The Floyd Mayweather exhibition tour, aptly named “The Heist,” continued at the FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, Florida. In a card mixed with bare-knuckle and boxing, Mayweather was in the main event fighting John Gotti III Sunday night.
Floyd, 46, was facing the 30-year-old Gotti as part of a 5-country tour which includes stops in Japan, Korea, and Germany.
Other than Floyd’s exhibition with Logan Paul, these fights have not garnered much interest outside his own base as the opponent pool seems to be mostly influencers.
The bout started off by not starting.
Floyd Mayweather Entourage Is Enormous
After Floyd pulled his traditional stall tactics as it relates to his walkout like the mind games were necessary, both fighters were in the ring ready to start when referee Kenny Bayless ordered Floyd’s red corner to clear out.
His entourage is usually large, but without the stringent rules and regulations of the pro-ranks, Floyd Mayweather has made a habit of testing the limits of what a ‘sanctioned fight’ means.
Perhaps bothered by the stalling of the opening bell, Mayweather came out swinging.
Floyd Mayweather Comes Out Swinging
He touched Gotti up to the head and body, picking shots that Gotti could barely see coming through his high and tight guard.
The level separation was clear if the reason for this fight was not.
This did not come down to timing, speed, or gameplan, and Gotti’s corner had a hard enough time explaining basic no-no’s to their fighter, let alone strategies and techniques to win the fight.
The only real “weapon” Gotti had was the clear weight advantage over Floyd Mayweather. It did not matter.
Boldfaced Names On Hand
Larry Holmes and Big Pappi were in attendance, a common occurrence for these PPV shows staged by TMT, though it is not super clear who is the backer of these Floyd “guaranteed purse” events.
Gotti routinely held Floyd from behind the head, something that he himself complained about after being warned by Bayless, a moment that Floyd took advantage of to land a straight right—a callback to the Victor Ortiz bout, if only it had ended things, then and there in the 4th of a scheduled 8 rounder.
Floyd Mayweather was toying with his opponent, and Gotti grew more and more frustrated, culminating in an awkward exchange where Gotti refused to let go of Floyd in a clinch even after being ordered by the ref to stop.
That led to the saddest point in the “fight” where Bayless basically had to explain why Floyd’s shots to the back of the head were legal—Gotti routinely put himself in vulnerable positions.
However, Bayless has been accused of giving Floyd too much leniency.
Ref Kenny Bayless Makes Presence Felt
In between that round, Bayless claimed that he would stop the fight if Gotti continued to ignore his instructions.
Gotti’s trainer complained that Floyd was talking too much smack during the fight, a foul that pales in comparison to Gotti ignoring referee commands.
In the 6th round with just under a minute left, Bayless waved off the fight after it seemed clear that Gotti could not control himself, a decision that Floyd Mayweather seemed to ignore at first.
Things Go To Hell
Perhaps realizing his night, and opportunity, were over, Gotti maneuvered around Bayless and began to attack Floyd Mayweather.
Floyd was in full defense mode as Gotti threw more punches in the few seconds after the fight than he did in the 5 full rounds prior.
The scene erupted soon after Floyd landed a right hook that caught Gotti hard enough that he was forced to back off of the undefeated pro.
That gave Floyd an opportunity to escape the fighting, and it also allowed the massive entourages to brawl in the ring as Gotti’s trainer did his best to corral his fighter before getting clipped with his back turned.
The emotions remained high for several minutes and Floyd Mayweather sat on the turnbuckle, bouncing, and laughing at the situation.
The fight was over, but the mayhem continued and anyone that bought a ticket for the front row was also in the line of fire.
In fact, anyone that paid money to watch this event (me included) should feel like they got exactly what was advertised: a “heist.”
Heist Is The Right Word
It was an elaborate heist, the kind that Ocean and his friends would find a funny little nickname for so that it can be later referenced.
These events feel like the Wild West, and they continue to push boundaries of what is considered entertainment in the combat sports arena.
You could hear a woman on what I’m assuming was a ‘hot mic’ say she was “knocked down” during the melee.
The broadcast team, which included former light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver, left the booth once things got out of hand and it was clear the fight was over, but it is not clear who the woman was that made that comment.
Comical Yes, Funny No
Nothing about this FloydMayweather exhibition was funny but everything about this event was comical. From artist performances to the odd choices made by the production truck, this event could’ve had a completely appropriate ending and it would have still been a disaster.
It just does not feel like there is a grown up with event planning experience in the room when decisions on these events are being made.
The goal is making money, and even though boxing is the thing being promoted, it is, in reality, all about selling the bizarre and obscure.