Floyd Mayweather Jr. may need a complete image overhaul after his latest set of strange outbursts, and it won't come from fluff pieces in the papers. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Floyd Mayweather's recent outbursts have begun to achieve their purpose: we're paying attention to Floyd. We were distracted by Manny's sheer greatness and by Marquez drinking his pee, but now the boxing spotlight is right where Mayweather wants it, and if the glare seems a bit withering at the moment, "there's no such thing as bad publicity," Floyd seems to have assumed, and even hardened boxing observers have been pulled in by his strange spectacle at this point. As planned.
That's good for camp Mayweather, as they attempt to deal with the new media environment in this, Mayweather's post-"retirement" phase. During his hiatus, opinions about PBF have evolved; the boxing world has moved on; Pacquiao has emerged as nothing short of a living legend; and the glare of the media has sharpened, putting Mayweather's incongruities and flat-out bullshit in an even less forgiving light than he experienced previously (the blatant cynicism of his "retirement," I believe, put the test to all of our bullshit thermometers, no?).
Floyd 2.0 has issues, and he's feeling rather sorry for himself. Why don't we all love him!
Speaking personally, ultimately, I really don't care all that much about the showbiz aspect of boxing. I take pretty much everything a boxer says in the run-up to a big fight with a big fat grain of salt. Really, I just want to see good fights and good times for boxing. I ultimately don't care how big of an asshole Floyd makes of himself.
But I think it's pretty clear he has a big image problem right now, and if he wants to meet his own goals, he needs to make some adjustments. As he gets older, he is starting to see the limitations of his previous "bad boy" approach. He wants to be a crossover figure, and his time on Dancing with the Stars and various flirtations with mainstream America have begun to make an impact, suggesting that he can't get away with the two-dimensional persona that was his meal ticket during his early to mid career.
Now Floyd wants more. He wants to reform his image, show his good side, convince us there's a compassionate soul in there. But at the same time, he's not willing to give up on "Money." He wants us to buy the whole bad-guy bullshit routine, even as we buy the idea that he's some saint of the soup kitchen and lunch line, handing out brown bags to down-and-outers from the back of his rental truck.
The image he's presenting right now is essentially schizophrenic, and it's not going to work without some serious fine tuning. But rather than cynically trying on some new persona in the media for his next promotion, I have a better idea. It's time to think more about the big picture, I believe. Humor me. What if, instead of trying some new and improved Mayweather 3.0 if the Marquez promotion doesn't work out as expected, what if instead of that, you just took a fight that fans really want to see?
Want to be a bad boy that everybody loves to hate? Fight Mosley, and go back to being an unrepentant foil for the haters. That's your best bet.