“I hate haters.” (Floyd Mayweather Jr.)
What does Charlie Sheen and Mayweather have in common? Winning!
Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s hard work and dedication is what sets him apart from all competition. It also sets him apart from any boxer that I grew up watching, including the most exciting boxer that I’ve ever witnessed, Iron Mike Tyson. Tyson’s decline in boxing can be attributed to him losing focus and not being as dedicated to the sport as when he first started. In fact, in his final fight which ended in defeat, Tyson stated: “My heart is just not in it anymore.” It’s unimaginable to ever hear Floyd say those words.
Have you ever had a coworker or used the services of someone who for years, day in and day out, always seemed to work at the same intense high level and with the same sense of urgency? Though I have never openly told them, I can think of a couple people like that. I admire them for that. It’s like wow, I wished I had the same endurance, drive, and was that dedicated to my profession—a true professional. That is the way that I see Floyd Mayweather Jr. In fact, the intensity of his training and staying in top shape to be the best at his job for the past 20 years is superior to most in any profession.
However, many people seem to really hate Floyd. You can pull up any YouTube video, Facebook post, or webzine article on Floyd and the comments are usually full of vitriol. It’s noteworthy to point out that most of the hateful comments towards him are mainly from non-Blacks, though he also has those within the Black community who attacks his flamboyance, especially within the world of old-school boxers who seem to envy Floyd’s dominance.
Also, I’ve watched numerous of his fights in different bars over the years, and when he fights someone who is not Black, the crowd is polarized along racial lines. Most of the Blacks cheer him on and most of the Whites or Latinos cheer on the other guy. I haven’t done any scientific polls, but I have definitely observed most of the Blacks cheering for the Black fighter, and most of the non-Blacks cheering for the other race. Because of this, I asked myself if there is a racial component to why “some” people hate (or love) Floyd. However, I realize that it can’t be just because he is a boxing champion who is Black, since we have had other boxing champs who were Black, but loved. On the other hand, it couldn’t be simply because he’s a “show off” either, because we have had other show-off boxers and entertainers that were loved. Lastly, it couldn’t be just because he was arrested for domestic violence, because there have been many beloved champs that have done worst also.
I’m sure that they had haters too, but I don’t remember ever hearing this magnitude of hate towards Ali or Tyson. I grew up watching Tyson. In his era, it didn’t merely seem like he was revered by all races, but the entire world. Unlike the fan support that Tyson received, there have been several occasions when, strangely, American boxing fans would unpatriotically cheer on a foreigner instead of supporting Floyd. I’m sure this phenomenon will reach its peak in Saturday’s bout against the Filipino. I have not seen so much strange disrespect since the birther phenomenon. How disrespectful is it to have an American who has worked hard to achieve the American dream just to hear fellow American fans cheer on foreigners. However, I hope to hear some shouts of U.S.A. on Saturday.
What are some of the reasons people state for not liking or even hating Floyd? One of the longest running suggestions of why people say that they hate Floyd is because he’s arrogant. Considering Ali, that reasoning is laughable. We’re talking about a man (Ali) who stated: “It’s hard to be humble, when you’re as great as I am.” Speaking on cockiness, as seen in Floyd’s nickname, there is one major difference between him and Ali—money. Imagine how much influence $300 million dollars would have on someone who made statements like Ali. Floyd made more money from his last fight against Marcos Maidana than Ali made from all of his fights combined. It would be interesting to see how cocky Ali would be today if he grew up in Floyd’s shoes and then going on to earn what Floyd does.
Besides money, the only other difference that I see between Ali and Floyd is appearance and Floyd’s being convicted of assault on a woman. Having an Irish great-grandfather, Ali has a mixed heritage. Somewhat like the president, maybe Ali had a more acceptable blackness than Floyd has. Ali said things that Floyd could never get away with. Ali once stated: “You (the White man) are my enemy. You are my opposer when I want freedom.” Yet, he is still loved by all. I sometimes wonder if Floyd possesses a less appealing blackness to the mainstream. There have been so many entertainers to do so many worst things than Floyd, but somehow they were still appreciated for their extraordinary talent. His flamboyance is definitely a reflection of the culture that he came up in, and is directly connected to the environment that produced him—an environment that usually produces someone that our society rejects. So I guess any excuse is better than none.
