“Your love made a slave of me,
But the love you gave you took away from me.”
Why When The Love Has Gone,
Isley Brothers 1967
Floyd Mayweather will be 42 in February. Full on middle age. Irrespective of what he does in the squared circle from this point on he will forever remain one of the finest prize fighters to ever lace ’em up. Fast, elusive and a diligent and instinctive reader of opponent’s weaknesses and ‘tells’, Mayweather’s mastery of the conventional was so complete, so absolute, he could bend and manipulate the old standard tunes with frills and trills in the way Whitney might when faced with a number from the American Songbook. And yet. And yet. And yet.
He still leaves me cold. It is ironic, given his desire to chastise those who follow in his financial wake, that he remains entwined with the sport, however spuriously, in the pursuit of spotlight, of easy money, despite retirement and record breaking earnings.
Like contemporary, Manny Pacquaio, who admitted recently, “When I stopped boxing, I just realized watching some fights I feel so lonely”, the hundreds of millions of dollars they’ve earned are not a panacea against the restlessness of retirement. Perhaps, the effrontery I feel at this morning’s bout with a bantamweight kickboxer debuting as a boxer, to follow the MacGregor larceny of 18 months ago, is a hollow emotion. After all, the fight was no such thing, and Mayweather’s bulky frame only exaggerated the chasm between the two even within the confines of an exhibition.
The fact Mayweather opted to bludgeon the inexperienced and smaller man in a rare act of aggression rather than ‘carry’ him for the allotted 3 rounds revealed weakness not strength. But maybe that is, again, my inherent dislike of the man.
Perhaps it reveals more about me as an observer of a man I’ve never met, that my distaste for the event, the Mayweather performance and much that preceded it within Mayweather’s ‘real’ career, grows with every second I am exposed to the self-styled TBE. A moniker at odds with my own summary of his capabilities, or his prospects had he ever stared across the ring at a prime Tommy Hearns or Sugar Ray Leonard. Or Sugar Shane at Lightweight for that matter.
Ideally, he would, despite all the accepted brilliance he has possessed and provided, disappear into retirement. Alas, he refuses to. Typically, when I’m consumed by this emotion it is in the interests of the fighter in question, with regard Mayweather my hope that he retires is informed solely by disinterest.