Floyd Mayweather’s announcement that he will fight Andre Berto on September 12 in his mooted final fight has received vehement backlash from the general public.
Berto has been introduced as a heavy underdog, and can be backed at odds of around 15-1 while Mayweather can be found at 1/100 with some outlets.
3-3 in his last six fights and having been fairly inactive, Berto has done little to merit a hugely lucrative fight with the best boxer on the planet, and the sport’s biggest draw.
Fans and boxing insiders alike have rightfully criticised Floyd for his choice of opponent.
However, it seems fit to address some hypocrisies that have cropped up concerning Mayweather and UFC star Ronda Rousey.
The two have been mentioned in the same breath more and more of late and it should be noted that a proposed bout between the two is ludicrous – Rousey herself has dismissed, out of hand, ever fighting a man.
However, as the two leading draws in their respective sports and having displayed similar levels of dominance, they are regularly compared.
On Saturday night [August 1], Rousey destroyed Bethe Correia in 34 seconds to defend her UFC bantamweight crown. Social media went into meltdown with sports stars and fans all celebrating Rousey’s win.
Many, including some writers, even went so far as to say Rousey could now be considered the best UFC fighter in history.
Although undefeated before facing Rousey (in nine fights), Correia was placed at similar odds to Berto. Her purple sash in Kung Fu and blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu pale in comparison to the vast experience and accolades Rousey has attained since beginning judo at the age of 11.
Berto, although limited, does at least have experience on the world stage having competed at the Olympics as an amateur and winning two world titles as a professional, being involved in eight world title fights and only losing two of them.
So why the difference in judgement? Rousey was lauded for bludgeoning a vastly overmatched opponent while Mayweather has been lambasted for agreeing to fight one.
The answer seems to lie in the context.
Boxing and mixed martial arts are two completely different beasts and UFC only extends the distinction. In 12 professional fights, six under UFC, Rousey has cemented herself as the greatest female fighter in hers and the surrounding weight classes. Mayweather has had four times as many fights.
Still a relatively young concept, UFC does not yet have the same depth of talent as boxing, particularly among its female fighters.
Rousey has fought and handily beaten the highest ranked challengers available to her with only Christiane Justino, who operates in a higher weight class, considered a legitimate threat to Ronda’s unbeaten record.
Mayweather has, admittedly, beaten the vast majority of the best fighters in and around the weight classes he has fought in, however in choosing to fight Berto, he has avoided the likes of Gennady Golovkin, Amir Khan and Keith Thurman, all of whom would be a much stiffer challenge.
Further to this, Rousey’s annihilation of Correia was not her last fight. At 28 and with a remarkably short career to date, having never gone the distance as a pro, she likely has years left in her.
Mayweather however has repeatedly billed September 12 as his final bout. To close out his Hall of Fame career against an opponent such as Andre Berto while he is still top of the pile would be disappointing.
So, while some will praise Rousey for beating a 15-1 underdog in one breath and slam Floyd for facing one in the next, the two are in different situations and, in the court of public opinion at least, even though Rousey can fight a 15-1 underdog at this stage, Mayweather can’t.