Floyd Mayweather has never been one to back away from controversy — or create it in some cases — and it looks like he doesn’t plan to stop after retiring unbeaten at 49-0 from professional boxing.
The “Money” man recently spoke on the popularity of UFC fighter Conor McGregor, who has racked up an impressive record of 19-2 (18 finishes — KO/TKO/Submission), with his most recent a 13-second destruction of former UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo.
McGregor, an Irishman, is also known for his outspokenness and trash-talking, and it doesn’t sit well to Floyd Mayweather that he’s getting so much praise while “Money” gets the criticism for the very same thing.
In comments to the website FightHype, Mayweather blamed racism in boxing for the distinction. He first pointed to how Ronda Rousey was embraced after “somewhere around 10, 11, 12 fights” and then set his sights on “that McGregor guy.”
“And what’s so crazy, I don’t really know the McGregor guy; never seen him fight. I heard his name actually from one of the runners that works for our company; a little kid named Ken Hopkins, he’s a runner and takes care of a lot of the daily business. Whatever we need, he takes care of. He’s a cool little kid, I like him, and he does MMA. He told me about the guy McGregor. They say he talk a lot of trash and people praise him for it, but when I did it, they say I’m cocky and arrogant. So biased! Like I said before, all I’m saying is this, I ain’t racist at all, but I’m telling you racism still exists.”
While it is somewhat hard to disagree with Floyd Mayweather on the statement that racism still exists, some believe he may be misreading the reason behind his criticism alongside the simultaneous embrace of Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey.
As Yahoo’s Ryan McKinnell points out, “Mayweather’s spouting here sure sounds like sour grapes.”
McKinnell adds that Floyd Mayweather was likely vilified for “his history of domestic violence, and to a lesser extent, his less-than-thrilling style in the ring,” which “certainly didn’t help his popularity.”
Still, Floyd does have one somewhat credible piece of evidence to back up his rant — the praise for Ronda Rousey over Laila Ali. While Ali certainly made a name for herself in the sport of boxing, it was nothing along the lines of Rousey, and that was in spite of having fought several more fights.
To this, McKinnell believes that “women’s boxing hasn’t ever really resonated with the average mainstream sports fan.”
“The UFC created a woman’s division because of Rousey and she’s taken the company to new heights with her ability to reach those fans with her accessibility and promotional efforts,” he adds.
To build on something that McKinnell says, there is also the fact that Rousey and McGregor are finishers. Between them, they are 31-3, with 30 of those victories ending in a KO, TKO, or submission. Furthermore, their three losses ended by submission (twice against McGregor) and knockout (once for Rousey).
In short, things happen in their fights, and that leads to an excitement that goes beyond the MMA fan base. For Floyd Mayweather, most fights ended in often-dull decisions, with Mayweather seldom going after an opponent, opting instead to rely on his reputation as one of the best counterpunchers to ever step in the ring.
While it kept him safe, it also resulted in nine of his last 10 fights ending in unanimous decisions, where both he and his opponents took very little damage.
But what do you think, readers? Is Floyd Mayweather right about why people vilify him and like Rousey and McGregor? Sound off in the comments section.