Mayweather vs Berto: A Season of TakingWritten by Marc Livitz
The wait can be as disappointing as the outcome.
The anticipation can feel as if it was forced upon us only to be slapped with the cold and vain truth. Whether by way of deaf ears or perhaps pure indifference, Floyd Mayweather, Jr. has chosen his opponent for his September 12 contest at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. His adversary is a tough and game fighter, however he is not likely one of the names we would have drawn from the hat. To be fair, it's Floyd's advertised retirement party going down in Sin City next month, but so many of us were so very misleadingly led down a cherry lined path by many within the boxing know in the hopes that the bout would be broadcast on network television as opposed to pay per view.
The opponent of choice is not Keith Thurman. It's not Amir Khan, Kell Brook or Tim Bradley, Jr. It's Andre Berto. A matchup with Berto would have sold much better in say, 2008 or so.
At that time, Berto (30-3, 23 KO's) was in some ways flying high across the medial rungs of the welterweight division as an unbeaten WBC champion, however Mayweather (48-0, 26 KO's) was "retired" for all of that year and the majority of the next. Although Berto has lost three of his last six bouts, all of his losses were part of exciting ring wars.
As is well known across the board, Floyd has a way of doing what he wants, how it wants and whenever he chooses to do so. Such an approach has enabled him to become the highest paid athlete in all of professional sports and the day he decided to change his persona for good should be commemorated with a stone monument. The fact that the September contest will likely cost home viewers over sixty dollars should come as no real surprise to any of us, especially not when it's coupled with a handful of other bouts that have no business on pay TV.
Hard-punching Kazakh champion Gennady Golovkin's October bout with David Lemieux is neither on network nor premium cable. It's a pay TV contest, as laughably is the rematch between Shane Mosley and Ricardo Mayorga set to take place at the end of this month. That particular fight is being staged at the historic Forum in Inglewood, California on the same night that Abner Mares faces Leo Santa Cruz less than ten miles away at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. The math is done.
Still, what is it that makes us so irritated when paying for a bout?
The biggest night in the history of the sport still hangs freshly in our collective memories as it has just entered ninety days into the past. Floyd in many ways shut down the great Manny Pacquiao and showed us how great it must feel to get paid to kill time rather than worry in any way about survival. Expect much of the same next month. This may be our last chance to really, really boycott. No marking of words necessary here.
On a similar point, the meteoric rise of UFC women's champion Ronda Rousey has some putting her on the same leveled plane as former heavyweight great, "Iron" Mike Tyson. Successive first round knockouts against exposed and overmatched opponents will beckon such a comparison from some. What do we find to be more of an irk? Paying through the nose to see someone such as Rousey clear the octagon in less than a minute or watching Floyd do his thing over twelve long and often uneventful rounds? We don't often hold our breath for an exciting, all action clash involving defensive master Mayweather, yet we can feasibly hold our collective breaths longer than a Rousey bout actually lasts.
Pick your financial poison. A cyanide capsule or antifreeze. Fast or slow. Either way, it's a shakedown.