Congratulations on your win over Andre Berto. For better or worse, it was exactly what we thought it would be. You gave Berto the opportunity of a lifetime. Like 46 men before him, he couldn't make the most of it, losing in lopsided fashion (117-111, 118-110, 120-108).
The fight underscored what you've known for years—there's nothing left for you in boxing. Berto didn't belong in the ring with you. No one does. From the reigning middleweight champion Miguel Cotto to the hottest rising star Canelo Alvarez, you've beaten everyone who matters.
You seem tired of it all and, if I may speak for many boxing fans, we're a bit exhausted by you, too.
The Berto fight was everything many of us have come to dread about the Mayweather show. In the ring with an overmatched opponent, you spent more time dazzling with your footwork than you did pursuing a knockout. On a card filled with action from top to bottom, you stood out.
That's not a compliment.
Floyd, we just can't do it anymore. The Manny Pacquiao fight, the one we pleaded for, was the tipping point. It was like America woke up to the fact that you were never going to become the fighter we all needed you to be.
|By the Numbers: Floyd Mayweather Jr.|
|Date of Birth||2/24/77|
|Record in World Ttile Fights||26-0|
Honestly, that's OK. You found a style that worked for you, negating everything your opponents wanted to do, building a legacy by doing just enough to not lose. Making opponents miss and fans pay is the name of the game. You're a human prevent defense—sure, you may have been slowly poisoning boxing for years with your depressing and economical style. But at least you're a winner!
Fans wanted to see you step up in weight, as so many of boxing's historical stars have over the years, and truly challenge yourself in the the final fight of your career. Before the fight was announced, we allowed ourselves to dream. Maybe you'd challenge yourself against rising middleweight star Gennady Golovkin. Maybe you'd wait on Pacquiao and take a second shot at giving fans the fight they pined for.
But pleasing the fans, no matter what you told Jim Gray after the fight, has never been a priority for you. Why pretend like it is as you prepare to say your farewells to the sport? I respect that you compete for yourself and your family, not for me. You've made that crystal clear for more than a decade.
As you walk away, I hope you show a similar resolve to stay true to yourself. Please don't be tempted to turn around. It's hard to leave the spotlight and the eight-figure paychecks behind. It will only get harder as you watch some new star attempt to wear your crown. There's a reason, after all, almost no one ends their career in combat sports on top.
You will feel that pull. It's happened before. It will take all of your will to resist it. But you should, even if the people around you and your true believers tell you otherwise. You don't want to be here. Many of us don't want you here. For once, Floyd and his haters find themselves in perfect sync.
I know that sounds vile. And if your greatest sin was fighting defensively, or carefully selecting opponents, or inventing an especially obnoxious reality-television alter ego, I'd be singing your praises as you waved your final goodbye. We all would.
Heck, I'd even forgive the distinct possibility that much of your success hinged on performance-enhancing drugs.
But I'm sorry, Floyd, we can't pay that kind of tribute to you, no matter how easily you dominated boxing from the moment you dispatched Oscar De La Hoya in 2007. There will be no victory lap. To allow it would be like dismissing the women you've harmed. It would be a denouncement of your own son, forced to see the kind of violence no child should ever have to encounter.
The truth is, many of us don't want to give you our money anymore. We've given up on tuning in to see you get a bit of comeuppance. A prize fight is not a morality play, and you're too good for your contemporaries. There is no karma to be found in a boxing ring. Social justice has no warrior capable of outboxing Floyd Mayweather.
I hope you're serious about devoting your dotage to your children. We're all capable of change, and you've had plenty of opportunities to learn some important lessons. I hope they stick. I hope you're happy. And I hope we never see you in a boxing ring again.
Jonathan Snowden covers combat sports for Bleacher Report.