The Ugly American: Floyd Mayweather, Jr., and the Absence of Presence


Most companies are image-conscious and would never associate so closely with a character as unsavory as Mayweather. Infidelity was enough for Tiger Woods to lose multiple sponsors, and marijuana (now legal in some states) jettisoned Olympian Mark Michael Phelps from cereal boxes. Even a rapper—Lil Wayne—recently lost an endorsement deal with Mountain Dew for inflammatory lyrics. But when it comes to boxing—the people under the stairs of sports—corporate slumming is merely an afterthought. Not only has Mayweather become a flagship of sorts for CBS and Showtime, but he has also become a flashpoint for the kind of cynical synergy galvanized for one purpose only: to get viewers to purchase extracurricular programming in the form of expensive pay-per-views. HBO pioneered this money-grab technique, producing countdown shows and documentaries to advertise fights that would not be aired on their own network. So there was Mayweather, released from the Clark County Jail last summer after his umpteenth domestic dispute, the object of 100 hours of special programming and appearances spread across Showtime and CBS to promote his fight against Guerrero. More disturbing, Mayweather was allowed to executive-produce some of the documentaries about him, a conflict of interest outrageous even for the fight racket. In the end, however, this media blitz has given Mayweather a profile big enough to justify his caution in the ring. READ MORE FROM ESQUINA

Tags: Floyd Mayweather Jr. Guillermo Rigondeaux Robert Guerrero

  • Antwonomous

    Fine work as always, Carlos. But I have a question: since Mayweather has always been conservative but brilliant in the ring, hasn’t he always been “just a genius”?

    • thenonpareil

      Hi Anthony,

      Sorry for the delay, but I’m perpetually out of the loop with the comments system here. Anyway, thanks for the compliment.

      For me, Mayweather’s genius is his ability to stir up interest despite his methodical style. Also, I’d say he hasn’t always been conservative–see his fights with Cotto, Ortiz, Corley, Mitchell, Ndou, etc. I have always said that the guy who fought Chop Chop, Mitchell, and Ndou was something truly special, even if the opposition was not always overwhelming.

      In general, I’d say the artist is the fighter who works in a style that moves the spectator, the fighter who ratchets his style to its highest level; the genius is the guy who uses that style just to get through the night. This is not the same as the “brawling” versus “skill” argument you see so often these days, usually made by people who think they have discovered fire every time they sit in front of a keyboard.