Does Floyd Mayweather Jr. have what it takes to be the people's champion?

Diamond BoxingContributor IOctober 24, 2009

BY: Rota Em

The weigh-in debacle, where Floyd Mayweather Jr. blatantly overshot the agreed upon poundage, was what sealed the deal for me. It was, shall we say, the curtain call for any shot of an upset win for the Mexican warrior. I felt that Juan Manuel Marquez had a puncher’s chance, albeit, a minimal risk overall but he still did have the opportunity to catch the not-so-flashy Money Man with some sort of winging punch. But it never came. It never came because that is not how Dynamita fights. He is a tactician who tries to adapt to the habits and tendencies of his opponent. He did so to Manny Pacquiao a couple times in their two bouts but that was because the Pacman was willing to take risks. I guess that’s why one is considered the people’s champion while the other is nothing more than a recent retiree making a return with an expected points victory over a much smaller opponent.

So what does it mean to be the people’s champ?

I’m a firm believer that being a fan of the sport supersedes being a scribe to the sport.

It’s been ongoing for years and years now where the Mayweather family have been running their mouths with talk of being ‘the best’. In their journey towards attaining the legendary status that Jr. wants so badly they must, however, take risks. The same goes for a Vegas bet, you lay down $100 dollars and your winnings/losses reflect the initial bet meaning that you won’t strike it rich really. But if you put it all on the line, imagine the rewards. Instead, Floyd speaks of masses and masses of return while he only wagers chump change.

This will not fly if you want to be renowned as the people’s champion. Even with his win over the forcefully bloated Marquez, his rank in the pound for pound ladder will not jump back to the top. Besides prior to his retirement, Pacquiao was already making moves and knocking on his door as the sport’s best p4p.

Here are a couple paths the Mayweather camp can take to try and salvage their tainted status:

1.        He must fight a legit, primed welterweight. Not just ANY welterweight, a true champion-caliber 147 too. He is at a point in his career where every fight should be a big fight. Even Shane Mosley is stirring up talks about a showdown with Andre Berto while the Mayweather camp, once again, are prepping the public for another trickery in Saul Alvarez. Yes he is undefeated, but so is Arthur Abraham. Why not pick a fight with him instead? Yet they’d rather drop a measly risk on the table and expect people to pay for their next mansion, or tax bill in certain cases.

2.        He must try to take over the welterweight division; there’s no one straight shot to the top of the hill anymore. This is asking a lot from a character that is habitually prone to giving much less than he takes. If Mayweather can take on the division’s top rated players and win, he will start to cement his own legacy. And right now, a start in doing such is where he is at. He is far from being the legend that his father and uncle have been whispering in his ear about being.

3.        Immediately dismiss talks of a Saul Alvarez fight altogether. C’mon, let’s be real. No one wants to see this fight come to fruition. I introduced my younger brother to the sweet science and even he, while in grade school, is ashamed of taking any part of a Mayweather-Alvarez bout. His responses were, “Why not Mosley? Why not wait for Pacquiao-Cotto? Why not Margarito? How about Paul Williams? Can it be someone I’ve heard of at least?”

4.        Lay down the guns and give some sort of window for financial talks. Mayweather must not indirectly avoid a fight by pricing himself too high. Matter-of-fact if Floyd Mayweather Jr. was an automobile and not a fighter, I wouldn’t pay more than he’s worth—so why should we, the fans and boxing’s most important role-makers, pay for a Mercedez when he is nothing more than a top of the line Kia at the moment? Let’s be honest a 50-50 split is his best shot with Pacquiao because personally I think the risk-taking, smaller man should get a bigger piece of the pie if they shall ever meet.

Boxing has already been going through its own ups and downs; it doesn’t need its key players to help sink the ship even more. With figures like Miguel Cotto, Israel Vazquez, and Paul Williams just to name a few, we are consistently reminded by how a real champion looks and acts. In an interview with earlier this month Williams officially called out Mayweather Jr., Mosley, Hopkins, and even Arthur Abraham—while already on task to face Pavlik before the injury. Now that’s brash and brauns at it’s finest. And Kelly Pavlik is no Saul Alvarez mind you.

A week before that interview, Williams told FanHouse the following:”I am a throw-back fighter. We’re in the years of 2000, but I’m a throw-back fighter because I’ll fight anybody. It doesn’t matter who it is… Guys talk all of this stuff that they’re the best and this and that, but they won’t fight certain guys. They’ll stay and fight littler guys.”

Once again, that is brash and brauns at its finest.

I admit that Floyd Mayweather does not have that far to climb in terms of being a true great idol in the sport of boxing. But the next step can only come from him and the choices he makes in the coming years.

In my eyes I see at least three consecutive mistakes made by the Mayweather camp prior to and after the retirement that immensely hurt their reputation and overall worth. The first was their choice to NOT rematch Oscar De la Hoya after the split decision victory. I believe that the slimliness of the decision made little Floyd get on his bicycle although I felt he would’ve beat Oscar via UD, instead of SD, the second time around. The second mistake was to make Ricky Hatton jump to 147 pounds in their fight, a weight in which Luis Collazo gave Hatton big, big fits in. He should’ve proved his worth by fighting the Hitman in his home turf of 140, where he’d never been defeated, instead. This took much luster off their stoppage win. Lastly is the aforementioned Marquez weight catastrophe. That is the equivalent of Pacquiao fighting featherweight titlist Chris John, who beat Marquez in 2006, at 140 pounds and then claiming greatness from it. It just wouldn’t work for Pacquiao’s value as a fighter, much like how it doesn’t work for Mayweather now.

Looks like Floyd Mayweather Jr. has a lot of work ahead of him. The good news is that Paul Williams’ December 5th showdown with Kelly Pavlik is destined to never happen so there’s a start. Another start would be to get in line for the Pacquiao-Cotto winner. Heck, he can even strike a deal with Shane Mosley right now. I doubt Sugar Shane would turn down a fight with little Floyd at 140, 147, or even 154 I’d be willing to bet that he’d even fight Floyd at full-fledge middleweight.

The real question is: Does Floyd Mayweather Jr. have what it takes to be the people’s champion?

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