The Mayweather Effect – The Mayweather influence is impossible to miss. If you’re an astute follower of professional boxing you’d have to be blind to miss the enormous impact that Floyd Mayweather has had over fighters such as Manny Pacquiao 58-6-2 (38), Miguel Cotto 40-5 (33), Canelo Alvarez 47-1-1 (33) and Danny Garcia 32-0 (18) – as it pertains to the way they’ve managed their careers and how they’ve gone about choosing opponents over the last three years and perhaps even a little further back.
It’s one thing for fighters to make as much money as they can because of the nature of the sport. A fighter’s life could be taken with one-punch on any given night. Nobody begrudges the men and women who step into the ring being paid well for the risk they take; they don’t accept the high risk solely for our entertainment. However, does the boxing public have to be gouged when some of the marquee fighters fight? I, like most, respect all fighters at every level, but at some point the elite guys in the sport have to give the fans more of the fights they want to see if they’re being asking to pay for it. I doubt there will be a single bitch pitched by anyone for having to pay to see the upcoming Sergey Kovalev vs. Andre Ward light heavyweight title bout in November. Nor will they gripe when they are digging into their wallets to pay to see the middleweight title bout between Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez when the fight finally comes to fruition.
The recently retired Floyd Mayweather made more money than any other fighter in boxing history. Some may think of Floyd as being a remarkable fighter in the ring, which is not something I’m on board with totally. Yes, he was a great talent but in my opinion he’s nowhere near being one of the greatest of the greats. But when it comes to managing a fighter’s career and picking the right fights balancing the risk-reward factor…he is beyond a doubt “TBE!”
Notice how Cotto, who I used to love as a warrior, now only fights an opponent who has a legitimate shot to beat him (such as Sergio Martinez or Canelo Alvarez) if the bout is on PPV. Recently there were reports that he was going to fight former featherweight title holder Yuriokas Gamboa, but then his management felt the wrath of the backlash and pivoted, saying that they were never serious about making that fight. As for Alvarez, he’s playing with Gennady Golovkin the same way Mayweather did with Manny Pacquiao. Canelo knows the fight with Golovkin will always be there for him assuming that he doesn’t lose in the interim. While at the same time, Golovkin, who turned 34 in April, is aging exponentially faster than him. Canelo understands the way Floyd did that when the fans have it in their head who they want to see fight whom, nothing can shake them from it unless one of the fighters loses. Alvarez, because he’s such a draw, can order from a menu of opponents who are low risk – and as for Golovkin, the middleweight division is so pedestrian that the chances of him losing are slim and none, and Gennady already knocked out slim.
Danny Garcia is another bright guy who has been influenced by Mayweather when it comes to who he chooses to fight. Danny has a firm grasp that he must remain undefeated at the championship level and fight the biggest names when the risk of losing is the lowest and the purse is the highest. So don’t hold your breath waiting for Garcia to fight either Keith Thurman or Terence Crawford until the chance of him getting a fight with either Mayweather or Pacquiao no longer exists, which is not the case as of yet. And then there’s Manny Pacquiao who is having a hard time getting a cable network to broadcast his upcoming fight with Jessie Vargas on PPV. Perhaps the sand is through the hour glass pertaining to Pacquiao.
It’s pathetic that the only fights in professional boxing that matter in the eyes of many in the boxing establishment are those which supposedly merit PPV, which is a residual of the Mayweather effect. And what’s even worse is today’s elite fighters know it and it’s the reason why they are so judicious in who they fight. Another byproduct of the Mayweather effect is that the results of even the so-called big fights are often a foregone conclusion. It’s a great formula for the fighters but the fans are usually ripped off.
The above fighters have the formula down but they’ll never reach Mayweather’s level because he went one step further in gaming the system. Floyd accepted being the B side and taking the short end of the purse in two mega-fights that were walks in the park for him, namely his matches with Arturo Gatti and Oscar De La Hoya. Then he gets to take credit for having beaten two “monsters.” At this point, he starts to dip his toe into the water of calling himself an all-time great, and finds out that no one is laughing at him. So he escalates that to “the best ever,” at which point he no longer has to fight anyone dangerous; people will now pay to see the best ever. None of the other guys trying to do what he did can even hint with a straight face that they’re the best ever, and none of them has won a megafight in order to establish his bona fides. Cotto comes closest, but he’s lost as many big fights as he’s won.
As long as the paying public continues to pay for fights like Canelo-Smith and Pacquiao-Vargas, we’ll be waiting years to see Golovkin-Alvarez or Pacquiao-Crawford. Floyd conditioned the paying public that he was must-see regardless of the opponent. Manny followed suit and after that fans became fanboys and thought they had to see fights like Mayweather-Guerrero/Berto and Pacquiao-Rios/Algieri. Now the mold has been cast and only the fans can smash it — something I’m not confident will happen. But remember, as long as Canelo makes millions fighting Smith, and Pacquiao pockets millions fighting Vargas — the fights we really want to see them partake in get further away.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com
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