Floyd Mayweather Jr. is, as always, a good talker.
Even when he's reduced to childish hand-clapping that seems to reveal massive insecurities in his personality in interviews with ESPN's Brian Kenny, he makes for a good show. Even if he's simply annoying you, you can't help but want to respond.
Mayweather talked with Yahoo! Sports boxing writer Kevin Iole recently, responding to some of the criticism about his upcoming fight with Juan Manuel Marquez, the world lightweight champion who has never fought above 135 pounds and is seen by many -- including Floyd himself, who has outright said "he's too small for me" -- as too small to put up much of a fight.
It's not debt or any financial crisis, according to his friend and manager, Leonard Ellerbe:
“That’s crazy, but if that were true, why would Floyd have turned down a $20 million-plus offer in September to fight Oscar [De La Hoya]?” his manager and best friend, Leonard Ellerbe, asked rhetorically. “If he needed money, there it was, a $20 million-plus offer. He’s coming back because this is what he does and he got a good rest and he has something to prove.”
This is typical Mayweather camp nonsense. Look, Floyd might well have zero to worry about financially. I don't know his finances, nor do I much care, to be honest. If Mayweather were broke right now, it wouldn't be any sad boxing story, it'd be because he's a complete idiot. At the same time, though, there's that little nagging part of me that goes, "This isn't last summer, so that means nothing." The Oscar fight went down the tubes a year ago, and I still say both of them weren't exactly encouraged by the lukewarm response from fans and media when they announced the rematch, and that Mayweather's "retirement" was more or less a business strategy. The world is a little different right now than it was a year ago.
Let's really get at this since it's about six weeks out, we know it's totally for real, no one's going to "retire," and the dogs are barking at Floyd. Why is he fighting Marquez?
Floyd says it's because he was called out. Look, he says it. Seriously:
“Manny Pacquiao never called me out. You never heard him say that. But I was watching on TV and I heard Marquez call me out. So I said, ‘OK, if he wants some, he can have it.’ Any one of them, whoever, they know where to find me.”
This would be all well and good. In fact, it's a great reason to take a fight. Hell, Marquez called him out, and Floyd said, hey, alright! That's fine by me. Make that fight!
But what about the other dozens of fighters that have called him out over his career? I don't blame him for fighting Carlos Baldomir instead of Antonio Margarito. Hell, wouldn't you? He got the same money for it and it was against the guy that halfway ruined Mayweather's fight with Zab Judah by beating Judah three months prior for the welterweight world championship. Baldomir also upped his stock by demolishing a shot Arturo Gatti on HBO after that.
I don't blame him for fighting Ricky Hatton instead of Cotto or Mosley or someone, either. Hatton had an "0," it was a fight between two unbeaten world champions, and the time was right. Hatton's iron was hot, Floyd's was too, and they made a lot of money.
But then what? Did he go after anyone who had been calling him out? No, he wanted an Oscar rematch that no one wanted to see, and then he retired.
And now what does he use as an excuse? Cotto beat Mosley. Margarito beat Cotto. Mosley beat Margarito. Hey, why fight these guys? All clear outcomes, no arguments (well, Margarito-Cotto, but let's not bother right now), and they're all beating each other and ruining their pretty records because they have the balls to fight each other. Mayweather will instead take on Marquez, a gutsy, brilliant, undersized fighter who will no doubt give it his all but has so little chance of hurting or out-quicking Mayweather that the fight becomes a sparring session by round eight. I think there's a 90% chance of that happening.
Y'know: Because he called him out. And you can argue that he beat Pacquiao twice.
Iole ends his article with the statement that if Mayweather beats Marquez and then Pacquiao and Mosley and Cotto, he can write his Hall of Fame speech. He can write it now. He's going in. That's not the issue.
And I'll say this, too: Mayweather is a great fighter. But if he fights all of those guys, he will lose at some point. I'm not certain against whom because past Marquez (in my opinion), they can all beat him. When you fight opposition like that (or even a notch below on a consistent basis), you lose sometime.
If he did beat them all? Great. And then he will be met with another badgering, lingering question: Why didn't you do this sooner?