|Sharkie’s Machine: How Great Was Floyd Mayweather Jr.?
By Frank Gonzalez Jr. exclusive to Doghouse Boxing (June 8, 2008) Photo © Teddy Blackburn
So, Floyd Mayweather Jr. is retiring from boxingagain. Most of us are sure he’ll be back. The question is when? The answer is; when its safe.
Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito are set to battle in July and Carlos Quintana just lost a rematch to Paul Williams (a rematch that Williams would not have given him, had Williams won their fight last February.)
The winners of those two fights should fight each other and produce an “undisputed Champion” at Welterweight. But now, as a retired fighter, there’ll be no more pressure for Floyd to fight any of those men. Many of his diehard fans will be content to believe he “would have” beaten them anyway if they fought. But in boxing, only the ring decides who can beat who. We’ve all seen upsets before.
Floyd is very talented and whether you like him or not, that he has quick hands, good defense and sneaky power that’s undeniable. Floyd retiring in his prime with so much unfinished business out there is nothing short of disgraceful. It’s not the thing you’d expect from a real warriorbut it’s what you get from a ‘businessman’ boxer, who sees the road getting too narrow.
Floyd’s official remarks go like this: “"It is with a heavy heart that I write you this message today. I have decided to permanently retire from boxing. This decision was not an easy one for me to make as boxing is all I have done since I was a child. However, these past few years have been extremely difficult for me to find the desire and joy to continue in the sport. I have said numerous times and after several of my fights over the past two years that I might not fight again. At the same time, I loved competing and winning and also wanted to continue my career for the fans, knowing they were there for me and enjoyed watching me fight. However, after many sleepless nights and intense soul-searching I realized I could no longer base my decision on anything but my own personal happiness, which I no longer could find. So I have finally made up my mind, spoken to my family, particularly my mother, and made my decision."
Floyd’s parting words reek of immaturity, dishonesty and ungratefulness to a sport that made him a millionaire and asked little in return. He was put on the grandest pedestal of boxing, called the best of the bestwhen he didn’t even fight the best opponents.
Floyd talks about losing the desire and the joy? Sounds like a temporary state of mind. Where’s his mental discipline or his loyalty to his fans that were always there for him? Looks like the only loyalty Floyd has is to his ego.
But alas, Floyd retiring now will stain his legacy as a man who hand picked his opponents and tried to be a PPV fighterwithout even fighting the best competition in his own weight class. Never mind that Pay-Per-View is shrinking boxing’s audience. The red carpet treatment Floyd got enabled him to fight the weakest champ in a division and then move up to the next weight class and do the same. He’s not the first or the last to do this either.
For a man of his skill set to pick up and leave at this particular time makes sense only from a strategic view point; like, he’ll be back when the most dangerous guys in his league are too shop-worn to worry about. If he stays in good fighting shape while being away for two years, he can come back, fight big names that are fading away (like he always has) and make a few more millions before really retiring. This is treasonous to his fan base that will forever engage in useless, subjective arguments about how Floyd would’ve beat this one or that one, even though he never did fight any of them.
The truth is that Floyd’s fights were rarely exciting, since they were usually mismatches against guys at the end of their career or too green to matter, or in the case of DLH, a pure business arrangement, absent the violence of two hungry fighters. Only twice did he face top level, undefeated fighters and that was against Diego Corrales, way back in 2001 and Ricky Hatton last December. But lets look at who his last ten fights were against and you tell me if this is the resume of the best fighter in the sport?
Number 10, Victoriano Sosa (35-2) a decent fighter that took Floyd 12 rounds to beat by Unanimous Decision. Miguel Cotto beat Sosa by KO 4 the next year. Sosa went on to fight B and C class fighters after that until disappearing from action since 2005.
Number 9, Philip N’Dou (31-1) a decent fighter that Floyd beat by TKO 7. After his next fight, a loss to Issac Hlatswayo by Split Decision in 2004, N’Dou was never heard from again.
Number 8, De Marcus Corley (28-2) Floyd wins by UD 12. Cotto beat Corley by controversial TKO 5 ten months later. Corley was on his way down when Floyd faced him; Corley has lost his last four fights in a row.
Number 7, Henry Bruseles, (21-2) Floyd beats one of Cotto’s sparring partners by TKO 8. Bruseles faded away, fighting guys with lousy records and hasn’t been heard from since.
Number 6, Arturo Gatti (39-6) Floyd beats Gatti by TKO in 6. Gatti was well past his prime. In the sixth round, the ref instructed the fighters to break and Floyd sucker punched Gatti who was looking at the referee. Floyd should have been disqualified for that unsportsmanlike conduct but the ref allowed it. Gatti learned real late in his career that you have to protect yourself at all times! After Mayweather, Gatti beat a faded Thomas Damgaard by TKO 11 and then lost by KO to both Carlos Baldomir and Alphonso Gomez, who saw Gatti retire after that fight.
Number 5, Sharmba Mitchell (54-6) Floyd wins by TKO 6. Two fights later, Mitchell loses to Paul Williams. Imagine six foot tall Williams in against tiny 5’4” Sharmba Mitchell? Mitchell should be retired by now.
Number 4, Zab Judah (34-3) who after losing to Carlos Baldomir, next stop was a big money fight against the money man, Floyd, who beats Judah by UD 12. Judah went on to be TKO’d by Miguel Cotto in 11 and at this time is a shell of what he was once upon a time.
Number 3, Carlos Baldomir (49-9) fresh off his win over Gatti and Judah, Floyd took Baldomir to school for a UD 12 win. Now, Baldomir has lost two out of his last three, including a loss to Vernon Forrest by UD 12 and a SD 12 win over a tune up opponent last year. Baldomir is probably retiring himself with close to 60 pro fights under his belt.
Number 2, Oscar De La Hoya (38-4) Floyd wins a decision that could have gone either way in a fight so forgettable, that Floyd and Oscar wanted to do it again and milk their big names for yet another huge PPV that nobody was interested in except for Oscar, Floyd and their accountants.
Number 1, or most recent, Ricky Hatton (43-0) Floyd was too long and too fast for Hatton, who got knocked out by a check hook and banged his head into the ring post before going down and being TKO’d in the tenth round. In his comeback fight against Juan Lazcano, Hatton took a good walloping and was saved from being KO’d when the ref gave Lazcano a long warning and gave Hatton an extra 30 seconds recovery time while his corner tied his shoelaces, which were suddenly in need of tying just when Ricky’s legs were good and rubbery.
Those were the last ten fights of Floyd Mayweather Jr. Not a very impressive resume for a man touted as the best Pound for Pound fighter in boxing. So how great was Floyd Mayweather Jr.? Maybe we’ll never really know.
There really is no best pound for pound fighter in boxing; the whole concept is illogical since there are so many different weight classes in the sport. P4P is just a cheesy marketing ploy to hype fighters. The best fighters in boxing are the ones who fight the best fighters in the most memorable fights. Considering Floyd’s last ten opponents, Money Mayweather simply does not qualify.
Maybe while he’s on hiatus, he’ll grow up a little and stop thinking like a spoiled child, start acting like a grown man, make peace with his father and come back and fight Cotto or Margarito or whoever is the best in his weight class and prove that he wasn’t just a product of careful match making.
Time will tell.
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