Mayweather Derangement Syndrome (What Is It and How Does It Spread?)

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There’s an odd subsection of boxing fandom that absolutely loses its collective marbles whenever the topic of Floyd Mayweather and his place in history comes up. These otherwise reasonable people lose all sense of logic, fairness, and level-headedness when talk turns to the now-retired five-division former world champ.

The Perpetual Coward and Villain?

For them, Mayweather is a perpetual coward and villain, a shrewder than shrewd boxing businessman who conned fight fans and always searched out the easiest challenges and safest routes when it comes to the sport that allowed him to become a millionaire several times over. From the time Mayweather broke away from Top Rank Promotions, they argue, the man has been all about pulling the wool over the boxing world’s eyes.

As a result, they give the future Hall of Famer pretty much zero credit for what he’s accomplished since becoming his own boss in 2006. To listen to them, every Mayweather opponent since his professional emancipation has been post-prime, pre-prime, or desperately overmatched.

The Best Ever?

And when talk turns to Mayweather’s proclamation of being “The Best Ever,” they get even nastier, claiming that not only isn’t he the best ever, but that he would come up short against just about every one of the all-time greats in every division in which he has competed.

Listening to these people, one would think that Mayweather was an absolute and total illusion who was barely above journeyman level.

The truth, however, is that– whether you like him, love him, hate him, or totally despise him– he doesn’t deserve to be dumped on so completely.

The all-time great stuff can be left up to debate because, really, there’s no way anyone can have a real answer to those kinds of time machine debates. But what about the present-day stuff and Mayweather’s body of work from 2006 up until retirement?

Well, Mayweather may not have fought all the fighters some fans wanted in the order that they wanted him to, but he did get to almost everyone.

Facts Over Fiction?

Marquee wins over Manny Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto, and Shane Mosley have been painted as wins over faded post-prime fighters. However, all three were hardly “shot” when they fought Mayweather. Pacquiao, after losing to Floyd, would go on to register decisive victories over Keith Thurman, Timothy Bradley, Jessie Vargas, Lucas Matthysse, and Adrien Broner. Cotto would go on to beat Sergio Martinez for the world middleweight title. Mosley, meanwhile, had just come off a dominant TKO win over “boogeyman” mauler Antonio Margarito.

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez was a pre-prime 23-year-old when he fought Mayweather, but he had already beaten Austin Trout by the time he stepped into the ring with “Money” and he was less than a year away from beating Erislandy Lara. So, really, Alvarez was not too far off from the best version of himself.

The post-2006 Mayweather also beat a highly-motivated Oscar De La Hoya, an undefeated Ricky Hatton, and a long, long line of fellow titlists and deserving top 3 contenders.

Again, feel how like about Mayweather, the man, but one has to give respect to Mayweather, the fighter. Every boxer will finish his career with a list of opponents that he should’ve, could’ve, and might’ve faced but never did. And every fighter’s team calculates risk vs. reward when taking on opposition. Any way you slice it, though, Mayweather and his legacy don’t deserve the thrashing they get in some corners of the Universo Pugilistico.

Why The Hate?

But why is Mayweather Derangement Syndrome even a thing? Why are these people so violently and aggressively dismissive of the man?

I have my theories and I wrote the following awhile back for another site:

“Don’t believe for a second that the obsessive disdain is about who he did or didn’t fight when he was an active boxer. It has nothing to do with any of that, although most of the critics probably do believe that the dislike is about matters related to his boxing career. But many of these guys should be smart enough to know that Mayweather’s opponent selection and much of what he did as, essentially, his own matchmaker was nothing beyond standard practice for managers and promoters who look after the fighters they represent. Risk vs. reward and selecting the ‘right’ fight at the right time has always been part of the game.

Mayweather doing this for himself, though, is the tie that leads back to the root cause of the disdain. He did it for himself and didn’t rely on the men in suits to make all the deals and touch all the money first before sending him what they felt was an acceptable cut. 

Mayweather’s success is a direct threat to the status quo and to all those business men who benefit from it. And the lackey boxing media, which is dependent on money and favors from the old school promoters and managers, are the eager attack dogs for the anti-autonomy cause. The critical fans– who are also frequently on the side of old guard beliefs and are overwhelmingly ‘pro-business,’ not ‘pro-athlete’– then fall in line with what the media offers.

Mayweather—whether you like him or not, respect his professional legacy or not—is a defiant symbol of there being another way. Boxing doesn’t have to be old men in back offices arranging for ‘my boy to fight your boy.’

And as long as Mayweather continues to be a public figure, thumbing his nose at the system and reaping the benefits of autonomy, he will remain a target…”

Whatever the case, though, the people suffering from this Mayweather Derangement Syndrome really need to reconsider some things and just chill the heck out.

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Paul Magno has over forty years of experience in and around the sport of boxing and has had his hand in everything, from officiating to training. As a writer, his work has appeared in several online publications, including Yahoo Sports, Fox Sports, FightHype, Max Boxing, Boxing.com, Inside Fights, The Boxing Tribune, The Queensberry Rules, and Premier Boxing Champions. You can reach him at: paulmagno@theboxingtribune.com