Finally, Floyd Mayweather delivered. And it couldnt have come at a better time. Black America, make no mistake about it, needed Mayweather to show up and show out. He didnt disappoint in his 10-round TKO of Conor McGregor, the latest in a long line of great white hopes.
Randall “Tex” Cobb lasted 15 rounds. So. You know what he got for the effort? It was an “L” like McGregor. #helost
This wasnt old school vs. new school or boxing vs. UFC. This was a black-white deal, so deep and heated. It almost felt like 1960 all over again. One group was going to have its feelings hurt. The junior middleweight battle Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas was much of what the black community needed to feel good again.
Oh. These have been trying time for people of color. From cops killing unarmed black men to a president that has little regard for black people. And he makes it clear every time he opens his mouth. Add into the mix that disgraceful Charlottesville scene. If you werent sure, it showed you clearly that hate is alive and well in America.
Even the NFL, a league made up of 70% black players, apparently isnt afraid to flex its muscles, blackballing former QB Colin Kaepernick from playing in the league because of his kneeling protest against police wrongdoings. Heck, even Jim Bown, once a real activist for black people, sounds like the biggest Uncle Tom going. Oh, yeah. Black people have been getting it from all angles.
Thats why this fight was so significant. Not because it was supposed to be an epic battle for the ages.
It was a 40-year-old seasoned-champ against a UFC champion taking part in his first professional boxing match. And McGregor wasnt entering the ring humble and grateful about an opportunity to make $100 million. McGregor had no respect for Mayweather and mocked black people.
Stephen A. Smith Interviews Floyd Mayweather On Conor McGregor McGregor TKO. Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor
For sure, Mayweather is no angel. Indeed, there was racist talk from both sides. McGregors tone in the pre-fight press conference – calling Mayweather a boy and telling the champ to dance for him – did something Mayweather could never do: he unified most black fans to pull for Mayweather.
Lets be 100. It wasnt always automatic to want to see Mayweather win and win and win. Not even for black folks. Mayweather has rubbed a lot of black people the wrong way and for so many reasons, including a long history of domestic abuse against women, the way he flaunts his wealth, his hard-to-watch defensive bouts and his friendship with unpopular president Donald Trump.
Hence, theres a laundry list of reasons not to want to see Mayweather win. This time was different, however. Black people wanted to see a black person rise up from all the talk and win one for our community. It was that kind of moment. Peeps all over America had cookouts and huddled next to a TV to watch. The biggest fear, no doubt, was that Mayweather would lose and black people would take it on the chin again. You could feel it. This was a must-win. Folks didnt want to have to live down that Mayweather let a punk off the street take what was his.
The passion was real at the barbeque I was at in NYC. The support was solid, was loud. All of Mayweathers past sins were allowed to be wiped clean. Sure, a decision would have been fine. But many hoped Mayweather would be able to score a knockout, delivering damage along the way.
ICYMI: Here were the final seconds of #MayweathervMcgregor https://t.co/h6HINPoLhj
Mayweather almost delivered that KO had the referee not stopped it in the 10th. McGregor became defenseless, unable to protect himself.
Mayweather was clearly the winner. McGregor was clearly the loser. In the process, Mayweather reached an iconic number in sports, going to 50-0 in his career and breaking the 49-0 mark held seemingly forever by heavyweight champ Rocky Marciano.
Still, Mayweathers victory was even bigger than getting into the record books. It just made many feel good about being black, seeing one of our own excel and win in the face of so much strife these days. For sure Mayweather hasnt always been our favorite son. But on Saturday night, for a few hours at least, he was OUR guy.
Our guy won and all seemed right in the world again. It almost made me want to wear a dashiki to work on Monday.