If nothing else, Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr., has proven to be a lightning rod for controversy throughout the sports world. One would be hard-pressed to find an individual who has divided Black America so comprehensively; the fact that Mayweather Jr., is arguably this nation’s most prominent African-American athlete has cast his voluminous shadow in ways that one, even the ego-centric Floyd, could have never imagined.
Floyd’s athletic prowess alone translates into him being one of the greatest fighters of all-time. Mayweather Jr., is an undefeated world champion whose reign has covered five-divisions, included ten world titles, saw him selected as a two-time Ring magazine Fighter of the year (1998 and 2007), earned the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) Fighter of the year (2007) and the ESPY Award for Fighter of the year in (2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014). According to Boxing Connoisseur Dr. Anthony Quinn, Mayweather’s “…defensive wizardry in the ring has been compared to ring greats like Jack Johnson, Willie Pep, Pernell Whitaker and Henry Armstrong.” Although the following may befuddle “Money Mayweather” his inside of the ring prowess does not fulfill all of the demands that Black America places on its great fighters.
This nation, Black America in particular, has always loved its fighters. In many ways, the race’s great fighters publicly displayed the dogged determination that the entire race undertook to ensure their survival. However, that status as the race’s leading pugilist came with numerous often unspoken expectations and rules; most notable was the duty to uplift the race away from the ring. Such a matter has caused serious concerns for Boxing Connoisseur Dr. Anthony Quinn who remarks that “Personally, I don’t care for the way Floyd Mayweather, Jr., carries himself outside of the ring.” Quinn goes one step further and compares “Money Mayweather” with the undisputed greatest of all-time, Muhammad Ali by highlighting that “Muhammad Ali was a braggart and he taunted opponents. However, with the exception of Joe Frazier, most of it was good natured teasing toward opponents. Mayweather, on the other hand comes off mean-spirited and insecure whenever you see one of his rants.” One of the more notable ‘rants’ that “Money Mayweather” participated in recently was a desperate attempt to sit on the grand throne that has been reserved for “the greatest of all time.”
During the alluded to rant “Money Mayweather” laid his case for being considered “the greatest of all time.” Citing that he had not been defeated, Ali of course lost several times during his career. The fact that he has achieved things inside of the boxing ring that Ali never did, such as holding ten championship belts over five different weight divisions, is the crux of “Money’s” claim to the throne. However, the very fact that his entire case revolves around what has occurred in the ring highlights the fallaciousness of Floyd’s logic.
“Money Mayweather” most definitely fails to recognize that the title “Greatest of All-Time” is not bestowed upon Ali solely because of his prodigious boxing skills, rather it was a combination of his political astuteness, steadfast determination to stand on the side of right even when he was in the minority — Ali’s stance against the Vietnam War and the exploitation of African-Americans by whites are just two examples of Ali’s ability to confront racial oppression where ever it reared its ugly head — not to mention Ali’s consistent representation of the Race while speaking truth to a powerful white majority. Put simply, Floyd, and those that support him, have little understanding of why figures such as Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Arthur Ashe, and Walter Payton are revered at a level that “Money Mayweather” will never reach; not even money ‘as long as train smoke’ will allow Floyd to reach such heights of respectability.
According to Professor Carl Tone Jones, when it comes to Mayweather “we should…condemn in private, celebrate in public…He could be more vocal about the community, which is probably my biggest beef with him. He ain’t no Ali as a man or even a Robinson (who incidentally also hit his wife a time or two). He is his own boss, and from what I can see, does a lot of dealings with minorities and hiring black people for various things.”
It is the voluminous away from the ring flaws that leads many to view “Money” Mayweather in such a negative light. According to Dr. Quinn, “he is one of the greatest to ever step into the square ring. I wish he would recognize at 38 years of age, there is so much more to life than to flash money and behave in such a manner that brings up all of the negative stereotypes that exist regarding black men.”
I wish that someone would inform Floyd Mayweather Jr., that it is his “Money Mayweather” persona that absolutely guarantees that he will never be viewed as “the greatest of all time” by an informed Black America who realizes that his victories inside of the ring are eclipsed by his antics away from it. Floyd Mayweather Jr., may be undefeated inside of the ring, however, one is hard-pressed to note any victories away from it; and in the larger scheme of things, those are the battles that are not only more important, but also the arena that Floyd will be judged upon.
James Thomas Jones III, Ph.D.
©Manhood, Race and Culture, 2015