Floyd Mayweather vs Gennady Golovkin? 'Money May' would comeback in a heartbeat if...Written by Leroy Cleveland
What prompts a ridiculously-rich legendary fighter to come out of retirement to face the best?
Is it the money?
Let's face it, money plays a role. Hence, ridiculously wealthy boxing legends don't fight for free.
But is there something else?
Perhaps bravado or pride?
Maybe it's jealousy or the lure of yet another challenge?
To some degree, it's probably all of the above.
In 1982, Sugar Ray Leonard was the best, most popular active fighter in the world.
"When will Leonard move up to middleweight to face his peer, Marvelous Marvin Hagler?" the masses asked?
But after discovering he had a detached retina, Leonard, filthy rich, would abruptly retire the same year, much to the dismay of the public.
He'd comeback two years later to knockout a contender only to retire yet again immediately afterwards.
Leonard vs Hagler would never happen.... Or so it seemed.
Finally, two years after his comeback fight and four years after his initial retirement, Leonard finally succumbed to his urges. He decided to challenge Hagler , who was still considered a top 2 or 3 pound for pound fighter at the time.
And the rest is history... Leonard, who had never boxed as a middleweight, used his speed, skills and ring grit to earn a split decision over the middleweight great.
Will Floyd Mayweather, like Sugar Ray before him, succumb to temptation?
Today, fans ask: "When will Floyd move up to middleweight to fight the best?"
The keyword is "fans."
Fans want Mayweather vs Golovkin but the masses wanted Leonard vs Hagler and Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao.
Floyd Mayweather vs Gennady Golovkin would be the modern-day Leonard vs Hagler of sorts, except for one very important element - Gennady Golovkin, although arguably comparable to the legendary Hagler in ring prowess, dominance and durability, is nowhere near the mainstream icon Hagler was.
After Leonard retired, Hagler donned the cover of Sports Illustrated several times and was frequently being featured on TV talk shows and commercials. Media darling no more, Leonard started feeling like a forgotten man... a presumed has-been.
Boxing had crowned Marvin Hagler as its new face and the 'Marvelous one' relished the spotlight once enjoyed by Leonard.
In the mid 1980s, Hagler's popularity reached epic proportions. Even the grandmother on the street corner recognized the fearless, bald man with that piercing stare and shredded physique. But most American males today in any age range would walk by Golovkin without notice, despite his impeccable credentials.
Is Floyd Mayweather chompin ' at the bit to face Gennady Golovkin?
"He is saying things about a comeback, he just seems to be fixated on Golovkin ," Gennady's trainer, Abel Sanchez, recently told On the Ropes Radio.
"I’ ve seen three or four pieces in the last couple of weeks where he’s talking about beating Golovkin , it looks like he’s laying the ground work for something, whether it’s Golovkin or somebody else. Floyd’s laying the ground works for a comeback."
... Wishful thinking.
Floyd Mayweather was the highest paid athlete in all of sports for several years and until this year. Given he doesn't need the money nor is freely willing to jeopardize his perfect record, only bravado, ego and perhaps a little jealously or resentment would bring Floyd out of retirement.
It happens to the best of them. Jack Dempsey, Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson, Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns , Larry Holmes, George Foreman, Joe Louis and the list goes on...
It would happen to Floyd, too.... If Golovkin were a mainstream icon who had stolen 'Money May's' luster, Mayweather wouldn't be able to resist the temptation. Call it machismo or human nature but Floyd, like endless legends before him, would comeback in a heartbeat in an effort to reassert his superiority.
At this moment, though, Floyd Mayweather, although retired, still gets more media attention than anyone else in boxing. Mainstream publications such as ESPN , Forbes, USA Today, BBC, TMZ, Daily Mail and Huffington Post still file rhapsodic reports about the 'Money' man daily if not weekly.
Google 'Floyd Mayweather.'
Retired or not, his ego is being fed on the regular and he's still the sport's alpha male, for better or worse.
As a result, there's no reason to return. What does Golovkin have that Floyd wants?
The spotlight still shines brightly on Floyd while few outside of the boxing community know who Golovkin is.... And that's an absolute shame.
From a skills and accomplishment standpoint, Gennady Golovkin should be as recognizable as Steph Curry yet he still toils in relative obscurity.
If Team Golovkin wants any chance of a showdown with Floyd Mayweather, it must find a way to shift the spotlight off Floyd and onto Gennady. Once Golovkin starts to getting the level of mainstream adjulation, fanfare and respect Floyd has enjoyed for years, the latter will most certainly bite.
He has too much bravado and pride not to.
But will Gennady ever reach that level of popularity?
Golovkin might be the best fighter in the world. He deserves to be on a pedestal but until he is, Floyd will have no reason to fight him.