Another popular reason that many claim to be why they dislike Floyd is usually based on holding Floyd to some moral standard or obligation. This conversation usually focuses of the fact that Floyd did time for assaulting his children’s mother, his using the word faggot in a heated interview, not doing more for charities, etc. If this is why you don’t like Floyd, it’s unimaginable that you were ever a fan of Tyson. Tyson is a man who openly admitted to mugging old ladies for their purses. He is the one who stated that he wanted to eat his opponent’s kids. He also told a female reporter that she wasn’t as worthy as her male colleagues to ask him questions unless he had sex with her first. If that’s not enough, he bit a piece off of one opponent’s ear. There are so many foul things that Tyson did before, during and after his career, but for the most part, America seemed to enjoy it. In fact, in the YouTube video below, there is a collection of Tyson’s most disturbing comments. However, the user who posted the video titled it “Mike Tyson’s funniest moments”.
Floyd has exponentially more class than Tyson, but exponentially more haters. In fact, besides the wealth, “class” is the major difference between Floyd and Tyson—who was arrested 38 times by the age of 13. Floyd has made some mistakes, but considering what he has overcome, he deserves more credit for the class that he shows. I wonder if people would accept Floyd more if he acted like an animal and squandered his career as Tyson did, being the thug that they portray him to be. I’m not old enough to have followed Ali, but in my quest to realize why so many people, the majority of whom are non-Blacks pray for Floyd’s downfall, I have to consider all possibilities. Maybe it would be okay for Floyd to be so dominating and arrogant at the same time, if he made a fool of himself as Tyson did, or had been as mainstream friendly as Michael Jordan. The dilemma for many of Floyd’s critics is that their excuses for not liking him are full of hypocrisies and through time will be proven to be preposterous.
Look at the fight between Floyd and Victor Ortiz. During the fight—similarly to Tyson right before he bit off a piece of Holyfield’s ear—out of frustration from having a difficult time penetrating Floyd, Ortiz deliberately head-butted Floyd. He not only head-butted Floyd, but it was so deliberate that Ortiz appeared to be jumping in the air into Floyd’s face, causing Floyd’s chin to split.
Immediately following the head-butt, Floyd with a look of bewilderment, let Ortiz come up to him and put his arms around him. Then Ortiz walked to Floyd again and reached out his glove, and Floyd, without showing any aggression, reached out and touched gloves with Ortiz. I’ve followed boxing for many years and without a doubt there are not many who would have handled their selves the way that Floyd did.
After returning to the ring to start the next round, feeling guilty for being so dirty, Ortiz still seemed to be apologizing and wanting hugs. However, it was time for Floyd to repay Ortiz for the dirty blow. Floyd, focused as always, with no obligation to continue with the hugging, knocked Ortiz out with a two piece.
Immediately following the fight, Larry Merchant, a commentator who has harassed Floyd for a great deal of his career, began to imply that what Floyd did was dirty and somehow unfair. Though Floyd did catch the apologetic Ortiz off guard, it was perfectly legal, unlike Ortiz’s head-butt, but for some reason Merchant chose to focus on the legitimacy of the knockout. Moreover, it can be stated that Floyd handled things the right way instead of retaliating immediately after the butt, he waited until the next round started.
Another example of when Floyd showed class in the ring was in his fight against Zab Judah. Wore down by Floyd, due to frustration during the 10th round, Judah intentionally low blowed Floyd, and followed it up with a blow to the back of the head. Floyd limped to a corner of the ring. Then Floyd’s uncle, Roger Mayweather—who warned Floyd before the fight that Judah would do something dirty—and others in his camp entered the ring to get at Judah for his intentional low blow. Then ensued a bench-clearing brawl in the middle of the ring. While both camps were brawling, Floyd did not move or engage in any form or fashion. He even had a look on his face of disapproval. Again, the restraint that Floyd has shown many times is noteworthy that there is something different about him than other boxers.
However many people can’t get over their profile of Floyd or see past the cultural artifacts that remain from his childhood environment. The truth is, there is something special about Floyd. He’s what I guess you can call “different”. He possesses something that not many humans have. Floyd made a decision at an early age that his environment would not overcome him but he would overcome his environment through boxing. While other youth were getting in trouble with the law; while his mother was steadily using drugs; while his father was selling drugs and eventually was sentenced to five years in prison, Floyd didn’t want to do anything with his time but be in the gym.
You really have to appreciate that there was something really special in the boy who from a young age was so determined to take over boxing. Instead of seeing how remarkable Floyd’s story is, many of his critics constantly look for ways to discredit him. Even now, critics continue to say that Floyd waited to fight Pacquiao once Pacquiao was past his prime. I really feel like I’m listening to birthers when I hear this nonsense. First, Floyd is about two and a half years older than Paquiao. Secondly, like Pacquiao, Floyd also has to age, but for some reason I’ve repeatedly heard that Floyd, who is older, has a strategy based on age. In many ways, that argument compliments Floyd, because it acknowledges the fact that he is a well-oiled machine who focuses on maintenance. All in all, his critics understand his hard work and dedication to boxing and even uses it against him, citing that he has implemented an age strategy though he is older. Lol.
