By Sean Crose
Boxing Insiders’ Kirk Jackson offered an interesting take on this weekend’s Mayweather-Berto showdown. In short, Jackson seemed to feel that Berto doesn’t stand much of a chance against Mayweather, but that it would be ridiculous to write the Haitian warrior off entirely. He also made it clear that Berto has faced better competition than most other “big names” out there and that many will criticize Floyd nomatter what Floyd does. Jackson was right on all counts.
Still, it’s a lot to ask someone to cough up the better half of a hundred dollars to see Floyd and Andre throw down this weekend. Even with a very solid undercard, the chances of Berto getting the upset are simply too great to warrant the high cost. Not that the fight wont prove to be a financial success (though the powers that be will never let the public know one way or another), but it simply won’t be a Mayweather success – that is, a fight which brings in between 1 and 4+ million pay per view buys.
The truth may be that Berto isn’t the problem so much as Berto’s lack of buzz is. Think about it. People wanted to see Manny fight Floyd for years. Maidana, meanwhile, was hot off of beating the red hot – if perhaps over-rated – Adrien Broner, while Canelo was “the next big thing.” Even Guererro had gone through Berto himself. See where this is going?
Berto, as Jackson rightly claimed, is far from a bad fighter. He hasn’t exactly been riding high lately, though, losing several of his last half dozen fights. And that sort of thing hurts the financial chances of a bout this big. With that in mind, though, I suspect this weekend’s bout might be surprisingly exciting. Berto, as everyone knows, “brings it.”
Then again, a lot of fighters who “bring it” have been lulled to sleep by Floyd’s mastery. The man’s defensive prowess, coupled with the fact that he’s allowed to hold as much as only a modern fighter can (do contemporary fighters even know what in-fighting is at this point?) has led Mayweather to be nearly as much master hypnotist as he is fighter.
That, too, however, may be part of the problem. People seem to have simply had it with Mayweather. His braggadocio, coupled with his less than thrilling style, appears to have exhausted the public in general. In fact, indifference to Mayweather-Berto may simply be a continuation of a trend, begun back around the first Maidana bout, a trend that was alleviated by the May 2nd circus, but that is now back in full force.
Lastly, it’s hard to deny the fact that seasons simply change. After the absolutely insane hype that led to Mayweather-Pacquiao, people are just ready to move on. The great question of who would win has been answered. What else, really, is there for Mayweather to say? I suspect that even if Maywerather were fighting Amir Khan this weekend, there would be a sense of anticlimax about it. People are hungry for new stars and that may just be all there is to it.
There are those who have claimed they think Floyd will go for a knockout on Saturday. Maybe he will – then again, that might be a shaky proposition when the guy he will be trying to KO is as rugged as Berto. Remember, Floyd will be trying to tie Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 record. For a guy who loves being undefeated as much as Mayweather does, risk can be a frightening word.
If Floyd were, however, to win via knockout or stoppage this weekend, it would certainly bring back some of the heat he’s lost recently. Would fans suddenly push for a 50th fight, however? Would Floyd even want one, for that matter? Some argue Floyd will try to break (as opposed to merely tie) Marciano’s record no matter what if he beats Berto. The question is, what would Floyd have to do to make the fans care, really care, at that point?
And would he even care to do it?