Since our article on Floyd Mayweather ran in July, I've received notes from countless fans and even a number of professional boxing writers who've said that they cannot continue to support a man with his history of battering women and utter lack of remorse. Even ESPN got in on the act—well, ESPNw did, to be more precise, with a scorching piece from Sarah Spain. The coverage on ESPN's boxing page is as fluffy as ever, centering on a Dan Rafael exposé on how well Floyd is blocking out distractions (like, for example, Sarah Spain's article). For many people, Floyd's record of abuse is reason enough to refuse to buy Mayweather's fight tonight. But for those of you who are still on the fence, here are 10 other reasons why you should consider tuning out.
1. It's too expensive. Up to $80 for a televised fight? That's insane. You can buy tickets to much better fights for less than that. Here are just a few of the better things you could do with that $80:
- Donate it to a battered women's shelter
- Take your family to the movies or a ballgame
- Buy any two of the fine French Champagnes I reviewed here, or up to eight of the outstanding domestic sparkling wines, and have yourself a helluva party
- Pay yourself approximately one
inning'sout's worth of salary for AL All-Star Josh Donaldson
- Get $80 in quarters; finally get the top high score on Frogger at your local arcade
- Light it on fire
2. The fight will not be as good as the first one. Are you kicking yourself for not ordering the first fight and watching Marcos Maidana give Mayweather his first real scare in forever? Well, don't expect the rematch to be as competitive. Maidana fought the fight of his life in the first fight whereas Mayweather seemed off his game. Both men are likely to revert closer to their mean performance level in the rematch, which would make Floyd a huge favorite. Moreover, Floyd is known for adapting to his opponents' style as the fight wears on. Floyd has had 12 rounds to get to know Maidana. You can bet he'll close any holes in his game that were on display in the first fight. Floyd has only fought one other rematch in his career, against José Luis Castillo. The first fight was close and controversial; the rematch was a clear Mayweather win. Expect history to repeat itself, with a dull, wide Mayweather decision.
3. The undercard is dreadful. There was a time when undercards routinely featured compelling matchups between top contenders to sort out who would be next in line to face the winner of the main event. Those days are gone. The culprits? The promoters and managers. Instead of working together to make the best fights possible, promoters now will only match their fighters against other fighters from their own stable, guaranteeing that they will continue to own the rights to the winner. So while you'll get to see exciting knockout artist Leo Santa Cruz on the undercard, his opponent (Manuel Roman; 3-2-2 in his last 7 fights) is so unknown that Showtime doesn't even have a photo of him available on its website. Don't expect much.
4. According to multiple sources, Justin Bieber is singing the National Anthem. First, he's Canadian. Second, he's Bieber. Third, did I mention he's Bieber?
5. It will be on for free next week. We could all stand to get better about delaying gratification. And since the outcome isn't much in doubt, you don't even need to worry about spoilers. Just hang on and catch the replay on regular Showtime next week. Of course, there may be ways to watch it for free tonight, but I wouldn't recommend it.
6. Mayweather isn't what he was. Floyd Mayweather likes to say he's the best ever, which is a joke among serious boxing fans and historians. Mayweather has cultivated an undefeated record by avoiding his toughest competition during what has been something of a lackluster era at his weight level. He managed to avoid Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito when they presented serious challenges to him, and didn't fight Hall of Fame level opposition like Oscar De La Hoya and Shane Mosley until both men were at the very tail end of their careers. Had Mayweather come of age 10 or 20 years earlier, he might have found it harder to avoid the prime versions of De La Hoya and Mosley, or compete with the likes of Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Durán, and Tommy Hearns.
Still, while the prime Floyd Mayweather was surely an all time great—probably in the top 50 fighters of all time, which is no mean feat—is he still in his prime today? Most experts think not. Floyd can barely use his once formidable legs, and his handspeed and reflexes—still the best in the game—seem to have slowed a tad. Roy Jones, a similarly unhittable fighter in his prime, quickly became a punching bag in his old age once his reflexes dipped. Does that mean Floyd is primed for a disaster? Probably not, but you're no longer seeing an all-time great fighter, even if you're being asked to pay for one.
7. Nevada is still corrupt. What if the unthinkable happens and Maidana strings together yet another epic performance deserving of victory? Don't count on the judges giving him the nod. Unless Maidana can knock Floyd out—a longshot, since he never seriously hurt him in the first fight—he'll have a near-impossible time winning a decision in Floyd's hometown in a fight promoted by Mayweather's company. Do you think the Nevada State Athletic Commission can be trusted to keep things fair? Think again. These are the same individuals who recently called Mayweather a "good vicar" for the sport when he sought his promoter's license in Nevada. One commissioner, Skip Avasino, went so far as to publicly promise he would not ask Mayweather any tough questions during the hearing and flashed him a grinning, congratulatory thumbs up as the Commission voted to approve his license. Remember, this is the same Commission that's been busy suspending fighters for non-performance-enhancing recreational drugs and which has the power to deny a license for any brushes with the law.
8. Dallas Buyers Club is on HBO. Great movie.
9. Your waistline. Sure, watching a fight by itself won't cause you to gain weight. But no one just watches a fight. You'll be downing beers one after another and feasting on the world's least healthy snacks, all while not budging from the couch for hours. Didn't you just promise yourself you were going to lose some weight? Get outside, or go to an indoor shopping center where you'll at least be on your feet. Plus, you can spend that $80 you saved on a new outfit.
10. Boxing is still a goddamned tragedy. Boxing is a sport where the goal is to cause enough brain damage in your opponent that he loses consciousness. It's also a sport that chews up and spits out its most vulnerable athletes: the B-side fighters, the guys who will never headline their own pay per views, the guys who even Floyd Mayweather needs on his way up, but forgets about once he's on top. These guys have no retirement plans, no health insurance safety net, no pensions. They go and sacrifice their bodies, and sometimes their minds, for the sport, and wind up broken and often dysfunctional by the time they exit their 30s. Floyd Mayweather will make at least $32 million, and probably significantly more, tonight. How much of that will go to help out these suffering souls? None of it. Even the NFL provides some safety net for its retired athletes, but boxing's lack of a central oversight body makes that impossible. If boxing were any other business, we would all boycott it. Maybe tonight is as good a night as any to start.
IronMikeGallego (Daniel Roberts) is a longtime boxing fan and occasional contributor to Deadspin. He can be found on Twitter @ironmikegallego or at email@example.com.
Photo via Associated Press