Unlike many of Floyd’s detractors who enjoy a toot here and there, how remarkable is it that a boy who came from a drug infested home and neighborhood does not do drugs. Or better yet, at any time during his career he could have began to drink alcohol, but he has been so dedicated to his craft that he chose not to, unlike many of his critics who are alcoholics that drink to the point that alcohol negatively affects their careers and/or family life. There is no boxer in the history of boxing who maintains discipline like Floyd. Besides loving fast food, he lives a fairly clean and healthy lifestyle, considering what he has overcome, the wealth that he has assessed, and the choices he could have made.
It’s really difficult to understand why people hate Floyd Mayweather Jr. I think the answer is very complex and is a mixture of things. I do believe for many there is definitely a subconscious racial component, with a dash of despising envy thrown in. In fact, despite one’s race, I believe all of Floyd’s detractors possess an element of jealousy, which blinds them from appreciating his hard work—which produced luxury that is causing their envy. Floyd, the boy from the hood, has become so dominant and rich in boxing, that it’s unsettling for some; in their mind, that boy needs to show some respect and humbleness. It’s not just that he is Black, but it’s that he doesn’t possess the accepted All-American image or version of blackness. His version of blackness is a bit unpolished, a type that reflects the non-assimilation of many of our country’s descendants of slaves, whose cultural heritage was an environment of social ills and social retardation.
Although it’s as clear as water, it’s like people are unwittingly saying: “I refuse to accept ‘you’ as being so dominant and rich from the sport without discrediting you in some way.” Many of his critics want Floyd to be thankful for what his sweat and blood accomplished. If you have paid close attention to Floyd’s rise to power, those who hate him the most always infer one thing about Floyd: “He doesn’t deserve….” Though he is 47-0, not only has he never lost, the man has never been ruled knocked down. When I hear people say things like, “he hasn’t fought anyone or at the right time”, I liken it to someone who swears the president was born in Kenya—delusional.
At the end of the day, the biggest point that people don’t seem to pick up on from Mayweather is that he longs to be admired, but not just for the sake of being admired. He longs to be admired because he feels that if any one deserves admiration, he does. He has worked hard his entire life for admiration. He believes no one has worked harder than him. Honestly, with all he’s accomplished through hard work and dedication, he’s right in feeling a sense of entitlement, just as anyone would who has worked harder than the rest at anything would feel.
Don’t let his critics fool you. His life epitomizes working hard to receive the American Dream. Despite his seemingly arrogance, it appears to hurt him to be betrayed by American boxing fans. When Floyd says, “Money ain’t everything. It’s the only thing,” he doesn’t believe that. If anyone knows that there can still exist a void beyond money and personal achievements, it’s Floyd. Floyd’s posting of cars, money, and other material things is a direct response to his haters in an attempt to elude them from the fact that anyone who needs to prove that they are happy, are missing happiness in some way. In fact, if so many people didn’t despise him, I think that you would see less of the “showing off” Floyd.
It’s unfortunate, that a kid can come from living in such a precarious situation, work harder than possible to overcome, just to be rejected because they may look or act a little different from what others deem acceptable. How can anyone from such an adverse climate and become so goal-oriented that they completely dominate their profession, but still be perfect in every area of their life? Though Floyd has embraced his ascribed title as the villain, it is only because a great deal of Americans refuse to appreciate him as one of most hardworking, dedicated, and disciplined athletes ever. The sad thing is, I don’t think Floyd realizes, no matter what he does, good or bad, people are going to hate him. Sadly, there are many others in this society just like Floyd who come from similar settings, are not as polished socially as others, and who may not look like the archetype of what others believe to be the right fit—maybe missing a promotion or some type of accolade at work to someone else not based on merit but instead preference.
Naively, I believe Floyd wanted to, but couldn’t figure out how to be the type of All-American boy that he thought would bring him acceptance. He was a kid who “made it out” of the hood but wasn’t accepted by the mainstream for who he is. I’m not sure how I would act if, I coming from nothing, dedicated my entire life to achieving my dreams, and it in turn paid off leaving me at the top of my profession and worth a half a billion dollars. Floyd hasn’t had any time in his life to be dedicated to etiquette. Therefore, he embraced the rejection as a source of motivation. His critics may deserve a great deal of the credit for his flawless record. His need to prove his haters wrong—from whom he only wants respect for his hard work and dedication—terrifies him of losing. The fact that he is one of the most remarkable athletes in U.S. history will not be changed whether he wins or loses Saturday.
Why do people hate Floyd Mayweather Jr? Please leave your thoughts below.