By Hans Olson
In Oliver Stone’s 1987 film Wall Street, Michael Douglas’ character Gordon Gekko famously stated “what’s worth doing is worth doing for money.”
Photo: Gene Blevens/Hogan Photos
Gekko epitomized what it was to be an anti-hero; in 2011 Floyd Mayweather does so just the same. One glaring difference though, is that Floyd Mayweather isn’t truly an anti- hero. He’s just anti whatever hero the American public buys into.
Just as Gordon Gekko cared not for the ethical appreciation of others around him, Floyd Mayweather needs not the appreciation of those who refuse to appreciate him.
The negotiations for Floyd’s potential super-fight with Manny Pacquiao are nothing short of exhausting. If Manny Pacquiao defeats Juan Manuel Marquez this Saturday as most expect him to, we could be in for another round of ridiculous negotiations, sure to be ripe with all the drama of a Hollywood script.
Mayweather has already secured the date of May 5, 2012, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The opponent has yet to be named.
“I look at a hundred deals a day. I pick one.”
In Wall Street, Gordon Gekko was a corporate raider who would make money at all cost. Floyd Mayweather is a fighter who wins at all cost. He also makes Gordon Gekko-style profits. The central theme to Gekko’s quote above is akin to the negotiation process between Floyd Mayweather and Team Pacquiao. Although fight fans need the fight, Floyd Mayweather doesn’t need the fight. Neither does Manny Pacquiao.
Would I love to see it? Certainly.
Unfortunately, we don’t live in a world where this fight is possible. With as much money as both Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao make fighting opponents other than each other, it makes little sense financially for them to fight. Manny Pacquiao’s publicity team would have you think otherwise. They would have you believe that Floyd Mayweather’s stance on strict USADA drug testing is nothing more than a ploy from Mayweather to avoid the fight. In reality, the USADA demand has provided us with the knowledge that Pacquiao either a. doesn’t want the fight, b. doesn’t want the test, or c. doesn’t need the fight. Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum will then find the next opponent to match Manny with, most likely Tim Bradley. He’ll then claim Floyd ducked the fight.
Floyd Mayweather will just take a look at hundreds of offers to fight the next best available opponent who wants the fight, and that will take the test. He’ll pick one. Floyd Mayweather is his own boss.
“Greed captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit.”
When Floyd Mayweather fought Oscar De La Hoya in 2007, he changed the business of boxing. The fight racked up a whopping $120 Million in revenue generated from the Pay-Per-View; 2.7 Million homes had ordered the broadcast—a number due in large part to the “24/7” reality series that Floyd Mayweather created with HBO to heighten the promotion’s buildup. On it’s smaller scale, boxing has remained similar in nature to where it was beforeMayweather/De La Hoya. On the largest scale, boxing has changed dramatically. The success of Manny Pacquiao can draw a direct line from that of Floyd Mayweather. It’s been not only the common opponents of Floyd that did this (De La Hoya, Hatton, Mosley), but also the promotion each had already received in the “24/7” franchise. Boxing evolved with Floyd Mayweather’s foresight, and though many saw this foresight as greed…the first person to thank Floyd Mayweather for their success should be Manny Pacquiao. Floyd’s supposed greed has translated into Manny’s wealth.
Moving up in weight at the time to fight De La Hoya could have been considered Floyd Mayweather’s pinnacle achievement. Floyd himself thought as much at the time…even contemplating retirement after winning. That years later many consider Floyd’s legacy hinging on a fight with Manny Pacqauio is ridiculous. Floyd’s evolutionary spirit enabled Manny’s success, and continues to do so to this day.
“It’s not always the most popular person who gets the job done.”
Many people don’t like Floyd Mayweather. When referencing this Gekko quote, I’m referring not to popularity as it relates to Floyd’s overall recognition—he’s one of the most famous athletes in the world. When I reference popularity as in that quote, I’m using poetic license to argue for Floyd as it relates to the admiration that one Manny Pacquiao may receive as compared to Floyd Mayweather. Yes, Manny Pacquiao may be more of a beloved character, especially to his homeland, and the many fans who appreciate his public persona. It’s not out of the question to also suggest that Manny Pacquiao’s appeal to white America has been strategic, whereas Floyd couldn’t care less about how white America views him. We live in a different world now, one that doesn’t hinge upon the acceptance of white people. Manny Pacquiao is viewed as safe. He’s the soft spoken, humble gentleman. He won’t say anything to upset the apple cart.
“He’s just doing his job.”
“He just wants to make the people happy.”
Keep in mind, these are not bad things. Manny is to be applauded for this.
But does that mean that Floyd Mayweather needs to be ridiculed, and is pointed as something one should strive not to be like?
I don’t see Floyd Mayweather for any verbose comments he makes, any money he burns, or any security guard he may or may not have poked.
I see a hardworking fighter who is always in shape. A gym rat. A workaholic. A success. A guy who gets things done in the ring. 42 times in, 42 times successful.
We don’t live in a world where popularity needs to be applauded anymore. I live in a world where despite whatever flaws someone has, their success needs to be applauded.
“It’s all about bucks, kid. The rest is conversation.”
Boxing Insider’s Hans Olson can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @hansolson