Will Mayweather be ready for the next step?
By Wayne Richardson (June 25, 2005) 
Photo © HoganPhotos.com
Floyd Mayweather Jr. has a problem. While he is arguably the most talented natural boxer since Ray Robinson, he has yet to garner the respect usually afforded to fighters of his calibre. The recognition Floyd craves has rolled, dodged, dipped, and ducked away from his grasp as effectively as he has against his previous 32 opponents. Unfortunately for Pretty Boy, deserved or not the only recognition lately has been negative and consequently he remains in the shadows of men he has beaten, most notably Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo.

He hoping it all changes tonight with an impressive show against boxing’s current favourite son Arturo Gatti. With thousands attending and a estimated 500 000 watching the fight via pay-per-view, Mayweather feels a strong performance will elevate him to the next level knowing he cannot just win but must win with extraordinary results, if he is to capture the casual fan market that drives up PPV revenues and if Floyd does win in remarkable fashion, not only does the power of being HBO’s house fighter kick in but the floodgates to the 140 lb division will open wide as well. Super fights with Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto and Kostya Tzsyu will become a reality, all defining fights that would cement Floyd solidly in the all time pound-for-pound rankings if he won.

The timing couldn’t be better for Mayweather either, entering his prime as boxing is in need of a new representative. With media darling Oscar de la Hoya on his way out, a void has been created for a star the can reach the mainstream sports fan, a job that could be up for grabs between him and the very likable Jermain Taylor. If the role was based on ring talent alone it would be no contest for Mayweather but with the general public, congeniality plays the larger role.

Hence we come to Floyd’s real problem in reaching the lofty status of De la Hoya or Ray Leonard. Unlike these former ambassadors of boxing, Mayweather is not media savvy and as a result comes off as dislikeable, a person of more style than substance. His gangster persona frightening to casual fans and his legal troubles more highlighted than his boxing talents, a problem that can easily be solved with an image makeover and a publicist.

If Floyd wants to be a superstar in boxing, he has to recognize that he will no longer only be a fighter but also an image. Accountability of actions will take precedence over boxing ability and a realisation that he will become the equivalent of a commodity is needed. He is has the looks, intelligence and talent to become a big name, lets see if he has the maturity.


Tonight NBA player Kendall Gill will make his pro debut at the age of 37 in Chicago. Gill has been training for 18 months at JABB boxing gym and feels he is in the best shape of his life. Says Gill of his endeavor into the boxing ring, ''I'm excited; it's something I've always wanted to do. I've been a boxing fanatic forever. I just want a handful of fights,'' he said. ''I'm not trying to be the heavyweight champion of the world. It's too unhealthy of a sport to stay in too long.'' My guess is it’s basketball revenge for Roy Jones, good luck Kendall.

SPECIAL: Arturo Gatti vs. Floyd Mayweather MASSIVE Boxing News Archives DHB
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