"Life is a roller coaster... My father got shot in the leg while holding me in his arms. I've seen my father sell my mother crack. My father went to prison at an age when I needed him the most. My best friend got killed on his birthday and a week later got buried on my birthday. They cheated me in the 1996 Olympic Games and I received a bronze medal when I knew in my heart I deserved the gold. My aunt who lived with me sadly died of Aids. Seven of us used to be crammed in a one-bedroom apartment with no hot water. Through it all, I always knew God had my back. Tough times don't last, tough people do!"
Floyd Mayweather, via Instagram on 10/30/2013
"Reading this from him today made me reflect on this article you are about to read, which I wrote a few days ago. He was clearly reflecting today in public- and he did it for a reason. We don't have to know someone all that well to write about them, no more than we do when we talk about them. But we should. And if that isn't at all possible, then the hope would be that we at least understand them. What he's trying to tell people in the statement above that he released in social media is that he's in pain. He wants love. For all the money he's made, he's not been able to find contentment or "true love" on sale anywhere. Which is why we've seen such darkness from him at times. His above statement represents losses that have hurt- and still do. To lose a fight, would throw him out of the roller coaster."
THE DARK SIDE OF BRILLIANCE.
Coming down 125th St. in Harlem while advancing toward Hell’s Kitchen in Manhattan, an associate in from Los Angeles notices the Apollo Theatre to his left like a true tourist. He’s the adventurous sort and veers off to get an up close look at the iconic structure. Understanding his wanderlust, I engage in a kind of my own, but not before shouting the address to where we need to go.
”How do I get there?” he asked.
“You’ll figure it out!” I responded.
There was a parked SUV directly in front of me to my left as I headed east, and I could see his outstretched arms above his head in frustration in its reflection. Almost as if to say: “Wtf?! He left me hangin? Really?”
Life, like a stranger in a foreign place, will find its way in the world. The two are entwined- and can’t have harmony without the other. For Floyd Mayweather, his life is boxing and his world is the pursuit of glory. It is a perilous journey, which can leave one lost if they’re not careful, and I trust my friend will find his way.
But there is no way to be careful in Boxing… Is there?
At a corner newsstand I scoop a bag of candy before noticing a bright copy of Ring Magazine featuring Floyd Mayweather and Saul Canelo Alvarez on the cover. It’s roughly a month before that fight. For no particular reason, I turned around to face my very recent past and took a portrait that has come to symbolize my impression of the enigmatic Mayweather. I raised my phone up and snapped at the street image, not prepared for how surprising the result would be. Its dark outside, but a certain streetlight gave the night an almost impossible sun in the photograph.
And like Floyd, brilliance does indeed have a dark side.
THE ROOTS OF EVIL- REAL AND IMAGINED
How do you tame greed in favor of cooperation that would benefit both an individual and society? Though he is very much an 80’s fighter in spirit, skill, and preparation, Floyd Mayweather is a modern boxing version of Gordon Gekko. This is somewhat of a paradox, because he doesn’t cheat to win.
Or does he?
There are many who bemoan his well documented use of lidocaine on his hands before fights, something that is only legal in Nevada on the big fight stage, and he himself has been linked to PED’s. As ESPN’s rather straight forward primary fight writer Dan Rafael correctly pointed out not long ago, Floyd Mayweather actually settled the lawsuit levied against him by arch-rival Manny Pacquiao “after” his camp threatened to delve deeper into these allegations.
While this doesn’t in and of itself doesn’t prove anything, it does make you raise an eyebrow. He did, afterall, essentially eschew a fight with Pacquiao on the premise that he wasn’t fighting under a level playing field. Yet it was he who called a man into suspicion that later won a lawsuit against him.
You know how somebody farts, stinks things up, and then goes: “Who did it?!” Chances are somebody’s gonna go, “You did!” Well, the “1st one said it – let it”, definitely might apply here. It is also rooted in contradiction, which is something else that has come to define perhaps the most talented all-around boxer in the history of the sport.
Mayweather’s lust for power and greed, has at times, left him filled with envy and wrath, something which was on full display during promotions for his bout with Oscar De La Hoya. Floyd, who became a real brand as a result of this fight, has been meticulously guided by the notorious Al Haymon.
And he’s done a masterful job.
In the 7 or so years under his guidance, Mayweather has become the most successful prizefighter ever, and it’s remarkable to track what he’s done and how he’s did it. In 2006, Mayweather lobbies for and gets a fight with Zab Judah, who’s coming off a loss to Carlos Baldomir. This sparked the infamous exchange with then ESPN fight analyst, Brian Kenny (this is hilarious and relevant to this story). Floyd deems Zab easier competition than Baldomir, someone he’d eventually come to face in a gladiator outfit, only to fight like a sprinter.
This moment in time was proceeded by bouts with Sharmba Mitchell and the late Arturo Gatti. For perspective, Mitchell was a totally past his prime fighter from Washington, DC who’d never been a welterweight. Right before his fight with Floyd, he’d been brutally stopped by Kostya Tszyu. That didn’t stop Floyd from facing him in Washington in front of “his” fans, and he did the same thing with Gatti when he ran roughshod over him in Atlantic City, NJ in 2005. For perspective, De La Hoya destroyed a more prime Gatti in 2000. After De La Hoya makes him a household name with their May 2007 mega-bout and HBO 24/7 run-up, Floyd faces Ricky Hatton before “retiring” from the sport rather than rematching Oscar or fighting anyone else in the deeper than deep pool of talent at welterweight around that time. He only fights Hatton, after watching him struggle at 147lbs against crafty lefty Luis Collazo (who really beat Ricky), then gets into a pitched battle with him in an epic victory.
But Hatton was unbeaten at 140lbs, which is where Manny Pacquiao damn near killed a Floyd Mayweather Sr. trained Hatton in May 2009. Floyd completely avoided Kostya Tszyu and Antonio Margarito in their primes as well as Paul Williams. And his nearly two year sabbatical from the sport resulted in a return to face Juan Manuel Marquez at a “catchweight” of 144lbs. Photograph comparisons of a piss drinking Juan Manuel (who’d never been above 135lbs) in September 2009, to even the one we just saw recently against Bradley, reveal two different athletes. What’s more is Floyd stacked the deck against Marquez by deliberately coming in at 2lbs over the weight limit- sealing Marquez’s fate (as Nacho Beristain acknowledged before the fight).
All of this is both clever and shrewd in an evil almost evil way- and he’s continued to be both to this day.
He once derided Pacquiao’s win over Cotto for the catchweight bout at 145lbs, dismissively declaring that the fight doesn’t count. Such logic would nullify his victory over Marquez for cheating, and it would forfeit his most recent win over Canelo who he fought at a catchweight of 152lbs. Of course it doesn’t (and shouldn’t), but Mayweather has to stop contradicting himself and be accountable.
He also must fight Manny Pacquiao.
You cannot be sued by a man you called a liar and accused of fighting your "leftovers", when you lose a lawsuit to him and then fight his leftovers (Cotto). There is talk of a bout with – get this – Bernard Hopkins, but that’s all it is. Given that he and Pacquiao have shared common opponents, who have no acts of God to report concerning Pacquiao, then Floyd needs to cut the sh*t and settle this rivalry if Pacquiao annihilates Rios (which I think he will).
It was Charles H. Spurgeon who wrote:
“You will never glory in God till first of all God has killed your glorying in yourself.”
Your move… Sun.