Floyd Mayweather: TBE or WWE?
Floyd Mayweather is a boxing genius, it is as simple as that.
Well, not quite, from being arguably “The Best Ever” Floyd is now in danger of ending his career being known as more WWE than TBE.
In 2015, Floyd had ended his career in what was supposed to be his final fight with Andre Berto. This fight would be Floyd’s 49th and importantly to many this would see Floyd equal the mythical Marciano record of 49 fights unbeaten. Many said that Floyd had picked an easy mark to finish off his career and to do this when matching the mythical Marciano record was almost sacrilegious.
I defended Floyd as surely given his outstanding achievements even his hardest critics could give him that one. They argued that many of his opponents had been handpicked or avoided until they were past their prime. I argued that his record and list of opponents was nothing short of spectacular, that he was also not a prime Mayweather when some of these fights came to be. These arguments went back and forth, they still do….
Floyd was now retired, his career had now passed into bar room arguments on whether or not Floyd was “The Best Ever”.
Would he have out boxed a marauding Duran?
Would Leonard have enough boxing ability to force Floyd to trade?
Would Hearns have had the style to give Floyd nightmares?
Mayweather had sat astride the boxing world for a number of years, casting a huge shadow over other fighters whom couldn’t match him in the ring or as a self promoter. His retirement had left a gap, sure we still had Canelo, an ageing Pacquiao and the fearsome Golovkin, but who would replace Floyd?
The pretender to Floyd’s throne was however not to come from Boxing. A superstar was emerging from a pretender to the overall crown as thee combat sport. That sport was the UFC and their superstars name was Conor McGregor.
Boxing had long looked down on the UFC as nothing more than a crude, indeed classless comparison. For years fans of the UFC had shouted that it would overtake boxing as thee combat sport. Boxing fans laughed and pointed to the history of boxing.
The UFC was seen by boxing and boxing fans as nothing more than a side-show. It was a car crash that everyone rubbernecked at whilst on the way to watch the virtuoso of combat sports, boxing.
McGregor however was a different animal. He smashed UFC PPV records, gate receipt records and brought a never before seen global attention to the UFC. He could fight, he could talk, and he ran through the UFC roster making Ali like predictions. He berated all the fighters no matter what weight division and was becoming thee name in combat sports.
He was the fighter the UFC had been praying for.
As McGregor smashed his way through the UFC he was running out of opponents to fight. Now on the search for huge paydays befitting his status, one name began to cross his lips, Floyd Mayweather.
Floyd was retired though…right?
Both took to throwing jabs in the media but as time passed it looked unlikely the fight would happen. Floyd was sitting on a pile of cash, an unbeaten record, a legacy. There was no reason to come out of retirement to fight, least of all to fight a UFC fighter.
Whether it was Floyd’s ego, lust for money or both, the allure of a fight with the pretender to his vacated throne proved to be too much. The rise of a new superstar on Floyd’s watch would not be ignored.
Victory for Floyd would surpass the record of Rocky Marciano, but against a UFC fighter with zero top-level boxing experience really?
How could they sell the fans this one? Surely this was nothing more than a side-show, a circus act, a non event?
It was now time to bring out the clowns, see the bearded lady and for the circus to begin.
Sparring footage was released of McGregor besting a retired and out of shape Malignaggi. In the footage McGregor dropped Malignaggi and seemed to give him a lesson. In the eyes of most this was enough to convince them that McGregor had a chance. In fact not just a chance, he was going to deliver the KO blow to Mayweather, which the likes of Canelo, Pacquiao and Shane Mosley couldn’t.
Intoxicated by the hype, fans genuinely discussed who would win.
The hype machine did its job, it had done an amazing job.
NOW WE HAD A FIGHT
The press tour rolled on with both fighters trying to outdo each other at every turn. Some hilarious moments occurred but more and more it resembled Monday Night Raw. By this point if The Rock vs The Undertaker had been added to the undercard no one would have batted an eyelid, we were sold.
The fight in itself proved on the face of it to be entertaining.
Floyd employed tactics of walking forward with the guard high, what was he doing? McGregor fired in the punches, on occasion catching Floyd clean. The fans roared, could McGregor be about to deliver the upset of all upsets?
The answer was always, no.
Floyd in using those tactics delivered a piece of entertainment and fulfilled a promise to make the fight an exciting one. In hindsight that entertainment was little more than smoke and mirrors.
Floyd had employed tactics designed to allow McGregor to punch himself out. McGregor had struggled with stamina in his UFC wars with Nate Diaz and Floyd was out to exploit that.
As soon as Floyd started to punch the gap between the fighters was apparent. After a few rounds of literally not throwing a punch Floyd started his assault. First he started to jab to the body, then he brought in spearing rights to the head. As we passed the mid rounds Floyd’s hands came down and he started to go through the gears. McGregor although brave was starting to show the signs of war. Although he had won some battles he wouldn’t win the war and this war was coming to its end.
The end came in Round 10, McGregor was exhausted, due in part to Floyd’s tactics of allowing McGregor to punch himself out. Floyd was also landing punches at will and the referee having seen enough to realise that this fight was over, stepped in to save a brave McGregor.
Floyd had won, he had beaten the Marciano record and he had pocketed over 300 million dollars. Once the smoke cleared fans however started to see what had happened, we had been Vince McMahon..ed.
Fans now asked how could this now be counted as a proper boxing match? Not only that but it was the one to break the mythical Marciano record. The arguments started but it was on the record and that was that. Floyd was once more retired.
Rumours are now circulating that Floyd will once more rise like The Undertaker to meet a new challenge from the UFC in McGregor destroyer, Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Rumours (Created by Floyd) are also abound that he could also rematch with his old boxing rival, Manny Pacquiao.
Khabib had recently destroyed McGregor in the UFC, ergo that means he should now fight Floyd, right?
Pacquiao was allegedly injured in the first fight, injury free he would now smash Floyd. So makes sense to roll that fight back, doesn’t it?
The truth is most of us don’t want to see either fight, we know exactly what we are being sold.
Khabib is a wrestler and to even suggest he could beat Floyd in a boxing match is insane. No need to talk tactics, any suggestion Khabib could beat Floyd by anyone, should see them put in a padded room to reflect.
Pacquiao is way past his best, as is Floyd. The first fight was one-sided, the second would be exactly the same. The truth is Floyd would have beaten Pacquiao at any time in the years that have passed. He would always have been just too good for Pacquiao.
However like it or not either fight would still sell. Fight fans are unfortunate easy marks for promoters, our love for the sport often overrides our common sense. Our Stockholm Syndrome kicks in on the eve of a fight and we hit the buy button on our respective PPV platforms, almost every time.
The only really interested parties in either fight are our captors. Those who would stand to make millions from either fight and possibly Floyd’s accountant. If the rumours are true then Floyd could actually blow through his fortune. Couldn’t happen, could it? One name…Mike Tyson.
So unless Floyd needs the money and is truly to be discussed as TBE (The Best Ever) he simply cannot afford another “Monday Night Raw” extravaganza.
The Rock knew what “Was cookin”, does Floyd?