Mayweather goes on the offensive

By Robert Ecksel on October 23, 2020

There have been too many champions in the sport of boxing for at least half a century.

Floyd “Money” Mayweather has gone on the offensive. During a preview of next week’s pay-per-view fight between his fighters Gervonta Davis and Leo Santa Cruz, the former five-weight world champion turned boxing promoter has cherry-picked an issue which he believes is, if not the root of all evil in boxing, one of the big things that has dragged down the sport.

 

Sanctioning bodies and the exorbitant fees they charge are definitely a problem. But there’s more than one thing about boxing that “don’t look good.”

 

“There’s too many champions in the sport of boxing right now,” he said. “There’s no such thing as a super champion. Not at all. I’m not taking nothing away from nobody. There’s too many belts. And the reason why? Let me tell you what’s going in the sport of boxing, why there are so many different titles and so many different belts.”

 

There have been too many champions in the sport of boxing for at least half a century. If that’s breaking news, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle.

 

“People don’t know,” continued Mayweather, “for every belt that you win, there’s a sanctioning fee. If a fighter wins an interim belt, he has to pay a sanctioning fee. If a fighter has just a regular belt, he has to pay a sanctioning fee. And if a fighter is a super champion, he has to pay a sanctioning fee. It’s not good for the sport of boxing.”

 

There may be people who don’t know about sanctioning fees, even though I’ve yet to meet them. But it could be the company I keep. That must be it.

 

“Now, when a fighter fights, every fighter is a champion. It’s not like a fighter winning an amateur trophy. Everybody’s a champion. Everybody has a belt. So, once again, I don’t want to knock nobody, but I’m tired of seeing fighters having to fight [when] everybody’s got a championship belt now.”

 

Mayweather is exaggerating. Everybody is not a champion. Everybody does not have a belt. He is stretching the truth to make a point. Why he is making that point at this particular moment in time may be other than it appears.

 

“All these belts is like trophies,” he said, despite saying a moment earlier that “It’s not like a fighter winning an amateur trophy.” Without pausing to take a breath, Mayweather took aim at the culprits du jour.

 

“The WBC, the WBC, the IBF, and the WBO, y’all got to clean this shit up. This is bad for boxing. And there’s no such thing as super champion. You guys are just taking money from these fighters, getting extra money for sanctioning bodies. And this goes to my company as well," he said, finally getting to the crux. “We got to clean this shit up. This don’t look good.”

 

Sanctioning bodies and the exorbitant fees they charge are definitely a problem. But there’s more than one thing about boxing that “don’t look good.” What about the abandonment of same day weigh-ins? What about the proliferation of weight classes? What about poor judging and the ability of the gaming industry and promoters to affect decisions, which severely delegitimize the sport? What about boxers mortgaging their future health, with no guarantee that they’ll have access to medical care when they quit the ring?

 

Making hay in boxing is a team sport. Sanctioning bodies, whose purpose is ill-defined, and the fees they charge are of course a concern to someone nicknamed is “Money.” They are useful, however, from a marketing perspective. A fighter with belt is automatically deemed a champion, however insignificant that belt may in fact be. But a champ is a champ is a champ and is easier to sell to an uneducated audience if he has a belt around his waist. Floyd Mayweather knows this as well as anyone. But what he knows and decides to reveal appear to be two different things.