and is a former welterweight world champion, he has looked lackluster the last couple of years.
He went from champion and contender to gatekeeper status after struggling (in some cases losing) against the likes of Jan Zaveck, Victor Ortiz, Robert Guerrero and Jesus Soto Karass.
Victories over a few fringe contenders should not elevate Berto’s status to a top flight challenger.
But this elevation of status is something we often see in boxing and theoretically speaking, being the case, every other fighter should be held to the same standard of criticism.
But that’s not how things work. We’ve seen many times Manny Pacquiao get a pass for fighting less caliber opposition. Does Chris Algieri ring a bell?
No disrespect intended to Algieri and Brandon Rios (another opponent for Pacquiao), but they are not necessarily considered elite fighters in their respective divisions.
When facing Pacquiao, for Algieri and Rios it was their first time in the welterweight division and it showed. Regardless, they were outmatched by Pacquiao in experience and skill as well.
Anyone can clearly see Pacquiao is in another class compared to those fighters.
With those respective match-ups for whichever reason, there was not much backlash for Pacquiao and those wins somewhat bolstered Pacquiao’s status and solidified his continual reign as an upper echelon fighter.
But it will be a problem if Mayweather fights Berto. Different standards are applied to different fighters.
Here’s another example, as many fans are clamoring for a match-up pitting Mayweather against middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin.
There is a lack of criticism of Golovkin’s fight selection history. Everything appears to be good with the media and fans as long as he keeps on producing knockouts.
What’s lost is translation is while Golovkin’s handlers are busy calling out high profile, smaller fighters; such as Miguel Cotto, Saul Alvarez, Golovkin’s handlers are conveniently ignoring other challenges.
Erislandy Lara has issued the challenge to Golovkin many times over and Andre Ward has been vocal about expressing his desire to face Golovkin.
Fighting David Lemieux is a step in the right direction for Golovkin, having faced Willie Monroe Jr. in his last bout.
Although possessing the substance of noticeable skill and excitement, with his lack substantial opposition on his resume, there is an absence of criticism.
Renowned trainer and current ESPN Boxing Analyst Teddy Atlas offered his opinions about Mayweather’s legacy and the match-up against Golovkin.
Atlas said, “Why I put Sugar Ray Leonard in the mix of all-time greats was that he stepped up in weight class. He took risks and beat guys like Marvin Hagler. He took risks and performed. That’s why his legacy endures.”
“If Floyd cares about such things, he’ll fight Golovkin, but I don’t think he cares.”
Atlas is right, in regards to fighters who take risks and perform on the biggest stage, in most cases being regarded favorably as time passes.
I could be mistaken, but I think fighting in different weight classes starting at 130 lbs., moving up to 154 lbs. involves taking risks right?
Using revisionist history, let’s not act like the Marvin Hagler Ray Leonard faced in 1987, was the same menacing force who terrorized the middleweight division from the late 1970’s to the early to mid-1980’s.
Atlas’ point is somewhat mute. There is not a mandate for Mayweather to face Golovkin. And Mayweather probably doesn’t care either way.
Whoever he fights, whoever he beats, there will always be an excuse. As long as he’s getting paid the big bucks, that’s all that matters.