Floyd Mayweather Jr. takes a lot of flak. A lot of guff. He has "haters." His biggest fans tend to conclude that anyone who dares question anything he does must be a "hater." To be entirely fair, this is not unique to Mayweather. Manny Pacquiao's biggest fans do the same. Cristobal Arreola thinks you're a hater if you question his training habits. It's just a cultural thing now. "Hating" is now the catch-all for any doubt about anything ever.
I don't hate Mayweather. I do sometimes question Mayweather's motives and his level of opposition, and I know not everyone will believe me when I say this, but I question Mayweather because, on some level, I admire him.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. is a talent the level of which you just don't get to see very often. As such, it sometimes feels like a waste to see Floyd in fights like the one last September against Juan Manuel Marquez. Marquez is going to rightly go to the Hall of Fame and is a courageous, tremendous fighter. But for so many reasons, the fight wasn't right. And I would have felt the exact same about Pacquiao-Marquez at anything over 135 pounds, too.
With Mayweather-Pacquiao falling apart (at least for now), we are faced with Pacquiao going head-to-head with Joshua Clottey in a totally acceptable and even very tough fight for the Filipino superstar. Mayweather is in a tough spot now. Frankly, he has to fight. Floyd's not going to want to take a year off before he possibly fights Pacquiao this fall, and another "tune-up" fight just is not acceptable to most of us.
No offense to Paulie Malignaggi, Kermit Cintron, Matthew Hatton, Ryan Rhodes, or any of the other names that have come up either by calling out Floyd, spreading rumors about Floyd, or apparently being contacted about fighting Floyd, but it's not good enough.
With Pacquiao and Clottey tangling, there is only one acceptable fight now for Mayweather, and it's against Shane Mosley. Nothing else will do.
I realize that this fight looks like it's going to happen. And yes, Shane Mosley has reportedly agreed to taking any of the drug tests Mayweather would like him to take.
This fight matters. This fight would be really big. And it would also be the first time in a long time that I'll say questioning a Mayweather fight would truly make you a "hater."
If Floyd were to beat Shane Mosley, it would be easily the best win of the welterweight portion of his career. If he were to beat him easily, it would prove what Floyd says: That he's the man to beat, that he's the best there is, that he's not afraid to take challenges.
Sure, the fight would be coming too late in a lot of ways, but I don't question the status of either man. Both are top five or so pound-for-pound, they're two of the elite fighters in the world, and two of the best of a generation.
It's a fight that has to happen for a lot of reasons. For one, it's been talked about for about a decade now. For another thing, Mosley has been yelling about it since Mayweather beat Marquez. Then there's the fact that Floyd truly has no other direction to go now, and with Mosley being free and agreeable to any testing, what's the issue? There's nobody out there that can offer Floyd more money for a fight now, not with Pacquiao out.
It's all there is. It's all he can do. I want it because it's a great fight that I'd be happy to pay PPV prices to see.
And if Mayweather takes an easier fight, don't tell me anyone's "hating." They're just going to be right.