Floyd Mayweather Decides It's Better To Burn Naoya Inoue Than Fade Away

'Money' Mayweather has some opinions on 'Kaibutsu'
17:00, 22 Aug 2023

Floyd Mayweather’s incendiary quotes about Naoya Inoue have re-emerged this week. ‘Money’ was originally speaking in the wake of ‘Kaibutsu’s eight-round stoppage of Stephen Fulton to win the WBO and WBC bantamweight championships. The self-proclaimed ‘TBE’ shared a number of unusual views on what he feels Inoue needs to do to be considered truly great.

"What I need Inoue to do is to come fight in the USA” was Mayweather’s opening salvo. The insinuation, beyond Floyd nonsensically referencing “random blood and urine testing” which Japan carries out and Inoue himself undertakes, is that Inoue is a homebody of a fighter. That the fact all but two of his fights have taken place in his native Japan somehow devalues his 25-0 record or his four-division world title achievements.


By contrast, Floyd Mayweather fought outside the United States precisely 0 times during his 50-fight professional career. While Inoue has won world title fights in both America and Scotland, Mayweather never travelled. To act like this is some measure of greatness is hypocritical. Worse, it is actually a little prejudiced. The United States is not the centre of the universe and boxing achievements are as worthy if they take place in Tennessee or Tokyo. 

Mayweather, as the boxing icon often does, managed to make Inoue’s stunning dominance about himself. "I like him because he takes a lot of stuff from my playbook. But it's okay, you're supposed to take from the greats.” But then Mayweather was never noted for his humility. To be fair to the five-weight world champion, his in-ring abilities warrant such self-confidence. 

But Mayweather’s caveats do smack of an ex-fighter who misses the days when he drew the same hyperbolic praise ‘The Monster’ now enjoys. It is clear that ‘Pretty Boy’ misses the spotlight that being the planet’s best fighter brought him. Look no further than the seven exhibition bouts Mayweather has had since he retired from professional competition in 2017.


These so-called contests have all been a breeze for Floyd, coming against a mix of influencers, journeyman fighters, MMA stars and celebrities. But they allow him to hear the raw of the crowd. To glove up and show off the old moves. To remain relevant. Mayweather isn’t fighting Logan Paul or John Gotti III in these bouts. He’s fighting against the dying of the light. 

That spotlight doesn’t shine as brightly on Floyd as it once did. Terence Crawford and Naoya Inoue are the best boxers on the planet now. Tyson Fury occupies Floyd’s old status as the sport’s ultimate vocal firebrand. Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, an ex-victim of Mayweather in the ring, is boxing’s biggest box office star. None of these men is superior to the fighter Floyd once was. But their rise demonstrates how boxing has moved on without Mayweather.

That, more than anything, is the motivating factor behind Mayweather’s appraisal of Inoue. Asking him to fight in America is just an obstacle that keeps the Japanese fighter’s greatness at arm’s length from Floyd’s own. The drug testing comment is similar. The most revealing words were when Mayweather compared Inoue to himself. Even the praise was placed in the context of Floyd’s own accomplishments. 

Mayweather will never be yesterday’s man. His talents were too singular, his influence too great for that to ever be the case. But what Floyd needs to realise is that, at the age of 46 and six years into professional retirement, he cannot expect to be the centre of boxing discussion any more. New kings have emerged to occupy his old thrones. The 15 world title belts he wore are strapped around different waists now. Mayweather should bask in the glow of his legendary career without trying to take the shine off Naoya Inoue’s.

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