There’s Still No Love For Floyd

By Tom Donelson
Updated: December 6, 2007

IOWA CITY, Ia. — Floyd Mayweather is one of boxing most brilliant fighter and yet, his popularity does not match his skills. His fight against Ricky Hatton Saturday night is another money making PPV event, but like his previous big money fight; he is merely playing the supporting role.

When he fought Arturo Gatti, it was Gatti who brought the crowd. Despite the fact that Mayweather was the superior fighter, he was not the main reason that boxing fans showed up. When he fought Oscar De La Hoya, it was Oscar who made the millions possible. Now he is now merely a supporting role to the British pugilistic star.

Mayweather’s biggest problem is that he is too good. Boxing fans and pundits love their ring heroes bloodied and battered. Fighters are supposed to get up from knockdowns and comeback from certain defeat to snatch victory.

Muhammad Ali did not become the greatest until after he lost to Joe Frazier in the fight of the century and came back to take his title back from George Foreman.

Early in his career, he often defeated his opponent with ease and his bragging often upset his critics. Only when he lost and suffered the humiliation of defeat did boxing fans warm up to Ali.

Sugar Ray Robinson’s greatest moments occurred after his prime in which his boxing skills eroded enough to make him mortal. And those are the moments that boxing fans think about, when they remember Sugar Ray Robinson. So it is with Mayweather.

Mayweather is a confident fighter, sometimes too confident and he often makes his fights look easy. With the exception of his battles with Jose Castillo and Oscar De La Hoya , most of his fights were one sided affairs. With his quick hands and superior defensive skills, Mayweather often controls the fight’s pace.

If Mayweather represent the beauty of the sport, Hatton is the brawler. There is no science in Hatton’s style. He moves forward and if he is not punching, he is holding and physically wearing out his opponent.

Hatton’s goal is to physically destroy Mayweather. Hatton does not want to have a pretty fight nor does he care if he is artistic in his boxing style. He will be happy to allow Mayweather to be an artist, provided the artist does not tattoo Hatton’s face. Hatton is susceptible to cuts and Mayweather is one of boxing most accurate boxer.

Mayweather is once again favorite to win but there is no love for Mayweather. In a way, Mayweather is in a no-win position. If he wins impressively, pundits will say that he exposed the undefeated Hatton and pundits will merely state that Hatton is overrated.

(Never mind, Hatton is undefeated and champion in his own right. It is not like he is chopped liver as the old saying goes.) If Mayweather loses, the applauses will go Hatton way and no one will be clamoring for Mayweather.

Floyd Mayweather deserves an Oscar for best supporting actor. He brings artistry to the ring but he is not the main reason that boxing fans will show up.