Floyd Mayweather is the perfect example of damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t. The future Hall of Fame boxer, it appears, is going to fight seasoned veteran Andre Berto in September for what could very well be both fighters’ final 12 rounds in the ring. Before the fight has even been confirmed, Mayweather has been subject to totally asinine levels of unneeded criticism.
The most obvious claim from Mayweather’s detractors is that Berto was beaten via decision by Victor Ortiz, someone that Mayweather knocked out (in controversial fashion, of course, Mayweather nailed Ortiz with cheap uppercuts while he was apologizing for an intentional headbutt) and Robert Guerrero, who Mayweather shut out with ease. A valid criticism, but it shouldn’t entirely be fodder for Mayweather’s legions of critics. Berto is still a game opponent, but one who can’t give the aging Mayweather much trouble, which, in all honesty, is the root cause of the boos raining down on The Money Team. People want to see someone wreck Mayweather, or at the very least get the king to trade shots and make an exciting fight. Berto won’t do either.
The other end of the spectrum won’t satisfy Mayweather-haters either, though. They wanted him to fight Manny Pacquiao, so he did. He won decisively to prove he’s the best boxer of his generation, and that still wasn’t enough. So what does it take for Mayweather to earn their respect? Taking on young, hungry knockout artist Keith Thurman. Even if the unthinkable happened and Mayweather fought Thurman, the result would probably be the same as Mayweather-Pacquiao, and it’s likely boxing fans would still whine “Mayweather ran and hugged the whole fight,” as though it were some crime against humanity that the 38-year old doesn’t feel the need to get hit if he knows he can win by an easy, defensive decision.
Thurman brings nothing new to the table, and Mayweather is bored. He’d rather see his prodigies like Errol Spence Jr. fight the newcomers. There’s not even anything for Mayweather to prove. He didn’t duck any fighter from his generation, and fought as many people who wanted him as he could. Critics can argue that he ducked Pacquiao, but they’re ignoring the fact that Mayweather was probably a heavier favorite had the fight happened in 2010. Before he was knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012, Pacquiao was a terribly reckless fighter and Mayweather would have been smart enough to knock him out the same way Marquez did.
History will be Mayweather’s best friend. People who demand that he get in the ring with the best forget that he already has been on numerous occasions. A fight with Berto is destined to be moaned and groaned over, but a win over Thurman would be no different. Until Mayweather retires, he’ll face an endless list of fighters who his critics think he needs to fight before he “proves himself.” They’re blind to the fact that, love him or hate him, Mayweather has proved himself more than any other fighter of the 2000s.