Op-Ed: Is Mayweather undefeated or afraid of defeat?

Posted Nov 25, 2009 by Antonio Figueroa
Each time people discuss the much-anticipated Pacquaio-Mayweather scrap, which is likely to happen in the spring of 2010, the issues on money and clean slate pop up like automatic responses, at times obscuring other facts.
Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. in a promotional photo.
Promotional photo
The Pacquaio-Mayweather tiff, with or without a title on line, is beyond economics. Bob Arum, the Top Rank and the mega-dealers of Las Vegas have always ready solutions for knotty negotiations as this, especially when the discussion focuses on how much money would be earned.
In fact, the fight between the ‘Undefeated’ and the ‘Undisputed,’ to borrow the plug of sports scribe Vivek Wallace, is all about Mayweather ego.
Floyd Mayweather Jr., who calls himself ‘Money,’ has always used the dollar signs in his boastful pronouncements as a publicity stunt. He knows that in a sport where business comes first, the best way to attract investors and for them to dump their currencies on the table is to take money sense.
To further drumbeat his personal stats, Junior always brags about being undefeated, having remained pound-for-pound champ until his tentative retirement, and the appeal he brings to the pay-per-view registers.
To remain undefeated means to test the mettle of the best, something Mayweather has sort of evaded. In the ring, he dances to keep his ‘pretty boy’ image, and outside the arena, he uses his mouth to firm up his reputation as a fraud. Floyd Jr.’s legacy rests not on the truckloads of expletives and egos he unloads. His name is better remembered if he makes sense in the ring by fighting, not dancing; and outside it, by embracing humility. A persona that stinks of trash smells like garbage, but a guy that lives with modesty smells like scents.
No, Mayweather is not a coward; he is only a guy who is afraid to face defeat. He prefers to guard his territory from predators even if such overzealousness to keep his record unblemished at times translates to mediocrity.
Adding hype to the money and clean-slate gimmicks Junior brings to the propaganda stage is the outrageous claim of Floyd Sr. that Pacquaio is into steroids and illegal substance, the same line another dancer named Paul Malignaggi has embraced to prop up a diminishing reliability as a boxer.
For Senior, a guy who makes good in a brutal sport, like Pacquaio, should be a fake, an addict, a fraud, and a cheat. These are ugly suggestions that Floyd Sr. must ask himself when he faces the mirror. Which looks like a substance user, an emaciated face or a genetic freak?
Someone should tell the Mayweathers that in boxing, the measure of greatness after the fight is over is not how much money has been deposited in the bank, but on how well a boxer has shown his skills amid adversity. Boxing is about fighting, not about banking.
You cannot dance all night by using defensive skills as excuse for being enormous. Viewers hate that idea. Great fights, even when there is less money on the table, are staged to settle on the best. Boxing is not boxing when an athlete turns it into a dancesport, in much the same way that money market is not good investment if you employ inside trading.
Great champs like Muhammad Ali, Marvin Hagler, Gabriel Elorde, Alexis Arguello, and Boom-boom Mancini climbed the ring many times in their lives not to dance. They signed deals as boxers with one intention in mind: to fight, win or lose, like a true, ring gladiator.
Additionally, Mayweather should also fight like a man and stop talking like a disturbed woman. He should not ask for the moon when his feet are not well placed on the ground. He should stop telling the world he is the best knowing too well that his best rivals lost to the Filipino bomber in fashions even the Senior has admitted to be surprises.
Fights are not decided by publicity and ego. The greatest ring clashes occur because the protagonists confront each with the fierceness and determination to win even if it means scarring the face, breaking some bones, or tarnishing records.
To Floyd Jr. who is tacitly showing that he is afraid to be defeated, the first round of the future Pacquaio-Mayweather konfrontasi should go to seven-division champ Pacquaio. Call it biased prediction, but Floyd, in that mythical clash, is sure to kiss the canvass the next time he goes up the ring; he would be gobbled by the Pacman.