By: Kirk Jackson
The legendary boxer known as Floyd “Money” Mayweather announced his retirement several times throughout his professional boxing career.
In spite of the recent exhibition transpiring New Year’s Eve 2018, many observers argue Mayweather’s run in 2015 was his real last stint as an elite level professional boxer, fighting fellowboxing legend Manny Pacquiao and finishing the year and his career against former welterweight champion Andre Berto in September of that year.
But sometimes the proverbial pot of gold at the end of therainbow is too tempting to resist. The bag of gold referenced of course is the holy grail of prizes; the manifestation of back and forth probing and bantering between Mayweather and mixed martial arts star Conor McGregor.
The back-and-forth verbal sparring between the two eventually led to one of the biggest sporting events (entertainment-wise and financially speaking) of all-time. Mayweather walked away from the sport again, hundreds of millions of dollars richer and with a perfect professional record of 50-0.
With the perfect ending, which we rarely see in sports, let alone boxing, one would think that’s it right?
As referenced earlier, from a professional standpoint the answer is yes. As of the end of 2017, the final professional boxing match-up featuring Mayweather was against McGregor. And truth be told, that was more of a spectacle more than anything. Many mma enthusiasts may disagree, but it appeared apparent, Mayweather did not take McGregor seriously and carried him in their bout.
The bout with McGregor was the beginning of the entertainment-exhibition tour Mayweather would embark on and continue into the year 2018 with his latest participant TenshinNasukawa.
Leading into his bout against the 20-year-old Nasukawa, Mayweather was quoted as saying, “I’m in the entertainment business. That’s what I go out there to do. I love to do this.”
“I’m working out to put on a show for three rounds. I’m going to go out there, have fun and do what I do. I’m enjoying life and I’m going to enjoy this experience.”
The eventual bout, fought under traditional boxing rules, in which headlined the RIZIN 14 card at the Saitaima Super Arenajust outside Tokyo, Japan, served its purpose.
Mayweather demolished the young challenger in the first round and reportedly walked away earning more than seven figures for his performance. He enhanced his net worth, his overall stock and stole the spotlight for a brief moment in time.
In spite of criticism from the typical cast of Mayweather detractors, whether it’s mainstream media, the mma world or even within the realm of boxing, these very same critics have intentions of making the same power moves as Mayweather.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>I wish to go to Tokyo to face Tenshin Nasukawa in a Mixed Martial Arts exhibition bout.<br>Before this summer. <br>Please arrange this, this instant. <br>Yours sincerely <br>The champ champ. <a href=”https://twitter.com/ufc?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@ufc</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/ParadigmSM?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@ParadigmSM</a></p>— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) <a href=”https://twitter.com/TheNotoriousMMA/status/1082105433450532866?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>January 7, 2019</a></blockquote>
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Boxing contemporaries Oscar De La Hoya and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez are among Mayweather detractors voicing their displeasure with Mayweather’s business moves and coincidently, they are also regarded as savvy businessmen and former Floyd opponents on the losing end.
Emphasis on losing, as both Alvarez and De La Hoya seek some form of redemption against Mayweather. Alvarez has even gone as far as questioning Mayweather’s merit for recent matches.
“He wants to continue hurting boxing by making fights that don’t make sense … and not giving boxing the credibility it deserves,” Alvarez told TMZ Sports a few months ago.
The question is, if Alvarez was in Mayweather’s position, would he do the same? Because De La Hoya and Alvarez challenged McGregor to a boxing match after he had his turn with Mayweather.
Another question for Alvarez is what type of validation do you seek facing a 41-year-old, naturally smaller, inactive fighter?
Fortunately Alvarez is scheduled to face fellow middleweight Daniel Jacobs this upcoming May, in a middleweight unification bout. Perhaps it would be best for Canelo to focus on middleweights and fighters his size.
Besides is it validation, by defeating Mayweather what Alvarezis seeking, or is it the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?
In many cases, the collective vitriol is a reflection of frustration from the inability to operate in the same manner. Mayweather operates with a ruling class mentality; in which assumes that he who holds the money, holds the power to shape his kingdom. And he holds the same power to impose his rules and orideology upon the society within the confines of his kingdom.
For those who obtain power and possess a certain mentality, they’re typically the ones to transcend the genre and establishnew rules. They set new trends for everyone else to follow.Sugar Ray Robinson, Sugar Ray Leonard, Tiger Woods, Serena Williams, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James are also examples of such.
While it’s fair to suggest Mayweather emulated the styles of old school wrestlers Gorgeous George, Ric Flair and egotistical boxing personas like Hector “Macho” Camacho and a young Muhammad Ali, Mayweather elevated the notion of “Flossin” or “Stylin and profiling” to another level.
“Conor stole the Floyd Mayweather gimmick to come out and talk about the money,” says mixed martial arts fighter and analyst Chael Sonnen, regarding Mayweather’s influence on McGregor.
But from the financial spectrum, arguably Mayweather capitalized more so than any other athlete in history – as far as maximizing earnings and maintaining a level of excellence performance wise.
And with that precedent, its obvious McGregor and Alvarez,among many other athletes in some shape or form studied Mayweather’s every single move, from inside the ring and out.
It’s also a glaring reason why athletes (especially in combat sports) and celebrities associate with Mayweather when it comes to business.
Which brings us back to the question of Mayweather’s current quest? The answer in which we already know; essentially the goal of every prize pugilist, fighting to secure the bag.
Mayweather secured an enormous amount of bags during his time; recognized by Forbes in 2018 as the highest grossing entertainer, subsequently earning top spots lists of the 50 highest-paid athletes of 2012 and 2013, and the Forbes list again in both 2014 and 2015.
As far as his continued fighting career, it may continue in the form of exhibition. Even with exhibitions or “Glorified sparring sessions,” he maximizes that avenue with earning seven figures with his recent endeavor. Fights in the form of exhibition are where the fight trail ends.
It’s likely Mayweather, more than anyone recognizes his limitations as an elite level boxer and whether he can still compete at the highest level. There is drop-off and decline with every athlete as he or she ages. It’s the ongoing battle against Father Time.
So while Pacquiao and more recently Marcos Maidana lay claims to seeking a rematch with Mayweather, a fight with either appears unlikely – unless the bag is too large to resist.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”es” dir=”ltr”>Marcos Maidana ha declarado que está"regresando" al boxeo al publicar un video extrañoen el que se ve enorme. No tengo idea de qué hacer al respecto, pero ha llamado a Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, Canelo Alvarez y Amir Khan. <a href=”https://t.co/2JTn8tA8xQ”>pic.twitter.com/2JTn8tA8xQ</a></p>— edward kairl almarza (@kairllopez) <a href=”https://twitter.com/kairllopez/status/1082838490419732480?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>January 9, 2019</a></blockquote>
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With Pacquiao recently defeating former Mayweather protégé Adrien Broner, many speculate the rematch between the senator and the retired boxer/current promoter is in the works.
To his credit, even at the age of 40, Pacquiao displayed excellent skills and sharp reflexes in his victory over a fighter 11 years his junior. There still is an audience with the desire to see Pacquiao continue his quest, whatever that endeavors – and there still is an audience willing to pay attention to whichever moves Mayweather decides to make.
As long as the audience gives credence to the attention Mayweather seeks and he can secure a sizeable paycheck in the process, we will continue to see Mayweather do what he does best. Make money and make history. Whether that is in the form of fighting Pacquiao or promoting Pacquiao remains to be seen.