In the past few weeks the South African Boxing fraternity was excited about the visit of no. 1 Pound for Pound boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather Jr. The visit was supposed to be a gesture of goodwill to help save the ailing boxing sport in the country but it was a disappointment to his fans and boxing loving people of South Africa.
The fighter who has 45 – 0 fights with no loss however hinted that he is open to fighting in Africa in his 3 fights that are left on his fighting contract before he retires. Again and again South African sports have often relied on a Messiah that will come to solve the problems of the sport instead of addressing them head-on. In the past two days it had transpired that Floyd was not that Messiah. May be Manny Pacquiao would be.
Visiting the Game reserve:
Floyd’s visit also reminded us about the old American stereotype that Africa is one big game reserve, with no people.On Wednesday he visited an undisclosed game reserve instead of going to East London, our Mecca of Boxing where he was expected to have a legacy project or a Boxing exchange programme. It was reported that close to 20 000 people were going to welcome him at Sisa Dukashe Stadium. Whether he came here to hunt our Rhino or other exotic animals remains a mystery. Upon arriving in Johannesburg, he went to the undisclosed nature reserve and had a brief media scrum for an hour. In that press conference he made it clear that he does not know why he is in South Africa. That was evident by his body language and responses to questions.
Revival of the Dube Boxing gym:
After that he went to Dube boxing gym where he was 3 hours late. Once again he probably thought that Africans have the so called “African time”. As if that was not enough he only stayed in the gym for only 5 minutes. Speaking on anonymity, one Boxing South Africa official said “Floyd’s arrival in SA left a bitter taste to many of his supporters and fans. Imagine young boxers who were looking forward to rub shoulders with him.” He was speaking to the respect that there was no legacy project lined up by Mayweather and he did not even have the coaching clinics that were promised.
To put the icing on the cake, people were not even allowed to touch hands with Floyd Mayweather Jr. What ignorance? Even Hollywood actors no longer display such tendencies when visiting Africa. In Cape Town he made it clear that he will go to Robben Island and does not want anything to do with reviving boxing. If his visit is anything to the country, it is an affirmation that internal problems can only be solved internally and not by a stranger. He directed an insult to the boxing loving people that gave up everything to welcome him in their country only for him to not respect them.