By Jimmy Brookins
TOWER Staff Writer
LeBron James is the biggest name in sports. If there were a close second, I would probably have to say Kobe Bryant. Many tend to think that Floyd Mayweather is the biggest name in sports and I don’t understand how?
I will agree, however, there are many people who might say that he is the most popular business man in sports. In part because of the money he has made and the empire he has built. Let me break down why I do not think he is the biggest name in sports. If you are a true sports fan, especially a boxing fan, how many classic Mayweather fights can you remember off the top of your head? You probably could not name five of his fights you have seen or heard of in recent years.
In comparison to other welterweight, lightweight and other boxing legends, Mayweather does not destroy anybody. He does not punish his opponents and just demolish them the way the likes of a Bob Foster, Thomas Hearns or Roberto Duran did during their lightweight title reign. Mike Tyson was the face of boxing during the majority of his career. Granted, Tyson’s victories were not against opposition that resembled murderer’s row, but he did eliminate all of the B-level fighters he faced in an impressive fashion. Tyson was a draw because he was easily promoted as a genuine life-taker, and his knockout record, despite the opposition, backed it up. So it is easy to see why casual boxing fans flocked to watch Tyson. They did not care if he was facing Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Joe Frazier or a prime Larry Holmes, they just wanted to see him knock someone out.
In contrast, as already established, most of Mayweather’s fights do not end in the memorable fashion of other marquee fighters. In fact, Mayweather was not even a gold medal winner at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Meaning that there was not much buzz surrounding his pro-debut like there was with Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard and Oscar De La Hoya. Actually, Mayweather’s teammate David Reid, the only American Gold medal winner during those games, garnered much more attention and hype than did Mayweather. Basically, Mayweather fought as a pro for nine years before most leisure boxing fans knew of him.
Mayweather would not be the face of boxing today if there were fighters like Ali, Leonard, De La Hoya or Tyson around, but they have all retired. I will give him credit for being able to make a safety first counter-puncher, who avoided the only fight boxing fans wanted him to deliver which would have allowed him to become the face of what once was the greatest sport in the world. To Mayweather’s credit, due to what he has had to work with, he could not have played it any better inside or outside of the ring.
Mayweather did not earn any money on endorsements in the last fiscal year, something which is unheard of for someone of that notoriety, which basically says most agree with what has been said above. Mayweather is not getting endorsements, which means that nobody actually cares about him, which makes his Pay-Per-View numbers even more astounding.
LeBron James is similar to Michael Jordan’s status. He is best player in the NBA and the most famous person in American sports today. Just think commercials, shoes and his brand in general generates more buzz and relevance than any other athlete. Like Mayweather, he is the best in the game at what he does. Unlike Mayweather, LeBron James has better charisma, and more people gravitate towards him because of his personality. His rookie year LebRon had just as much buzz as anybody in the history of his sport. His rookie year he already signed a 90 million dollar contract before he even played a game, and his statistics speak for justified the hype.
He has amassed many awards as well and you either love him or hate him, but yeah you definitely are going to talk about him. He is compared to basketball greats from Magic Johnson, to Michael Jordan, and it is a fair comparison. When people hear the pretty boy Floyd Mayweather’s name and LeBron’s name who do you believe is the most popular athlete in America?