Cornered by The Associated Press at a celebrity basketball game, Floyd Mayweather couldn’t escape. After letting a Friday deadline pass with no response, his much-hyped potential bout with Manny Pacquiao was on the ropes and ready to collapse. The media wanted answers, the fans wanted answers and every bookie, broker and bettor in Vegas wanted answers. So what did Mayweather counter with when hit by this whole super-bout question? A lackadaisical whimper punch of: “I’m not really thinking about boxing right now. I’m just relaxing. I fought about 60 days ago, so I’m just enjoying myself, enjoying life, enjoying my family and enjoying my vacation.”

Uh… really Floyd? Are you serious? These are the words tip-toeing from the mouth of the self-proclaimed “best fighter ever”? The guy just a year removed from a year’s worth of retirement talking about relaxing and vacation? The HBO quoted “prize-fighter” who always goes for the big payday?

Floyd fans can try their best to explain this away, but it won’t be easy. How do you nickname yourself “Money” Mayweather but treat the biggest payday of your career like it’s a part-time job at Checkers?

He could’ve given a number of reasons, from saying he’s waiting on the outcome of his trainer’s upcoming court case to his Shih Tzu just died and he’s in mourning right now (no report on whether or not Mayweather owns a Shih Tzu is available at this time). Did he have to? No. Should he have, for his fans’ sake at least? Most definitely.

When you run through the world proclaiming that you’re the best ever in your profession and everyone should respect your greatness, you owe it to not only yourself but enthusiasts everywhere to stand by those principles. You think LeBron James will command the same respect he used to? Heck, even Lil Wayne, the self-proclaimed “best rapper alive,” doesn’t generate the same publicity he used to. And it’s funny because now that I think about it, he doesn’t even refer to himself as the best anymore and how could he after a series of recent head-scratchers?

See, when you keep telling people over and over again that you’re the best, it’s absolutely mandatory you walk the walk until you hang up your shoes. Mayweather, however, still has his shoes laced up but he’s walking in the opposite direction of the biggest race he can run in right now. The best should want to beat the best or at least say they lost to the best.

You don’t get this kind of obstacle course in the NFL, NBA, NHL or MLB. Typically, the best two teams (not the most talented) end up meeting each other down the road somewhere. Only in college football and boxing do you get sideswiped with politics that steers the fans clear of what they want.

First, Mayweather was on his campaign to “clean up the sport of boxing” by refusing to fight Pacquiao until the latter underwent strict drug testing procedures. Now, Mayweather seemingly could care less about a fight? Crazy.

First King James slips to South Beach, now this.

Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert couldn’t write a letter harsher than what Mayweather’s fans should be penning right now.


Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO