"Pretty Boy Floyd, I'm the best. The creme de la creme; can't beat me, they better join me"
2005 was a transition year in boxing. As the Roy Jones era in the sport came to a sad end at the hands of Antonio Tarver in their third fight, Floyd Mayweather began his journey to the top of the pound for pound heap by outclassing and dismantling the late great Arturo Gatti. From that point on Floyd has established himself as the undisputed keeper of boxing's kingdom, royalties, conflict and all. He's served as his generation's most recognizable and bankable villain, its most accomplished fighter, and his generation's most naturally gifted boxing technician. Floyd Mayweather has been all things in boxing short of its most beloved iconic folk hero; that role had been played brilliantly by Manny Pacquiao who is now on the fast sliding slope of his hall of fame career.
There are those who love and support Money Mayweather to no end, a fault those same loyalists refuse to accept or to explain. Then there are those who feel the complete opposite of his fan base, although with equal passion and fever. He's the most polarizing fighter I I've ever had the opportunity of watching or studying, really.
I'm 25 years old and would classify myself as a student of the sport. I don't watch boxing as a fan but as someone hungry for the knowledge and fundamentals of this great art. I've followed the sport since 1996 so for me Floyd Mayweather is a fighter who has directly influenced and shaped my era in terms of those who began following the sport from the mid to late 90s until now.
I wouldn't call myself a hater, nor a fan of his, I'm more of the approach that Floyd is who he is and I never judge him for what he does outside the squared circle. For a lot of people the "Money Mayweather" persona is such that it has merged with the man, thus it gives people a reason for their sometimes unreasonable hatred toward him. From his brash personality, his obsessively materialistic lifestyle, to his run in with the law and his four year long tease with a potential fight with Manny Pacquiao, fans have grown tired of the shtick yet they always tune in for a Mayweather fight no matter how unappealingly arrogant and aloof he is to his own behavior.
But when a young, flashy, trash talking super featherweight from Cincinnati came on the scene I suddenly found myself moving closer and closer toward "fan" than simple observer. Floyd was something more than just an all time great defensive specialist, he was a fighter that demanded a greater appreciation. Adrien Broner made me realize just how much Floyd will be missed when he retires.
Everything Broner does Floyd's been doing since he staked his claim in the sport. From his rehearsed gibes, to his fighting style, all the way to how he sits on his stool between each round, it all looks, sounds, and reeks of Floyd Mayweather. I'm stating the obvious, I know but my point is the sudden rise of Adrien Broner as the next big thing in boxing, the sport's next box office pound for pound heir to the throne has prompted a sudden appreciation for Floyd Mayweather on my part.
I spent about two months watching his fights when he campaigned at 130 and 135 pounds. Over and over again I would just study everything he did and it made me appreciate not only who he was as a person but his uncanny talent and ring intelligence. I also wanted to compare early versions of Floyd to the fighter we saw later on.
Will Adrien Broner ultimately fulfill the shoes left unattended by Floyd? Who knows. Will he make good on the hype and become boxing's next crossover star? Maybe, maybe not. I don't think you can replicate the same thing twice and have the duplicate come out exactly without some noticeable flaws. Broner isn't Floyd but someone merely showing respect for his predecessor by imitating them. I don't think he'll ever go undefeated for as long as Floyd Mayweather has. Lightning doesn't strike twice as they say and a Floyd Mayweather doesn't come around every time a new era begins in boxing. There's only one Muhammad Ali, Roy Jones, Mike Tyson, and there will only be one Floyd Mayweather.
I must admit when he does hang up the Grants I'm going to miss watching him in the ring.