Floyd Mayweather: Fighting Style Not GGG's Favorite
Recently, John Dennen of Boxing News Magazine caught up with the most destructive fighter in boxing, unified middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin.
During the interview, the fighter dubbed 'GGG' discussed boxing legends of the past and present, insisting each one contributed something special.
"I don’t have heroes and idols," Golovkin told Boxing News Magazine.
"There are a lot of great champions, a lot of great styles. The middleweight division: Sugar Ray Robinson, Carlos Monzon, Hagler, [Ray] Leonard, a lot of great champions with different styles."
"Muhammad Ali was like the king. Mike Tyson was a different style, a different time."
"The same as Floyd [Mayweather]: I don’t like his style, [but no one] ever beat him. Rocky Marciano was a great champion, they never beat him, just a different time."
It's not entirely surprising that Golovkin isn't a fan of Floyd's fighting style. After all, GGG is an aggressive knockout artist while Floyd, in the second half of his career, was a very defensive counterpuncher.
Golovkin is correct in hinting Mayweather's style is effective. The foremost strategy in boxing is very simple: Hit and don't be hit. And no one can argue Floyd was incredibly hard to hit cleanly while his quick, precise missiles were difficult to elude.
However, it's not a style that's amenable to the casual fans or mainstream. Against Manny Pacquiao last May, Floyd was savvy and showcased great skills and speed, and what we witnessed was undoubtedly very special, indeed.
But the viewing public, predominantly non-fans and casual followers of boxing whose knowledge of the Sweet Science is limited, was not impressed with Mayweather's highly-defensive, safety- first style and, as a result, found the fight utterly disappointing.
Defense might win fights but offense captivates the masses.
Casual fans and the mainstream don't want to see a strategic, tit-for-tat chess match when they watch boxing. And the Sweet Science isn't the only sport where strategy, skills and technique often take a back seat to offensive fireworks to an endearing public.
The masses watch baseball to see home runs, stolen bases and double-plays, not 1-0 pitchers' duels... They watch football to see long bombs, sacks and break-out runs.... They watch basketball to see no-look passes, reverse layups and in-your-face slam dunks.
... And they watch boxing to see gentlemanly violence.
Only hardcore fans of the aforementioned sports find enjoyment in pitcher's duels, textbook basketball and defensive football games ending with scores like 6-3.
Boxing is no different.
Gennady Golovkin understands the masses, not just die-hard fight junkies, appreciate his brand of boxing.
Boxing is such an easy sport to like so casual fans aren't hard to please. And it doesn't take Hagler vs Hearns, Pacquiao vs Marquez or Gatti vs Ward to satisfy them.
All they want is fireworks, regardless of whether the fight is one-sided.
Not everyone can fight like Floyd just as not every fighter has the tools to adopt GGG's style.
There will always be a mix of boxers and brawlers, and safety-first fighters and agressive knockout artists.
With Floyd retired and Klitschko dethroned, let's hope the new face of boxing is a little less cautious and a bot more offensive.
Floyd Mayweather is one of the greatest boxers ever and his speed and reflexes were mesmerizing, even to the untrained eye. But if top fighters attempt to adopt the style he showcased during the second half of his career, they won't attract enough new fans to keep the sport relevant.