T-30 Days: A Look at Floyd Mayweather Jr.

The bloodmoney boxing crew has been admittedly quiet, in contrast to other boxing fan sources, about the upcoming Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao superfight and I’m writing today in hopes to analyze why we hesitate in our excitement. Is it doubt? Is it fear? Is it the feeling that we don’t want to be buttered up only to be let down?

“I won’t believe it until the first bell rings…”

“It’s weird that most of the actual promotion work is being done by the fans, as if the boxing powers that be are actually downplaying this fight…”

This blog was founded in 2011 on the theme of a group of friends passionate about the heritage and tradition of the sport of boxing, but also because of the stark realization that the sport was changing right before our eyes, and we wanted to document it’s journey.

To us, it’s no surprise that Floyd Mayweather Jr. was to serve as an important focal point for our blog, but we chose a different stance. We realized that Floyd is just the obvious target and instead tried to look beyond and through Floyd Mayweather Jr. to discover what was behind the fighter, the caricature, the record, the motivation, the values, the philosophy. Kind of like deconstructing Michael Jackson’s stratospheric rise in pop music as an icon, we were similarly analyzing Floyd to understand the truly unique stamp he has and is putting on the sport. Hate all you want, he has created a legacy. It is not legacy that fits the archetype of past legends of boxings, but it is a legacy nonetheless and has changed boxing since Floyd has been in the sport.

Floyd’s 47-0 record is a number people like to put on a pedestal. I will openly dismiss these numbers because I would believe that Floyd felt actual fight competition in the ring only a handful of times, and I’m perfectly OK with that, at least examples of competition exists. It’s only when it doesn’t exist that I start to feel nostalgia for years that have been long past. The present idea of “Boxing competition” has changed the sport and the fans for the worse because it whet audience appetites for “favorites” and such concepts like “A-side” and “B-side”. Al Haymon has fully capitalized on that appetite by creating a boxing world where B-sides expect to lose and are happy to pick up a paycheck, and fans are satisfied following and witnessing “win” after “win” of their favorites as they promote a winner’s lifestyle, instead of championship pride. That’s the thing, though. Floyd the boxer wasn’t manufactured that way, it only seems so. Floyd’s lifestyle, royalty, and on-camera grace veils a championship drive that’s as old as the sport. It’s just that he also happens to be an American living in Vegas in 2015 and has appealed to fans with his achievement of gilded chariots and golden thrones, as opposed to the millions of hours of work that he’d rather downplay with words and interviews in his mansion.

If we look at his boxing we see another story. It’s easy to dismiss and compartmentalize Floyd’s boxing style as defensive. If I were to put words to his style it would be something like “Spiteful Retaliation”. He trains to fight a dragon and makes certain that his body and reflexes can fight the fight three times over come fight night. There’s so much evidence that this fight he’s training more, and respects the potential Manny Pacquiao that will show up May 2nd. This fact speaks volumes on promoting this fight, without any of the mouth that the fans are accustomed to. What does this mean for the fight? What is he preparing to unfold on May 2nd?

I chose the words Spiteful Retaliation because I wanted to write “Tai Chi”, except Floyd does not exude that grace. Tai Chi supposes that energy has existed and has always existed, and all there is to do is to redirect and guide it. Close analysts of Floyd’s style and students of the defensive style of boxing can see that he does that but to me, he taps into his own reserve of energy that actually feeds off opponents energy. That consumption of energy is spiteful. He feasts on the aggressors that he’s welcomed into’ his trap and retaliates with timing and placement. There are other examples of punchers that hurt, but Floyd seems to have studied pressure points on the body and head. Other times, he just plays with the head knowing that disrupts just about every fighter, and keeps them on their feet only to his pleasure of maximizing his time underneath the lights.

It might be telling that Floyd is training so hard. To me it signals a different attitude coming into the fight. To me it’s him challenging the old guard and proving his worth amongst the hall of fame. It does feel like Floyd is coming with a chip on his shoulder and is aiming to not only direct his spiteful retaliation to his upcoming opponent, but also to the whole world. His aim just might be to knock out the entire world on May 2nd.

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