FLOYD MAYWEATHER ON ESPN — I’ve always maintained that as great as he was on the basketball court, there was nothing more boring or condescending than a Michael Jordan Sunday night conversation on ESPN. Move over Michael, because Floyd Mayweather is in da house and he’s every bit your equal, perhaps even surpassing you.
Is he going to fight again? If so, when is he going to fight again, and if he does fight again, who’s it going to be against? I wonder who that might be? If you guessed former pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather, you’re right. You just correctly answered the easiest boxing trivia question since Muhammad Ali mischievously asked a Howard University assembly in 1968, “Who’s The Greatest?”
As to the question of whether Mayweather will fight again, the answer is yes. He hasn’t fought since September 12th, 2015, but he is definitely fighting one more time to notch his 50th consecutive win before hanging the gloves up for good. But who will he fight? Will it be another boxer qualified to get in the ring with him or will it be Conor McGregor, the biggest star in mixed martial arts in a money grab?
This past Wednesday Mayweather spoke publicly in what was promoted as being a “no holds barred” interview on ESPN. Floyd was an in-studio guest on ESPN’s “First Take” with hosts Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman. Both have a working relationship and quasi-friendship with Mayweather. Kellerman’s relationship is more professional via his work on HBO Boxing and Smith is a friend and one of the ultimate Floyd apologists. However, both Kellerman and Smith did their journalistic best to try and glean information from Floyd as to what his future plans are – a job much easier said than done because Mayweather proved once again that he’s just as elusive in conversing as he is hard to hit in a boxing ring. Floyd was masterful in over-talking and redirecting legitimate questions into short speeches on how successful he is and how, even though he’s no longer fighting, he’s still the biggest name and most relevant fighter in combat sports.
After letting Floyd preach a bit, Kellerman and Smith would try to go back in, asking him if he’s going to fight Manny Pacquiao again or if he’s serious about fighting Conor McGregor. As for whether he would fight again, Floyd said, “As of right now, absolutely not, I’m very comfortable.” And then he went on to say how everybody picked Pacquiao to beat him, which isn’t true, and how he shut the experts up by winning the fight easily.
Then Kellerman shifted gears and asked him why he’d want to face someone like McGregor, who never fought as a boxer, and Mayweather went off on a long diatribe regarding how much money he’s made, saying somewhere upwards of $800 million dollars, all of it invested well, and how little Conor has made compared to him.
“We tried to make the Conor McGregor fight. They knew what my number is. My number was a guaranteed $100 million, that was my number, we’re the A-side, and I don’t really know how much money he has made before, I’m pretty sure he hasn’t even made $10 million in an MMA bout, but we are willing to give him $15 million and then we can talk about splitting the back-end percentage on PPV. But, of course, we’re the A-side.”
After more than 30 minutes of moderate give-and-take, Floyd did say “The only thing that I’m probably interested in is probably the Conor McGregor fight.” Without much clarity from Floyd, one is left to connect the dots as best one can. And with that, it’s becoming clear that Mayweather is no longer interested in looking to enhance his legacy as a boxer. No, Floyd is more interested in a gimmick exhibition and gouging the willing public one last time. Face it, Mayweather is a genius when it comes to reading the prospective market. He knows that other than fighting Pacquiao again, fighting the most celebrated mixed martial artist in the ring would be a piece of cake and net him at least a nine figure paycheck.
I’ve kept quiet regarding my thoughts on Mayweather fighting McGregor in the ring. However, now seems like a good time to give my first (and last) take on it. And believe me, it’s not the most sophisticated opinion I’ll ever have. But in the ring, McGregor has no shot and would be defenseless against Mayweather. Even though he first started as a boxer, Conor isn’t even a C-plus fighter in the ring versus elite level opposition, let alone Mayweather. I believe Floyd would torture Conor and humiliate him and wouldn’t seek to knock him out.
That said, biased rodeo clowns the likes of FS1’s Skip “Knowless” Bayless will aid both Floyd and Conor in hyping the exhibition into a monumental financial success. That’s because Bayless knows nothing about boxing and despises Mayweather. He’d get the anti-Mayweather crowd stirred up in a frenzy.
The only clarity that came from the ESPN interview came from Kellerman a little over two minutes into it when Max basically asked him to define what “TBE” means. To which Mayweather inferred that it doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s the greatest fighter/boxer ever and that’s good because he’s not even among the top 10 pound-for-pound fighters in boxing history.
“TBE,” in Floyd’s view, applies to the whole boxing game. In other words, Floyd Mayweather amassed more money than any other fighter, never lost a fight, and retired from the cruelest sport with his health and wealth and the respect of his peers intact. And that’s something even the biggest Mayweather critic in the world cannot deny him.
Other than that, the entire conversation was a waste of time as it didn’t shed a morsel of light on anything most boxing fans and observers didn’t already know – as much as the two hosts tried.
Frank Lotierzo can be reached at GlovedFist@Gmail.com
Floyd Mayweather on ESPN / Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel.