By Hans Olson
HBO’s excellent documentary series “24/7” returned with a bang Saturday night, Floyd Mayweather reprising the villain role he has assumed through previous installments of the reality show.
That Floyd’s personality rubs certain people the wrong way is an understatement.
That Floyd’s personality transcends the sport of boxing, positive or negative, is an achievement.
“Fuck it. It’s gonna be what it’s gonna be,” a dismissive Floyd Mayweather snarled with confidence when giving his thoughts on his pending legal issues. “If I’m innocent, leave me alone. If I’m guilty, do what you gotta do.”
Statements like that seem to trigger anger from those who acknowledge Floyd as the villain. I don’t understand why…I love the attitude that comes with Floyd’s stance. This is honesty that we don’t get from athletes enough, and or better or worse…Floyd leaves all statements unfiltered. This is why “24/7” is always better when Floyd Mayweather is the star. The unreality that many associate with this type of reality programming is exactly what Floyd plays on, and he may not even know it. We see the oversized personality of Floyd illuminated in a way that adds intrigue to every move he makes. In each successive appearance he’s had, going back to 2007’s “24/7: Mayweather/De La Hoya;” we’ve seen Floyd’s character drift farther away from reality at the same time he’s been articulated by it.
“No athlete works harder than me! Fuck fighters! No athlete works harder than me!” exclaimed Floyd. “You tell me one athlete right now that’s been dominating the game for 16 years straight without a loss. Tell me one, tell me just one!”
Of course, there are plenty of hardworking athletes who could be on par with “Money,” but that shouldn’t be, and isn’t the point. The confidence exuded by Floyd is seemingly rooted in anger…you feel Floyd is almost insulted at the fact that his star isn’t even bigger than it already is. Although this upcoming fight is against the very credible Victor Ortiz; certainly, a fight against Manny Pacquiao(and a win against Pacman) could go a long way towards the universal acknowledgment that comes up shy.
The problem is, even if Floyd outboxes Manny Pacquiao for 12 rounds and beats him handily, many fans and observers will still not give Floyd the credit he deserves. Regardless if Floyd does or doesn’t ever fight Manny Pacquiao…we may not see a fighter as good as Floyd Mayweather for a very long time. We may not see a personality like his either.
“Children begin by loving their parents; after a time they judge them; rarely, if ever, do they forgive them.”-Oscar Wilde
The final scene in episode 1 of “24/7: Mayweather/Ortiz” was one of the more intense the show has aired. What at first appeared to be friendly chop-busting between Floyd and his father over a a pair of opposing female fighters turned ugly. Quickly.
Like thin scar tissue on the face of an aging fighter, a seemingly glancing blow opened up old wounds. The glancing blow here was Floyd Sr.’s continual proclamation that he made Floyd what he is, thus anointing himself the best trainer, and a key point to his argument concerning the female boxers in the Mayweather gym. Still feeling resentment towards his father, Floyd lashed out the line “you can’t train nobody when you’re locked up!”
It got worse.
“Tell me what champ you got right now?” argued Floyd. “Don’t nobody want to be with you! De La Hoya left you! De La Hoya don’t want to be with you. Hatton don’t want to be with you! Don’t no fighter want to be with you!”
Part of Floyd seemed to be defending his uncle Roger, who for his part, has played a vital role in Floyd’s professional career.
Underneath it all though, we saw Floyd bearing the anger from his past. In the same way that Floyd’s anger at those who don’t acknowledge him as the best fighter in the world, it also presents itself towards those around him such as his father who, by attempting to state that he made Floyd who he is—however accurate or inaccurate that is—takes away from the work he puts in. Deeper even is the hurt that Floyd hasn’t forgiven his father for.
Floyd Mayweather is a complex individual.
He may be the most hardworking athlete in all of sports, but he may be the most polarizing as well. If the anger boils over into the ring, we could see a more offensive blitzkrieg against Victor Ortiz on September 17…or we could see it affect his in-ring performance in a way we haven’t seen before.
Although either is unlikely.
Floyd is too smart for that.
He’ll likely do everything we expect him not to do, which always leads to the same result: winning.
The Greek philosopher Aristotle may have said it best when he said “anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.”
Floyd Mayweather does things that are not within every fighter, athlete, or person’s power. The blowup’s we’re privy to as viewers may or may not always seem to come at perfect times, but they’re there nonetheless.
And that makes the real success of Floyd Mayweather all the more unreal.
Boxing Insider’s Hans Olson can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @hansolson