You probably missed it on Saturday night when the greatest boxer of our generation fought for the last time. Unlike May 2nd when the world gathered to watch Floyd Mayweather take on Manny Pacquiao, not many tuned in to witness the last fight in Money Mayweather’s career. The future Hall of Fame boxer who calls himself “The Best Ever (TBE)” fought in a joke of a matchup against Andre Berto (30-3), who was completely overmatched in what Mayweather’s usual style. Slip, roll, defense, occasional counters, moving, and of course extremely over-priced. And that is why boxing is not all that sad about Mayweather leaving, in fact the fight world seems pretty damn excited.
Maybe they’re excited because now instead of paying $100 to watch a man land a total of 81 power punches in a 12 round fight (stats vs. Pacquiao), you could watch sluggers like Canelo Alvarez land 87 power punches in a 3 round knockout (stats vs. Kirkland) for free on HBO.
And it’s not just about the money, even though Floyd will tell you it’s always about the money. Sometimes it is just about wanting to watch a good fight. And although there isn’t a boxer in the world that is as competitive or as skilled as the undefeated welterweight champion, his fights are anything but watchable. Twelve rounds of one man swinging and missing and the other fighter not fighting is hardly a draw for boxing fans.
However with Mayweather out of the picture the fight fans will be more entertained with….well….more fighting. Floyd Mayweather has been the biggest draw in boxing since his 2007 match with then Golden Boy, Oscar De La Hoya. And without him, boxing fans will not be the only people to know the names Canelo, Cotto, Kovalev, and Golovkin. All of whom fight in a violent style that is much more entertaining to the ducking, dodging, and often “running” that has made Mayweather the greatest boxer in the world, and his Pay-Per-Views the biggest waste of money in the world.
And after May 2nd’s giant let down in what was built up as the fight of the millenium, casual fans that were not in the boxing community seemed to swear off the sweet science that seemed just to be running and missing punches. It was hardly Hearns-Hagler of the 1980’s that it was made out to be. And for the last 10 years Mayweather’s boring style has concealed what is actually a very talented group of boxers that the world needs to get to know. But with Mayweather gone, maybe boxing will open back up to those casual fans who expect violence and ferocity when watching the sport. When Triple G looks for his 21st straight KO against fellow slugger David Lemieux on October 17th the world should take notice. And the Canelo Alvarez v. Miguel Cotto fight that is slated for November 21st should be the fight the country talks about. All four fighters in these contests fight with a style that is sure to excite even casual fans, which would be great for boxing.
So I’m sure the sport of boxing will miss the skills and competitive nature of the best fighter our generation has ever seen. But maybe not as much as you think. And watching Golovkin, Canelo, Cotto, Kovalev, Matthysse, and Lomanchenko will make you forget about Mayweather quite soon. Ok, so not forget about him; but maybe realize that boxing is better without the man who has cast a shadow of dullness over the sport for too long.