Floyd Mayweather Jr. has always been regarded as a very savvy businessman. Early in his career he realized that his fighting style, while extremely effective, did not lend itself well to thrilling fans. Rather than altering how he fought for the sake of good TV, he decided to develop a persona that captivated folks to point where they would buy his pay-per-views just to watch him lose. It worked. He has willingly worn the black hat for the better part of nearly two decades, letting his foes be the heroes for the sake of putting on a good show.
There is no denying that Mayweather is great at what he does and has a certain knack for selling fights. The results speak for themselves. But his latest decision is still puzzling. Very puzzling.
On Wednesday, a few weeks after reports surfaced that he would likely take on Robert Guerrero this May, Mayweather tweeted out the following:
The negotiations for my fight are almost done. The front runner is IBF Champion Devon Alexander. It’d be a unification bout at welterweight.
— Floyd Mayweather (@FloydMayweather) February 6, 2013
Say what? The Devon Alexander who was supposed to square off against Kell Brook? The one who sleep-walked his way through an embarrassing 2011 defeat to Timothy Bradley? That Devon Alexander?
When you are dealing with a superstar like Mayweather, all potential foes need to fall into one of two categories: big name or exciting fighter. Alexander qualifies as neither. Not enough mainstream fans are aware of his general existence for there to be substantial interest in the bout; he isn’t anywhere close to being interesting enough, style-wise, to counteract Mayweather’s mildly boring technique.
This is just a flop on all levels.
Meanwhile, Mayweather has two exciting potential opponents in Guerrero and Canelo Alvarez who are more than willing to fight him. Either would sign on for a match with a minimal amount of headaches or whining about fight specifications.
One of two things is at work here: either Mayweather is leveraging the threat of fighting Alexander in an effort to secure more favorable terms for a bout against Guerrero, or he feels like Guerrero might actually beat him and doesn’t want to chance it.
Regardless of which it is, Mayweather is too smart not to be aware of how unimpressive a match between him and Alexander promises to be. Let’s wait and see if it actually comes to fruition before burying him for this.