Can Anyone Beat Floyd Mayweather Jr.? Part III (Sharmba Mitchell)
By Chris Ackerman (October 18, 2005) Part I: AND Part II: Hatton, Cotto, Tsyzu 
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Athletic phenomenons come along every so often and during their reign at the peak of their sport, they seem untouchable. Such is particularly true of the sweet science, the main difference being the path of decline. Great fighters seldom burn out slowly but are rather vanquished first by deterioration of physical prowess and then by a foe looking to take over the throne.

When a true superstar with elite skills, incredible gifts and absolute dedication emerges and cements himself on the scene, the question for promoters, odds-makers and fans is whether they can be beat, or at least which opponent would put up the best fight. Floyd Mayweather Junior is such an athlete who has elevated himself far above any of his contemporaries in the ring. Ranked number one pound for pound on any credible list, he is so superior to every other currently active fighter that slots two and three ought to remain empty. The question then is, can anyone beat him?

Before we embark on this discussion in any detail, a few ground rules should be laid out. Analysis will be of realistic opponents Floyd might actually face. A match-up with Samuel Peter is never going to happen. There were serious talks of a fight with Ronald “Winky” Wright and therefore, he will be used to determine the upper limit in weight class of potential opponents for Mayweather. In his last outing, Wright fought at 160 lbs. and has signed on for another middleweight contest later this year. Still, Wright is more suited to junior middleweight and there would likely have been some variety of catch weight agreement had the fight with Floyd been made. Only fighters south of middleweight will be considered; that is 154 and below, inclusive.

In addition, this is a discussion of fights that could realistically happen, and therefore only currently active fighters will be considered. The answer to how Floyd would have fared against a prime Roberto Duran or Pernell Whitaker will never be answered and is one for another forum. Our amended question is this: Can any currently active fighter from 140 to 154 inclusive, beat Floyd Mayweather Jr.?
The Candidate---140 lbs

Sharmba Mitchell-

After at least a couple false starts, Mayweather has secured an opponent for November 19th. Talks of possible fights with either Winky Wright or Zab Judah either stalled or were overstated by the press and it is officially Sharmba Mitchell who will step in against Floyd next month. It will be Mitchell’s first big fight since he was thoroughly demolished in his rematch with Kostya Tszyu. Many analysts including myself, felt that Mitchell might give Tszyu all sorts of problems but it didn’t materialize and he was instead, utterly dispatched with in three rounds.

The Mitchell camp blames that performance, or lack of, on difficulty making weight. In fact, Sharmba himself has emphatically stated that he can no longer make 140 and would turn down any offer at that weight. Enter Floyd Mayweather Jr., a huge payday and an outside chance to get launched into the stratosphere. The beauty part is the ready-made explanation for the loss: the weight issue.

In spite of the whoopin’ by Kostya, the fact remains that Mitchell is a very talented fighter, with speed, power, experience and a southpaw stance. He has been derailed twice by Tszyu but had excuses both times: the knee injury and the physical toll of making weight. He showed a nice body attack against decent opposition like Ben Tackie and with all the outrageous upsets in the sport as of late, it would be foolish to write a guy with Mitchell’s ability completely off. Having said that, he is also thirty-five years of age with 60 professional bouts under his belt. He is hoping to have 61 under a title belt, but Floyd is too young, fast and focused for Little Big Man whose best days are behind him. This is a good warm up for a showdown with Zab Judah, however.

Before the reader starts thinking this is a press release, or that this analysis will simply be a discussion of how Floyd Mayweather Jr. would dispatch any opponent put before him, let me say that anyone can be beat. Anything can happen in the sport of boxing and this breakdown is based on the skills and abilities that these fighters have demonstrated thus far; on both guys on their “A” game.

Styles make fights and while Mayweather is extraordinarily gifted and well rounded, there is a blueprint for beating even him. As a matter of fact, well, as a matter of opinion anyway, there is a guy out there among currently active fighters with the tools, style, and persona that make him all wrong for Floyd. He is a guy that continues to be unheralded and underestimated in spite of his frightening abilities…and it is precisely for these reasons the two should fight. To be the best you have to continually test yourself against the most dangerous opponents, and sooner or later Floyd will be called on to do just that.

Stay tuned for the welterweights… .
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