From the Archives: Woe is Floyd

Floyd Mayweather, Jr in a WWE ring. Bradley Ce...

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I wrote this some time in September. I had hoped to submit this to a sports website or magazine but , due to my laziness, the story’s expiration period to passed me by.

As nemesis Manny Pacquioa prepares to face the execrable  Margarito in a 12-round atrocity that violates all known laws of decency, sanity and merit, Mayweather paces the vast halls of his mansion (a gaggle of Yes Men waiting quietly for their cue to stroke their meal ticket’s ego) anticipating the soul clapping clang of closing steel bars.

In early September, the District Attorney hit Mayweather with a half-dozen charges, two of those being felonies, for allegedly assaulting the mother of his children and stealing her cell phone. Not his finest moment, yet, it comparatively falls in the moderate range of pugilist malfeasance. All those honest with themselves can admit to harbouring secret fantasies of bludgeoning their ex about the torso with a pillowcase filed with doorknobs and batteries – I can think of two ex-girlfriends  who would pay handsomely for such a privilege – though none, save the megalomaniacal and schizophrenic, follow through with the impulse.

 

Three years ago, he’d have been forgiven by his adoring fans; the alleged madness swept under the rug as anticipation turned to his next fight. As a rule, boxing fans are a forgivable bunch. Perhaps our guilty conscience is to blame. After all, we cheer as two men separate eye from socket, tooth from jaw and rib from torso with their bare hands; booing lustily when we are not satisfied with the damage inflicted on one another. As consequence, we look the other way when the aggression we covet and nurture escapes the ring and turns, like a rabid Mastiff, on the world at large.

 

To my surprise, the alleged assault served as hastening kick to the ass of fans already leaping from the five-division champion’s bandwagon. Boxing had grown tired of his antics in the wake of two dubious breakdowns in Pacquioa superfight negotiations and his bizarre, vaguely xenophobic rant on UStream. However uninspiring boxing has been in 2010, it has moved on without Mayweather. Pacquioa had found another (disgraceful) opponent, Sergio Martinez began to emerge as a new star, the Super 6 tournament continued to lurch defiantly along, a death rattle lodged in its throat and Vitali Klitchko, in the wake of the hellacious, stomach-turning beating administered to Shannon Briggs, struck a fear in the heart of American Heavyweights not seen since Ivan Drago murdered Apollo Creed. Yet Floyd had no intention of fading into obscurity (having only fought once in two years) and unleashed, toward Pacquioa, a tirade so uninspiring, childish and ignorant it would not have even been accepted at an SNL pitch meeting. For a man on vacation, with no thoughts or concerns about boxing or Pacquioa, he sure had a lot to say about the man.

 

Usually, such a fall from grace would (for me at least) elicit much gleeful hand rubbing and conspiratorial chuckles. The dark side of human nature revels in watching the gifted, the rich, the beautiful come to their ruin. We secretly believe those with more wealth or beauty are better people and we are relieved when reminded – through a coke binge caught on tape, a domestic assault, or bankruptcy –this is not true. Personally, after watching the second edition of HBO’s 24/7 series, I was satisfied that Floyd, with all his calculated grandiosity and palpable insecurity, was the same as anyone I had ever known. His preening and showboating came across as if he had practiced this personage in the mirror for hours on end, like a high school senior prepping for the titular role in Macbeth. I could not hate this person. I could not exactly pity him either. However, as if sitting in the audience of the aforementioned play, I could be entertained. Now, after playing this same character for ten years, he has become as sad and boring as if the actor playing Macbeth took to streets in his Shakespearean robe, ordering dim sum in sonnets.

 

Although his proclamations of great wealth are increasingly easier to ignore, similar to the way one grows used to noisy road construction in front of his or her home, Floyd remains a majestic boxer; fluid and crisp with his punches, an artful defense and an uncanny ability to analyze, dissect and adjust to his opponents. Arguably, he is one of the greatest junior lightweights of all time, his résumé from 2001 to 2004 being more than enough to make up for the handpicked foes of recent years. His destruction of Diego Corrales remains one of my favorite fights, if only to watch one of history’s greatest fighters put on clinic of someone who, at the time, loomed as the division’s devil incarnate. Floyd is a great boxer, a seemingly great dad (recent allegations notwithstanding) with a simple need, as we all share, to remain vital to his field, to the enterprise to which he has devoted his entire life. As such, I cannot wish ruin upon the man or pray for the inevitable blemish on his 42-0 record. However, I can turn off my TV.

 

RANT: Floyd losing his mind because his baby mama was sleeping with the 10th man on a losing basketball squad has made me wonder: why, in Las Vegas, where one needs only a condom and working Visa to obtain sex, would C.J. Watson choose to sleep with the ex girlfriend of a man who could most assuredly beat him to death? Those too proud to pay for sex need simply enter a club, pay for a tourist’s drink and hail a cab. This just further proves the celebrity sex scene is as insular as a Mormon family. Kim Kardashian, for instance, has had every orifice filled by numerous athletes (so long as he has a six figure signing bonus and is of African ancestry) yet each week she has found another. As flawless as Kardashian looks, I would still bow my head in shame should a bored paparazzo catch us strolling the aisles of a Wal-Mart with interlocked hands. Surely millionaires at the pinnacle of physical health have standards that exceed the local trollop who follows the team bus from city to city with promises of moistened cavities and syphilis? Smarten up black people.

 

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