LL Cool J once said that the secret to longevity is reinvention. As a rapper of historical importance who transformed into a well-known actor, he’s certainly qualified to speak on the topic. Over the years, we’ve seen other celebrities reinvent themselves and go on to have a prosperous “second act.” Singer Sonny Bono had a promising musical career in the 1970s that saw him paired with the legendary Cher. He later became a politician and was elected Mayor of Palm Springs.
However, not all reinventions are positive. When Michael Jackson released the album Thriller in 1982 it looked as if he was going to be the biggest sensation in the history of music. While he is considered by many to be the “King of Pop,” he’s now equally known for scandalous accusations and legal troubles as he is for his contributions to music. The same can be said of rapper Flavor Flav who was a member of Public Enemy, a group that was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013.
Unfortunately, most people under 30 years old have no idea he was a rapper; they think of him as the reality TV star with well-documented struggles with crack cocaine. These examples show that reinvention can be positive or negative. Staying relevant at all costs is often not worth the damage is done to one’s reputation.
Floyd Mayweather’s questionable motives for fighting again
Floyd Mayweather was once the biggest draw in all of sports. With each pay-per-view bout, the legions of fans both for and against him grew larger and larger. His brash proclamation that he was “TBE,” The Best Ever, offended some yet there were others who agreed. In 2015, he and Manny Pacquiao gave the world the long-anticipated fight fans had been anticipating for years with bated breath. “Money” Mayweather won a unanimous decision that night, and it seemed to most fans that he had nothing left to prove.
However, over the last few years, he’s gone out of his way to keep himself in the spotlight. As a man who’s been rich for so long that it no longer takes any getting used to, Floyd Mayweather‘s mid-life crisis cannot be satisfied with the purchase of a sports car. Instead, he finds himself de-legitimizing his boxing pedigree by matching up against amateurs who have no business in the ring with him. His next such bout is scheduled for February of 2021; this is clearly a case of reinvention gone wrong.
In August of 2017, Floyd found himself in a boxing match against MMA superstar Conor McGregor. While McGregor is certainly one of the best athletes in the world of combat sports, mixed martial arts is an entirely different animal than boxing. Known for being a striker,
Conor’s punching ability was used by Floyd Mayweather to promote the idea that his opponent actually stood a chance. However, knowledgeable fight fans knew that there was no way McGregor could overcome Floyd’s decades of training in the sweet science. Even though it was a lopsided affair, both fighters enjoyed a huge payday and Mayweather declared it was the last time anyone would see him in the ring.
Boxing fans should demand a better product than this
Unfortunately, the lure of cameras and the attention of fans is something Floyd Mayweather could not live without. How else could one explain his decision to fight on New Year’s Eve in 2018 against Japanese kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa?
It is rumored that Floyd only received nine million USD for the fight, an amount certainly of no significance to him. Again, Floyd Mayweather stipulated that the rules be kept within the confines of boxing thus taking away any advantage the other athlete might have. “Money” didn’t even show up in shape for this circus and easily beat Nasukawa by knockout. The question is, at what cost? Fights like this do not help his reputation; instead they degrade the sport of boxing. In gyms all across the world, there are amateur boxers giving everything they have to train with the hopes of one day getting a chance to display their skills on a large platform. Floyd Mayweather is disrespecting their hard work by giving opportunities to guys who have not earned it.
On February 20th of 2021, a lot of my friends will be gathered in living rooms or sports bars watching Floyd Mayweather climb into the ring against Logan Paul. I for one, will not. I would rather stream a movie, and crack open a beer than watch a former champion in his 40’s fight an aspiring fighter who’s current record is 0-1.
If he’s not careful, Floyd Mayweather will soon be known as Gervonta Davis’ promoter who also does exhibition bouts. Younger fans will not take the time to research him beyond what they are being presented with. The shame in all of this is that at his best Floyd Mayweather may have been the best defensive fighter in history. He was very difficult to hit and rarely was he hurt. He may not be the best pound for pound boxer of all time, but his name has to be brought up in any serious discussion on the topic.
If he were a washed-up fighter who was never good, his involvement in circus bouts wouldn’t matter. The fact that he was legitimately great is what makes these latest developments so tragic.
Hopefully the fight is called off
The famous philosopher Henry David Thoreau once said “We are constantly invited to be who we are.” Floyd Mayweather is a great ex-champion who paid his dues to the sport of boxing and has nothing left to prove. It would be great for the man and the sport he’s forever linked to if someone in his inner circle could convey that message to him. Hope has not run out.
If Boris Johnson can complete a Brexit deal in time for Christmas, there’s still time to talk Money Mayweather out of an ill advised bout against an amateur. For the sake of boxing, let’s all hope that logic and reasoning can overcome an aging star’s lust for the spotlight.