Before I get going, let me make a couple things clear:
- I still think this fight is going to do around 1.5 million PPV buys. I think it'll pick up late-week steam, sort of the way Mayweather-Marquez did. I think it'll be a tremendous success.
- I am not saying anything about Mayweather's in-ring skills. This has nothing to do with how good he is.
So the question is: Has Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s act grown tired? Has he "jumped the shark"? Could he use some freshening up?
The HBO "24/7" series for Mayweather-Mosley has lacked something. It's true that it goes both ways. Frankly, Mosley isn't the most engaging interview in the world. He's not all that charismatic and outside of the ring, lacks a presence about him that makes him stand out from other fighters. That's a big reason he never became the star that he truly deserves/deserved to be -- for as great, gutsy and exciting a fighter as he's been, Mosley's greatest box office successes have been with Oscar de la Hoya, the all-time king of PPV, and Antonio Margarito, whose Mexican audience helped pack the Staples Center last January.
When Floyd Mayweather Jr. said of Shane Mosley, "He's not a pay-per-view attraction," he wasn't gloating, and he wasn't wrong. Shane Mosley has never become a superstar, sadly enough. Floyd Mayweather Jr. has. Years ago, when Mayweather was promoted by Bob Arum and their split got nasty, Arum loved to talk about Mayweather being a coward. Mayweather countered by saying Arum never let him spread his wings and become a major attraction, which he felt he could be. Mayweather was right. Without Arum, and with some help from Oscar de la Hoya, Golden Boy Promotions, and HBO, Mayweather has become a big-money fighter.
But now, it seems to me that Mayweather has become stale, he's run out of material, and something more important, there's a lack of sincerity about his act anymore. Mayweather loves to play villain -- but he doesn't love it so much that he doesn't want people to know it's just play. He also wants to be the good citizen who helps the needy. He does help the needy. That's very admirable. When hyping the Marquez fight, Mayweather's people went out of their way to get Floyd's charitable nature into the news. As if they were tired of Floyd only being seen as the arrogant heel.
But when you're going with a professional character, as Mayweather has done, breaking that character too often takes the starch out of it. Mayweather to me seems like a winking, smiling actor on this "24/7." The Mayweather family is expected to be OUTRAGEOUS!, so they dial it up on cue. Mayweather is expected to insult Mosley, so he does, and he smiles.
When Mayweather fought Oscar and Hatton, he was consistently the "bad guy." He reveled in it. He succeeded with it. And then he won the fights. This time around, while he may win the fight and may do well at the box office, it seems like the Floyd Mayweather Jr. Saga has hit a fork in the road.
I'm not saying this is going to matter on May 1. "24/7" is not the fight, and the fight is the story. The fight is what really matters.
The most useful and interesting thing on this "24/7" series has been getting to know Mosley's trainer Naazim Richardson more. Richardson is one of those guys who is genuinely interesting. You want to hear him talk, because he has real things to say. He's not playing a character, not doing things for the TV cameras. There's nothing Hollywood about the man. He's a welcome contrast to the increasingly predictable Mayweather segments.
So what do you think? Has Mayweather gotten tired as a TV act, or are you still as entertained as ever?