by Mark Lorenzana
Floyd Mayweather Jr. is known for his tactical, defensive style when he fights. He might not be a crowd pleaser in the mold of the late Arturo Gatti or current pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao, but you have to give credit where credit is due. The guy is one of the true master practitioners of the Sweet Science.
However, in contrast to his subdued and safety-first attitude inside the ring is his brash, offensive, and loud nature outside of it. Mayweather. is most especially adept at trash talking, and one would be hard put to distinguish between pure theatrics for the purposes of fight promotion and real insulting behavior.
Take Mayweather ‘s latest comment for instance, from a recent Cagewriter report: “In boxing, we know who’s dominating. Black fighters and Hispanic fighters is dominating in this sport. And this is not a racial statement but there’s no white fighters in boxing that’s dominating, so they had to go to something else and start something new.”
Let’s take a look at the current champions in several weight divisions to see if there is any truth to Mayweather’s claim.
In the heavweight division, Ruslan Chagaev and Nikolay Valuev currently share the WBA heavyweight title. Wladimir Klitschko currently holds the IBF, WBO, IBO and Ring Magazine world heavyweight titles. His elder brother, Vitali Klitschko, is the current WBC world heavyweight champion. All four are white. Going down to cruiserweight, we have a couple of white fighters, Tomasz Adamek, the IBF titleholder, as well as Giacobbe Fragomeni, the WBC champion. Over at super middleweight, we have a trio of white boxers, namely WBA super middleweight champion Mikkel Kessler, WBC super middleweight titlist Carl Froch, and IBF super middleweight titleholder Lucian Bute. Felix Sturm and Kelly Pavlik, both white, hold most of the alphabet belts at middleweight. Vyacheslav Senchenko is the current WBA welterweight champion. And, you guessed it, he is white as well.
I’d like to go on and on but I guess I’ve already made my point. Those are already 12 Caucasian boxing champions that I mentioned. So, needless to say, Mayweather’s latest comment about black guys “dominating” boxing is really baseless. Remember, this is the same guy who criticized HBO and their broadcast team in an interview with Grand Rapids Press’ David Mayo last year.
“Even a guy like Jim Lampley, he praises Kelly Pavlik — who has won some good fights, he beat Jermain Taylor twice, we have to give him credit for that — but they talk about Kelly Pavlik, a white fighter, like he’s the second coming or they go crazy over Manny Pacquiao. But I’m a black fighter,” Mayweather. said.
“Is it racial? Absolutely. They praise white fighters, they praise Hispanic fighters, whatever. But black fighters, they never praise. I’ve noticed it for a long time but I couldn’t say anything because I had to do business with them. I’ll still do business with them, but I’m done holding my tongue.”
The HBO team did not praise Pavlik because he is white. They commended him for his fan-friendly fighting style. The HBO people go gaga over Pacquiao not because he is Filipino, but because he fights like there’s no tomorrow. HBO aired an Arturo Gatti tribute not because he was white, and fight fans mourn Gatti’s loss because he was the consummate blood and guts warrior, because of his fights with Micky Ward, and because he ignored pain and physical injury, leaving everything in the ring.
Truth is, maybe Mayweather is just unpopular with boxing fans, especially the casual boxing fans, because he isn’t that exciting to watch.
The truth hurts, but hey, it’s the truth. Mayweather can’t fault the fans if they don’t find him exciting enough. So, as you see, this is not an issue of race at all.
I cover both the MMA and boxing beat for this website and I don’t see a problem at all with both sports coexisting. The last thing we need is negative comments that could fuel hatred and bigotry.
One of my favorite fighters in MMA today is Anderson “The Spider” Silva. He is black. But I wouldn’t have cared any less if he were of another skin color. I really don’t care. I like Silva and respect him irrespective of his race. I follow his fights because I enjoy watching them.
I wish I could say the same thing for Mayweather. I wish I could say that I really enjoy watching his fights.
But then I remember his fight against Carlos Baldomir where a lot of fans left the stadium out of boredom long before the final bell rang.
I hope Mayweather does something soon, before it’s too late. I’m sure he wants to be remembered more as an exciting fighter rather than an “exciting” (with emphasis on the quotation marks) talker.