Floyd Mayweather: Last fight and legacy, and its impact on boxing
With Saturday night’s bout against a vastly over-matched Andre Berto (30-3 23 KO), pound for pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. (48-0 26 KO) will be riding off into the sunset of a brilliant career.
Will it really be Floyd Mayweather's last fight?
If so, I would venture to say I summed up Mayweather’s 19 year professional career in articulate fashion in my piece “Mayweather’s Legacy”, so I won’t use this article as a platform to delve into the specifics of Floyd’s 3 decades as an in ring competitor.
Suffice it to say that Mayweather has been atop the pound for pound ranking for the better part of 15 years, he has never officially tasted defeat, and he has captured world championships in 5 different weight classes.
Rather, I will use this literary platform as an opportunity to express how I feel about Mayweather’s exit from the sport as well as his near farcical choice of final opponent.
At 38 years of age and many seasons spent as a veteran of the ring wars, it only seems fitting that Mayweather hang up his gloves after Saturday night’s fistic encounter. However, unlike many of his exiting contemporaries, Mayweather is far from a shot fighter and has has shown little to no signs of erosion in defeating his last several opponents.
The main impetus for Floyd stepping away is that he has simply garnered an exorbitant amount of wealth, prestige and success in the sport to the point that it no longer makes sense for him to continue fighting after this Saturday night.
I think that Floyd’s retirement helps the sport, yet hurts it at the same time.
Floyd retiring and thus vacating his 147 and 154 pound titles opens the door for younger talent to step up and make a name for themselves. It gives boxers such as Keith Thurman, Errol Spence, Amir Imam and a handful of other young world-class hopefuls the chance to grab the torch that Floyd is passing, and attempt to become legendary themselves.
Simply put, Floyd’s stepping away from the sport is great in an evolutionary sense for boxing.
Unfortunately, Floyd’s exit, should tonight serve as Floyd Mayweather's last fight, devastates the economy of boxing.
Modern boxing sadly is a business-first enterprise. With no one in the sport even coming close to earning as much as Floyd does per fight or matching his buyrates, the business side of boxing will definitely be sad to see Floyd go.
Furthermore, there is no one even remotely on the horizon who could step in as even a semi-competent successor to Floyd’s lofty throne as “Cash Cow” for the sport of kings. It will be a long time indeed before boxing finds it’s next big box-office draw.
If Floyd were not a businessman first, then perhaps he would have challenged himself by facing some of the aforementioned younger talent in his swansong as a professional fighter. But Floyd is a businessman, and a great one at that. So, instead of fighting an undefeated young champion like Keith Thurman in his final bout, he will be facing a faded former Welterweight champion in Andre Berto.
Ahead of this fight, I say, "Thank you, Floyd, for the memories. But you should have fought Pacquiao 5 years ago as well as tonight's shopworn opponent."
I officially predict the 5 division World Champion Mayweather to stop the former 147 lb. titlist Berto in the 8th round by TKO.
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