Floyd Mayweather is undoubtedly one of the best to ever lace up a pair of gloves and step inside the boxing ring. The Grand Rapids, Michigan native has a career professional record of 47-0, he has held world title belts as five different weights, and is universally considered as one of the best pound for pound fighters, if not THE best pound for pound fighter, in the history of the sport. Yet despite all those achievements and accolades, Mayweather is a man who is utterly despised by most both in and out of the boxing world.
Many boxers in the past have walked the line between love, respect, and hate, but few have fallen as far to the hate side as Mayweather. Perhaps the most obvious example of one boxer who did fall in this way is Mike Tyson. The two share a number of traits, ranging from arrogance to selfishness, which the fan can tolerate for a while, but which both pushed too far and as a result found themselves facing the fury of the fans as opposed to the adulation.
Mayweather is interesting because he seems to embrace this role of the villain without it slowing him down. In many ways he feeds off of the fans’ hate, allowing those feelings to push him to train harder and be a better fighter. His upcoming bout against Manny Pacquiao on May 2, a bout Mayweather avoided for years, is a fascinating clash between an obvious hero and an obvious villain that is going to make more money for both than most people can even dream about. Mayweather will be looking to use that chip on his shoulder, the one he has earned by decades of behaving in ways which have caused the public to turn on him, to spur him on to beat the Filipino legend.
Hate is not easily earned but Mayweather has earned it and then some. Here is a list of 10 reasons why fans hate Floyd Mayweather.
10. Trash Talk
Trash talk is to be expected in the fight game. The art of getting inside an opponent’s head with your words and actions, essentially winning the fight before the bell has been rang, is as old as the game itself. Muhammad Ali, the greatest boxer/entertainer of all time, is the classic example of how this works. The problem with Mayweather though is that he just takes things too far. The most famous example of this is a statement he threw out about Pacquiao five years ago.
“Once I stomp the midget, I’mma make that motherf— make me a sushi roll and cook me some rice … you know how it is baby, we gonna cook that motherf— with some cats and dogs.”
Trash talk is fine. Racism is not.
9. Gambling Habit
There is nothing wrong with having a little flutter on a game or two when you are in Las Vegas. Mayweather has plenty of money, so his bets are bound to be larger than those of the average gambler. What drives fans away from Mayweather however is that it seems that every bet he wins ends up on one of his social media accounts. This is a guy rumored to have lost over $10 million betting on the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII. What he does post however is obscene winnings, like a $1.4 million win when the Colts beat the Jaguars 44-17. A hobby is a hobby, but when the people you want to support you don’t earn the money you just won in their entire lifetime, then some discretion wouldn’t hurt.
8. Fighting Style
When people shell out $60, $70, even $100 for a PPV fight they expect to be entertained. To the average fan, especially in the world of MMA in which we live, that means huge blows, fast finishes, and obvious brutality. This is the only category on the list where Mayweather is not actually at fault. The traits that make him an all-time great fighter: his excellent defense and his ability to counter punch, mean that his bouts are generally boring to anyone other than the boxing purist. When you add in that Mayweather doesn’t punch all that hard, and that most of his opponents are overmatched from the start, then you have a high price tag, not enough action and a large number of disgruntled viewers.
7. Burned Money
There is burning through your money and then there is what Mayweather did in an Atlanta nightclub in 2011. We get that Mayweather is filthy rich, but the best way to endear yourself to fans at the height of the economic downturn the US was facing in the early 2010s is not to be pictured setting fire to a $100 bill like it’s nothing. Mayweather was, of course, sure to perform this stunt in front of both the assembled patrons in the club and the waiting members of the media. On one hand it is high level self-promotion, on the other it is an act which makes him even easier to hate.
6. Money over legacy
This one quote about a proposed rematch with Oscar De La Hoya is the perfect way of expressing why Mayweather is hated within boxing circles.
“If I did want to come back, I was going to make, what, $50 million (for the De La Hoya rematch)? You know what, don’t call my phone unless you’ve got $100 million.”
Boxing as a sport has been around, in some form or another, since just about the beginning of time. Within the sport all the greats have wanted to cement their legacy by taking on their rivals and peers to see who was the greatest of their era. The Mayweather mantra that the money is what drives him as opposed to the challenge, hence ducking Pacquiao for years, puts him at odds with how boxers and boxing people think that the art should be treated.
5. “Thug life” persona
Mayweather’s personality makes it easy for fans to hate him. It is a tale about how his early life was spent in poverty and how that shaped his world view and made him, for better or worse, who he is today. This personality and hubris makes Mayweather the fighter he is, but it also alienates him from the average fan. This is especially true across racial lines where the middle class white American sees the brash nature in which Mayweather carries himself and is instantly going to root for anyone who is fighting against him. Mayweather could probably tone down some of this cultural divisiveness, but that might cause him to lose his edge. Those who can relate love him, but those who cannot (a far greater number) want nothing to do with him.
4. Friendship with Justin Bieber
This one is really pretty self-explanatory. After aligning himself with 50 Cent for a while when he was hot, Mayweather bounced to a friendship with Bieber when he was the newest star on the block. If Mayweather wanted to be more liked by the average fan, then cultivating a friendship with another person who is almost universally hated, albeit for different reasons, was probably not the wisest move to make. This is another of those items on this list which really shows that Mayweather just doesn’t care what anyone else, outside of his inner circle, thinks about him.
3. His wealth – and what he does with it
According to those in the know Mayweather is worth somewhere between $280 million and $300 million as of the beginning of 2015. This figure is set to grow exponentially as the fight with Pacquio will be the richest in boxing history. Mayweather is unique in the fact that his money all comes from his fights and no companies will touch him for endorsement deals. Each year in which he fights though, he picks up close to $80 million in winnings. Obviously all this wealth for fighting, and for self-promoting, makes people jealous. This is true from those on the rough streets where Mayweather grew up, all the way to the average fan in their living room at home. Making all that money, while coming off as a bully and a jerk, makes Mayweather hate-able. The way he spends his money is even worse.
2. Repeated Domestic Violence
Floyd Mayweather has a history of domestic violence. Incidents have occurred with at least two women, while depending on who you believe there could be many more cases that have been unreported in the past. Mayweather pleaded guilty to a reduced battery domestic violence charge when sent him to prison for a 90-day sentence in 2011. Mayweather has a strict policy on these issues whereby he never talks about them. The factors here are complicated and mysterious, but what we do know is that these allegations will continue to follow Mayweather around throughout the rest of his career.
1. Arrogance and Ego
The number one reason why Mayweather is hated by fans is his arrogance and his ego. All the items on the list that preceded this are examples of how Mayweather has an out of control ego which, in his mind, allows him to do whatever he wants with few consequences. Boxers all tend to be arrogant anyway, again this is part of the image they build to protect themselves and enhance their careers, but Mayweather comes across as the most arrogant of all. It seems with Mayweather there is no way to split the character from the man and that arrogance is what drives fans away in droves. You cannot support a man who you cannot relate to and the arrogance of Mayweather makes him completely unrelatable to huge swathes of the population.
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