Mayweather retirement better for sport

On September 12th, Floyd Mayweather won his 49th fight against Andre Berto and officially retired from the sport of boxing. The fight had low ratings, which was well-deserved in light of Mayweather’s recent performances. Over the past two decades, Mayweather transformed from a vicious speed demon in to a cautious grasshopper, winning his matches through unanimous decision (UD) or majority decision (MD). His final match was no different, having won it through a UD.

Mayweather had led an illustrious career since his professional debut in the mid-1990s. At age 19, he won his first professional bout by a knockout (KO), and made a strong opening statement in the boxing world. Since then, Mayweather was known for his speed in the ring and his assassin-like jabs and straights.

However, in the mid-2000s, Mayweather’s tactics changed. He became a more cautious fighter, no longer aiming for a KO win, but instead focusing on gaining points to insure a UD or MD. His last KO was in 2011 and every fighter who fought him lost in a UD. Mayweather’s appeal no longer depended upon the excitement of the match, but instead upon who could actually take him down. What was worse was that his speed and technique allowed him to continue this tactic and continue his reign in the boxing world. No longer was there excitement in the matches themselves, but only in the allure of a KO or in the hopes of seeing Mayweather dethroned.

The best example of this was the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. The two rivals had been teasing a fight for almost a decade until it was finally set this past May. The hype surrounding the fight was the equivalent to a fight in the 1970s or 1980s, when boxing was at the heights of its popularity. The fight made over 300 million dollars and both fighters earned large portions of the revenue. Nonetheless, the fight itself had neither the vibrancy nor the malice of two champions duking it out. The match ended again in a UD in favor of Mayweather.

In the past decade, Mayweather and Pacquiao took the boxing spotlight, but now, in light of Mayweather’s retirement, upcoming boxers will have the chance to keep the spotlight on boxing. Aggressive and technical hitters like Saul Alvertz and Deontay Wilder now have an opportunity to bring a new hype to the sport.

Saul Alvarez, known as Canelo, is only 25, but already has over 40 professional fights worth of experience and is looking like a rising star in the boxing world. Canelo is set to fight Miguel Cotto, referred to by many as the greatest Puerto Rican fighter in history, on November 21st. This will give both fighters a chance to further their respective legacies.

In addition, the new Heavyweight holder of the WBC title, Deontay Wilder, who is also the first American Heavyweight champion in 9 years, is a 6’7” speedster with punching power and an 83-inch reach. He seems to be the most intimidating challenger to Wladimer Klitschko, the second longest-reigning Heavyweight champion in history. Individuals such as Wilder now have a chance to hype up a sport that has been fairly dormant since fighters like Holyfield and Tyson.

This is not to say that Mayweather has not earned his place in history. He was an amazingly fast fighter with an uncommon reaction speed and focused punches. He created a new set of conditioning and training ethics that other fighters today applaud and emulate. However, recently he had not been bringing intensity into his matches and he hogged the attention within the sport. His current retirement from the professional ring will give fighters who can both excite crowds and bring life back into the sport a chance to take the spotlight.

-Bar Hass ’16, Senior Sports Editor

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