Control has always been the goal for Floyd Mayweather Jr.
It’s the one thing that Floyd Mayweather Jr. cherishes more than anything else in his life. It’s more important than any boxing record or fictional pound-for-pound list. In all honesty, having control is more important than money because without control there is no way that he would have become the highest-paid athlete in boxing.
It’s the reason why he was able to hand pick Andre Berto for what is supposed to be his last hurrah in boxing on Sept. 12. The Mayweather farewell tour, so to speak, is culminating in a fight that has been trashed by boxing purists ever since the day it was announced. But that won’t stop the 48-0 fighter from raking in another eight-figure paycheck.
On what might be his final media day before he rides off into the sunset, Mayweather decided to finally allow cameras to film him spar. Perhaps in an effort to sell the fight, Mayweather beat up on a pair of sparring partners while the surprised members of the media captured the moment with their cameras and iPhones.
It was all about control and Mayweather isn’t quite ready to relinquish it.
“I don’t care what anyone has to say about me,” Mayweather said with a smile to RingTV. “As long as my family loves me and I can go wherever I want in the world, nothing that is written about me matters as long as they are writing about me.”
Mayweather’s control over his career is both a thing of beauty and an ugly reality. For a man who calls himself “Money,” the moment he inked his record-setting contract with Showtime and had the ability to choose his opponent, it was all over. On one hand we finally were able to see Mayweather face Manny Pacquiao in a fight where the pound-for-pound king controlled every aspect, both in and out of the ring. The fight smashed records but failed to live up to the hype. On the other hand, Mayweather can choose an opponent like Andre Berto, who has gone 3-3 in his last six fights while losing to previous Mayweather victims Robert Guerrero and Victor Ortiz. It was never about Mayweather being the greatest boxer of all time. It was about dictating everything around him and getting paid handsomely for it.
That’s a microcosm of how Mayweather’s control benefits him immensely but doesn’t do much for fight fans who have long wanted to see Mayweather lose control and fight to regain it. It’s the reason why critics call his fights boring. Nobody has been able to disrupt his control.
He controls the narrative. Ask him a question and watch him treat it like a lazy jab and deflect. Before you know it, he’s answering something that you didn’t even ask. It’s the way he likes it and there’s little anybody can do to stop him from doing what he wants, whenever he wants.
The debate as to whether or not Mayweather will retire after this fight or go after his 50th win is interesting because nobody really knows what he’s going to do. If you ask him, he’s finished with boxing and ready to move on to another phase of his life. Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe agrees that Mayweather has nothing left to prove and is better off walking away rather than fight to please others.
“I don’t think (he’s coming back),” Ellerbe said right before Mayweather launched into his sparring session. “There comes a point and time where enough is enough. What more can you accomplish? Some fans won’t be satisfied until he fights Wladimir Klitschko.”
Being in control means that you can stick it to anyone who doubts your credibility. And that might have been what Mayweather did a few months ago when he was accused of trolling boxing journalists when he mentioned that his next fight might be against Andre Berto.
Back in June, Mayweather held court with a select few members of the media at the Mayweather Boxing Club during the buildup to Adrien Broner and Shawn Porter’s fight. It was then that Mayweather suggested that he would fight either Karim Mayfield or Berto. Those assembled thought he was joking and, quite honestly, he might have been. But Mayweather being Mayweather, he did what he wanted to do. Maybe it was out of spite or the plan all along. Regardless, he controlled his next fight even though journalists criticized the concept of him facing an opponent who did nothing to share the same ring as him on Sept. 12.
RingTV asked Mayweather if his selection of Berto was a byproduct of the media being incredulous at the mere mention of his name.
“That’s just who we chose,” Mayweather said after a brief pause and a sly grin. If the fight is considered a joke, then the joke is on us as Mayweather will cash another check with more zeroes than most people will ever see in their lifetime. Maybe he’ll go and buy another $4.8 million car with the pocket change he’ll earn after what is perceived to be an easy night at the office.
That is just how it goes when you’re in control. The reason he selected Berto for this fight is simple: because he could.
After Sept. 12, when the cameras go off and the spotlight has shifted away from Mayweather, it will be because he said so and not because of what any journalist wrote.
“Floyd’s been able to stay true to his own game plan,” Ellerbe explained about the value of controlling one’s destiny. “To be able to accomplish that feat is truly remarkable for a guy who started his career in 1996 and retires in 2015 after beating everybody in his era with all of his faculties intact and a boatload of money. You tell me, is there a better situation to be in?”