Boxing comes to a perilous crossroads after Floyd Mayweather exhibition

Floyd Mayweather

Sean Michael Ham

Boxing’s undefeated five-weight world champion Floyd Mayweather did what he does better than most on Sunday night in Miami – he made money.

Firstly, what’s plain to see is that it was nothing to write home about. No pure boxing was apparent to speak of through the entirety of the main event. Floyd plain old just made money.

Since then, anybody stating his YouTuber opponent justified his place in the sport or that “he won” purely got caught up in a moment that will not be of any significance in the future.

Statements declaring, “Boxing got new eyes on the sport” and “at least [the YouTuber] went the distance with the great Floyd Mayweather” are predictably doing the rounds to disguise the sheer embarrassment of what took place 24 hours prior.

Those without blinkers know full well that Mayweather carried his opponent over the line. At one point, Mayweather virtually propped him up after a solid blow inside.

It wasn’t vintage Floyd, and he didn’t even train for the fight, evidence of which was written all over his body.

Let’s be honest here, the “Money” man is 44. At this point, he’s just looking for the easiest way to make millions.

We all know the vlogger in the opposite corner was the least dangerous he could have chosen, despite a huge weight differential.

Those 35 pounds are probably the only thing that kept any interest in this event whatsoever. I, for one, hope it’s the last one where we ever see Floyd involved.

REAL FIGHTERS

The whole show did nothing but polarize professional fighters who hold ambitions of one day seeing their name in lights on the Showtime Pay Per View platform.

And to those ‘new fans’ people are talking about, it Floyd Mayweather and his buddy did were to put out a substandard product for them to witness.

We will not expand the sport’s good name for the long term if that’s the showcases on offer. As a result, more fans are likely to switch off.

This path is not the way boxing should be heading. Undoubtedly, social media cannot control what takes precedence.

The solid foundations of the PPV criteria used to be talent. Those building blocks solidified our sport as the number one back in the day and subsequently allowing networks to charge the higher price in the first place.

All that hard work is now getting diluted. It’s getting thinned out to the point where it won’t be viable for anyone with less than a million followers to become PPV.

Let’s get back to those days when the very best take the most lucrative spots on any network. Highlight stars for their exceptional skills, not how many followers they have on a platform mainly for teenagers.

Floyd Mayweather
Sean Michael Ham

RABBIT HOLE

We’ve firmly gone down the rabbit hole, and it hasn’t done anything but line the pockets of two people who aren’t even boxers, a load of sponsors, and a network.

Floyd is retired, and let’s not get into what his “opponent” brought to the table.

PPV enthusiasts have to shun the new standard for becoming eligible for the paid platform. If we don’t, only the most deserving champions will suffer.

Take Briton Josh Taylor, for instance. He won the undisputed super-lightweight crown in the United States. But, unfortunately, the primary network in the country decided to pick up the Mayweather fight and completely ignore his triumphant victory.

In what world is that the correct decision?

OUR DUTY

We have a duty to those who put their lives on the line every day for our entertainment. We shouldn’t hold a candle to anyone who doesn’t do that themselves in a dangerous spot.

Floyd Mayweather was too skilled to suffer any real damage. He also took it easy on the other guy, so the “influencer” didn’t either.

This kid gloves approach is not boxing. It’s not the sport we love where warriors put their heart and soul into becoming the number one in their respective divisions.

Something has gone wrong big time here. We’ve got lost in a wave of a new generation fixated on likes, shares, watching other people play video games, and goofball phone-taken MP4 clips.

Boxing cannot afford to get involved in that kind of trap. As Ricky Hatton famously said, “this is not tiddlywinks.” You get hurt in this sport, you bleed in this sport, and most importantly, you have to take it very seriously.

On Sunday night, both men were not showing evidence of this when smiling to the camera between punches and hugging for a significant portion to avoid hitting each other.

We’ve lost that. We are becoming a far less genuine sport. Those training like demons to hone their craft and take glory are getting slapped in the face by it.

FLOYD MAYWEATHER vs. YOUTUBER PATH

Those who fought 100-round fights in the late 1800s. Those who battered each other in 15-round wars through to the 1980s. And those who have given their lives to compete at the highest level.

Going down the path that we are currently heading is a disservice to all of them.

Please do not allow anyone to make a mockery of our sport. Please do not allow a new generation to alter our sport unrecognizably. And finally, do not line the pockets of YouTubers who don’t have the dedication or care that those who make boxing their life and sole focus for providing for their family.

Furthermore, the longer we sit down and take what gets dished out, the faster we will shed what we hold dearest – boxing’s hardened reputation. We lose that, and we lose everything.

The views expressed in this article are that of Phil Jay.

Phil Jay is the Editor of WBN. An Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America since 2018. And a member of the Sports Journalists’ Association. Follow on Twitter @PhilJWBN.