Floyd Mayweather: He’s Gotta Be Him
by Hans Olson
If the first episode of HBO’s “24/7:Mayweather/Ortiz” was ripe with drama and conflict, episode two could be interpreted as a narrative on individuality and drive. In a way, those two vastly different themes converged, together shedding light on the darkness that in which episode one’s final scene was cloaked under.
Photo By Tom Hogan/Hoganphotos/Golden Boy
Episode two’s final scene was a montage of imagery from the camps of Floyd Mayweather and Victor Ortiz. Accompanied with the triumphant “I’ve Gotta Be Me;” Sammy Davis Jr’s classic take on the Broadway hit from “Golden Rainbow,” the lyrical relevance was apparent.
“Whether I’m right or whether I’m wrong/Whether I find a place in this world or never belong/I gotta be me, I’ve gotta be me/What else can I be but what I am?”
The never ending hyperbole on Floyd Mayweather being that of a scared fighter who ducks and dodges opponents will never end, and it’s a tired stance that most take. Floyd Mayweather is not what you want him to be, and he never will be. What makes that intriguing is the fact that deep down, most fans want to like Floyd. His talent is never disputed. He’s shown fire and heart, intelligence and ring-wit. He’s a classy fighter with unmatched talent and ability.
“Is it that I’m young, black, and rich and I speak my mind so they don’t like me?” asks Floyd to HBO’s camera’s as he gets in his road work.
No, I don’t think that it’s any of those things mentioned by Floyd.
It’s that he is those things and he doesn’t care if you like him or hate him for it.
Curiously, that seems to bother people.
“I want to live, not merely survive/And I wont give up this dream/Of life that keeps me alive/I gotta be me, I gotta be me/The dream that I see makes me what I am.”
It’s a call-and-response cheer heard in the Mayweather gym constantly. Dedication and hard work are two ethos Floyd has lived by his entire career, never letting himself get out of shape between fights, always dominating during them. At the WBC’s 30-day weigh-in on August 17, Floyd was already just 2 pounds off the welterweight limit of 147, weighing in at 149.
Mayweather personifies “24/7” not just as the star of the show that bears that name, but of how “24/7” is defined figuratively: ‘with great time and effort.”
“I gotta be serious,” continued Floyd. “This is how I feed my family. I can’t bullshit with this. You know, when it’s all said and done, this is serious. Today when I workout—this is my third workout today—I don’t want to make no mistakes…so I can’t come here and bullshit. I gotta be serious.”
No time in the day is off limits when it comes to Floyd Mayweather’s training habits. A late night workout keeps “Team Money” on call, waiting until his arrival at 1am…his third workout that day.
“You know, late night workout, we call these ‘three-a-days’. When a fighter start doing ‘three-a-days’, then talk to me!”
“That faraway prize, a world of success/Is waiting for me if I heed the call/I won’t settle down, won’t settle for less/As long as there’s a chance that I can have it all”
That this fight against Victor Ortiz is for the WBC’s Welterweight title is nice, but it hardly matters. Floyd has won his titles, he’s made his money. What does matter is his legacy. Sure, it’s not the crown jewel that beating Manny Pacquiao would be, but beating a young, hungry fighter like Victor Ortiz—10 years his junior—would be an achievement.
Boxing is an interesting sport to analyze.
It’s virtually impossible to rate a fighter’s overall legacy at a time when he’s active. Much of how this particular fight is viewed years from now will be based upon what Victor Ortiz does over the duration of his career. Win or lose, we won’t know how important this fight will be for many years.
This fight does have that feel of being something special though…or at the very least, has the potential to be.
“I’ll go it alone, that’s how it must be/I can’t be right for somebody else/If I’m not right for me/I gotta be free, I’ve gotta be free/Daring to try, to do it or die/I’ve gotta be me”
The one individual conspicuously absent for the entire program was Floyd Mayweather Sr. No longer welcome at his son’s gym, I was surprised Floyd Sr. didn’t appear on camera in an interview at any point .
That Floyd still acknowledged the issue without a high degree of stress is another reminding fact that Floyd’s focus can be compartmentalized…something he does very well.
“When me and my dad have a disagreement, all that’s gonna do is make me go out and work that much harder,” said Floyd. “What’s next is September 17. That’s what’s next. I couldn’t care less, I’m not fighting my father.”
In a literal sense, no…Floyd is not fighting his father.
What he seems to fight are the perceptions of others, constantly at odds with his own pride and self-belief. This combative belief is what sets him apart. Floyd’s separation of his in-ring performance from his life outside of the ring has always been impressive. He’s one of those rarities that no matter what the circumstance, under the bright lights he always shines brightest.
Like Sammy Davis crooned about being himself, that is what Floyd must continue to do.
He’s gotta be him.
Boxing Insider’s Hans Olson can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @hansolson