And if there is such a thing, please close your eyes as you read this and use your imagination and sense of perception.
You are engulfed in a sea of eyes everywhere you go- and you’ve learned to read minds with a mere feint glance. Because of this, you are told countless times throughout the course of your day just how much you are hated, because of who people perceive you to be.
It hurts you.
You do notice the looks of favor, but that’s tinged with the knowledge that a loss will change that look into one of disapproval. The kind that says: “You fell off.”
You’ve knowingly created a persona that belies the one you’d like to show- but you’re trapped by sub-cultures within a culture, surrounded by vultures whose names you know, and don’t want to give them the satisfaction of being able to pounce on you.
So you defend yourself in a way that invariably winds up being offensive- even though that’s not your strong suit. You can’t win, even though that’s all you’ve ever done. It feels like losing, which in and of itself, is a thought that’s almost as painful as that realization would be.
So you train, constantly, to both alleviate the tension this causes, and to slow down the dial on the clock, if not the minds of those who want to see your demise.
It aint easy being Floyd Mayweather.
Tonight, he just made that task even harder, as he faces arguably the greatest pugilistic challenge of his career in Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. If he loses (and I believe he will), it should not mar what has been the most successful career a prize fighter has ever had in the history of the sport.
Coming out of the 1996 Olympics as a Bronze Medalist, Mayweather was not heralded in the way Oscar de la hoya was, and his early pro career was marked by an enigmatic and contentious relationship with his father and relative obscurity.
He was a kind (and well spoken) person of inspiration, dedication, heart and will. He was also very emotionally fragile, with a tremendous desire to live up to expectations and atone for his father’s lack of achievement in the professional ranks. He fights for both his dreams- and his father’s.
There’s something decidedly noble about that.
A careful analysis of Floyd’s ring persona and style tells you everything you need to know about him. He fights with a practiced reluctance and apprehension until he’s insulted (with punches), then he reminds you that he’s scarred.
He isn’t scared of anyone.
But history will make his heart race, and though he is among the sports’ immortals, he does not want his run at perfection to die. If he beats Alvarez tomorrow night in Las Vegas, absolution will be his, and he will firmly establish for himself a seat alongside the pantheon of the greats.
Is he brazen, sullen, or even over seasoned with the salt of his own ego? Yes. But swim in his waters- and see if you’d be shark enough to survive without being eaten alive.
Good luck Floyd.