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May 2015: Why Floyd Mayweather is the Smartest Man in Boxing

Whether you thought “The Fight of the Century” was boring or weather you thought it was a technical masterpiece of the “sweet science” you have to tip your hat to Floyd Mayweather for being on the top of his game and doing what he does best - avoiding getting punched in the dome.

Regular readers of this blog and listeners to my podcast know that my background is in professional wrestling, which is … a little different from boxing. In my sport, the goal is to work with your opponent and take care of him the best you can to put on an entertaining show. In boxing the aim is to hit your opponent in the head as hard as possible and as many times as possible to render him unconscious; precisely the reason I would never become a boxer in the first place.

When you look at some boxers after they’ve retired, it’s clear that too many thunderous blows to the cranium have caused irreversible damage. Take a guy like Andrew Golota for example. Once a heavyweight contender, Golota fought many of the top fighters of his day including Lennox Lewis, Riddick Bowe, Chris Byrd and even “Iron” Mike Tyson, and although he made a pretty penny in prize money, he paid an even higher price with his health. Nowadays it’s difficult for this Polish boxing legend to even utter a sentence without stuttering.

When the brain hits the inside of the skull too hard, that’s a concussion. Bruising occurs which can cause memory loss, double vision, migraine headaches and emotional problems like depression. In the average boxing match that has the potential to happen hundreds of times in a single 12 round fight. Think about the potential abuse that has on the human brain over a 10, 20 or 30 year career.

Even in a “fake” combat sport like wrestling, we have our fair share of concussion related problems, the most prominent being the murder-suicide case of [name redacted]. And although WWE has done their best to just erase Chris Benoit form the annuls of wrestling history, Christopher Nowinski, a concussion specialist and former professional wrestler himself, has actually studied the brain of Benoit and several other professional athletes to try to understand how multiple concussions can affect their lives, and honestly the results are pretty gruesome.

So when I watch Mayweather fighting, I don’t think he’s a coward or a chicken and I certainly don’t think he’s boring. However, not being the world’s biggest boxing fan, I also don’t really appreciate the “sweet science” as much as others. Instead I look at “Money” and say to myself - damn, that guy has got it all figured out: Don’t get punched in the head.

He bobs, he weaves, he feigns, he twists, he turns, he ducks, he sticks, he moves. He does a lot of things, but getting hit in the head is not one of them. Mayweather has probably made more money than anyone in the history of professional fighting sports and he did it all while taking a fraction of the punishment that most fighters take. That’s why he’s the smartest. When is someone finally going to knock this guy out and shut him up? That sells pay-per-views.

For Mayweather, it’s a business. He even said in his post-fight interview that he lost his love of the sport a long time ago and just looks at it now as a job. So, why would he want to take any more punishment than is necessary? His goal coming into “The Fight of the Century” was to make a nine-figure pay day and he did. Good for him. Hell, for that kind of money, even 5%, I’d go in there and take a few shots to the skull too, but he did it without even taking much damage and has made quite a nice living out of it. Having said that, I’d still rather have somebody poke me in the eye with a sharp stick than pay $100 to watch his fight on PPV.

- Daniel Austin (blog) (podcast)

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