By Sean Crose
“Trouble ahead. Trouble behind. And you know that notion just crossed my mind.”
Those lyrics, from an old Grateful Dead song, popped into my head recently while thinking about widely regarded pound for pound king, Floyd Mayweather. Several weeks ago, rapper/promoter 50 Cent humiliated the man by making a very public and meanspirited “reading challenge.” What’s more, Mayweather is now being sued by his ex-fiance for some truly heinous stuff.
Of course only the actual parties involved know what really happened as far as the lawsuit is concerned. Still, reports of a professional boxer abusing a woman and holding her captive are disturbing, to say the least. While waiting for the slow wheels of the justice system to turn, however, fans have to be left wondering how these stressful matters are affecting that coolest of customers, the man known throughout the fight world as Money.
For Mayweather has a fight this Saturday with Marcos Maidana, a man who gave him a real run when they first met in the ring last spring. Mayweather won the bout, sure, but he left the MGM Grand in Vegas that night knowing he had been in a real fight. Maidana is a tough guy, plain and simple. He also possesses a style which clearly gave Mayweather trouble.
In short, Floyd is going to have bring his A-game into this weekend’s bout if he wishes to keep his undefeated record. How he’s going to be able to do that while being under so much public – and now legal – scrutiny, is anyone’s guess. This is a man, however, who has never, not once, shown himself to be unnerved in the ring.
Oscar De La Hoya had some success against him, after all. So did Ricky Hatton, for that matter. Shane Mosley even rattled the guy early on in their fight. Yet Mayweather went on to defeat all of those men – legitimately and decisively. On every occasion he’s stepped into the ring, Mayweather’s proven himself to be unflappable.
He’s never been under this kind of pressure before, though – even back when he had a jail sentence hanging over his head. People have not only been shaking their heads at Mayweather lately (the lawsuit), people have also been laughing at him, as well (the “reading challenge”). Charges of misogyny are, unfortunately, nothing new for Mayweather. Public humiliation, however, is something else entirely.
For Mayweather is usually the one doing the humiliating. Now that the tables have been turned, he’s finding himself on the receiving end. What’s more, if the reports in the lawsuit against him are true, the guy stands to lose a whole lot of money. It’s hard to imagine these matters not weighing heavily on Mayweather’s mind, no matter how self-assured he is.
And then there’s the matter of Maidana. At the very least, Mayweather knows he’s going to get some bumps and bruises come this Saturday night. Maidana is as rugged – and as dirty – as they come. Even if Mayweather coasts through to a stylistic victory, it’s probable that Madiana will still be able to get a few shots in on him. And Maidana’s shots hurt. Just ask Adrien Broner.
What’s more, an improved version of Maidana may well show up this weekend. Trainer Robert Garcia certainly seems to be promising as much. With all that in mind, then, is the notion that Mayweather might lose on Saturday all that outlandish? Sure, the odds are in Money’s favor – as, in fact, they should be – but outside factors come into play in the workplace all the time. Everyone knows that.
How long, one might ask, will Floyd be able to keep his chaotic life out of his head…as well as out of the ring?