I should have known better. I should have known that the fight would suck. I have lived long enough to know that the whole point of spending $100 on a pay-per-view boxing match is so you can complain about spending $100 on a pay-per-view boxing match. There were people back in the day who used to bitch about Mike Tyson knocking out people too quickly, which seems like a groundless complaint now after watching Mayweather bore the world to death. Mike Tyson either knocked you out, or got knocked out trying. Floyd Mayweather is his diametric opposite.
Yes, he won the fight. He threw more punches and he landed more of them and he was the superior boxer, I guess. He won in the same way some neutral zone trap hockey team bleeds out another team. He clearly built his fighting style around with a calculated strategy of gaming the compubox system so that he gets credit for even the most cursory of punches. And he gets away with it because he always looks as if he can do more. It always feels like there’s some grand fusillade of punches in him that he never ends up having to deploy. He looks like he could unload if he ever felt like it, and so he gets an awful lot of credit for all the things he could do but is too shrewd to risk doing. The only time he ever goes on the offensive is when he’s fighting a woman.
To watch Floyd Mayweather box is to witness an elaborate exercise in self-preservation. There’s not much passion. There’s certainly not much flair. There’s just Floyd moving around, doing his best to preserve a rote decision, and preserve the potential rematch, and preserve an unbeaten record that holds more historic value to him that it does anyone else. And yes, his style works, if only in the most cynical sense. Really, it’s the perfect boxing strategy for a man who is a documented wife-beater and shitbag: always doing just enough to get away with it.
The bedrock principle of this little site is that sports and morality have no connection at all. And I believe in that. But Floyd Mayweather is a near universally agreed-upon villain, and so it was hard to watch him dick around in the ring last night—turning what should have been a big fight into an extended sparring exercise—and not think, “Hey, that guy beats up women and fights like a fucking coward.” The art, in this case, is nearly impossible to separate from its creator. I know Floyd is a coward, and so I can’t help but thinking he fights the same way. Always ducking. Always running. The man will never pick a fight he knows he might lose.
Photo credit: Al Bello/Getty Images