Floyd Mayweather Jr vs. Manny Pacquiao: Kicking Over the Soapbox!
By Jason Petock, DoghouseBoxing (Sept 23, 2009) Photo © German Villasenor  
It's no mystery among avid boxing circles and fans alike that since Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s recent return to the fight scene and his subsequent defeat of Juan Manuel Marquez that the fight that everyone wants to see is Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao. With this said, it seems only fair to back off a little and pause somewhat before we all jump the gun on our next criticisms of Mayweather (which we all know are coming), no matter how he performs in the proposed bout if it even happens.

I say this because no matter who Mayweather fights he gets criticized. They're smaller opponents, or he hand picks who he fights. Or the theory of how he ducks everyone and refuses to fight true challenges. Typically the people making these statements have never fought, let alone attempted to train as hard and diligently as Floyd Mayweather Jr. has during his career because if they had then they wouldn't let such garbage leak from their mouths on a routine basis. Say what you must and continue to pick him apart, but it is your disdain for the man and his skills and talent in the ring that make you despise him, not the caliber of his opposition. That is just a smoke screen and excuse to hide the true underlying reasoning for not giving the man his props.

Granted there will be several of you who say that I am beating a dead horse with my theories on Floyd Mayweather Jr. already. All I can offer up in response is that after reading the constant negativity and disregard for someone who has always been a true Champion in the sport, it appears that it is you who has lost your way. Boxing fans have a problem with Mayweather's showmanship and attitude, not his boxing. There were many who disliked Paulie Malignaggi for that very same reason, a fighter who also has incredible boxing skills and makes fights look easy often by showcasing these strengths, while he builds up his fights by talking the talk when he has to. Boxing is the hurt business, but people tend to forget that it is also entertainment. Fighters often have to say things and act certain ways to not only sell their fights, but also psych themselves up and everyone else involved up in the process, so that the overall outcome is a good one for all. In the incredibly tough economic times that we have been having it is no wonder that more boxers have been speaking their minds, it puts asses in the seats and makes for an entertaining buildup and combustible drama that we all know and love when there's a good fight on the table.

Mayweather knows that he is the anti-hero and the enemy and he seems to feed off of his detractor's words, and can you really blame him? Time and time again he makes them eat those words, putting their foot in their mouths over and over again. If he fights Manny Pacquiao and loses then his greatness will not only be questioned but removed once and for all, yet if he beats him then the same excuse will be made in that he beat a smaller fighter, as was the case with Marquez. If he fights Shane Mosley and wins, people will just say that Mosley is an older version of himself and that Mayweather fought a former version of the “Sugar” Shane that we all used to herald and admire. And should Mosley beat Mayweather, then people will just make the same case that they would upon Pacquiao's victory, saying that Mayweather faced a tough opponent and fell short. It must get tiring for Floyd Mayweather Jr. to have to always live up to everyone's expectations, never really doing enough to satisfy any of us ever, even when he shows us all what he is capable of repeatedly.

Styles make fights they say, and we've all become very accustomed to Floyd's over the years. We know he is one hell of a boxer and can make offense as well as defense look relatively easy as far as what he is capable of in the ring. With this being said, it is quite interesting that people choose to slam Mayweather for fighting the way he fights, opting to box, instead of taking unnecessary risks and fighting uncharacteristically like everyone wants him to do. It would be like asking Micky Ward to just use his legs and never throw the left hook to the body or push the action. Or kind of like telling James Toney to stop using lateral and head movement, his angles and don't be as crafty, just stand in front of your opponent and let him get off. What we fail to realize in our picking apart of Mayweather with our disapproval no matter what, who, or where he fights, is that he is doing what he is supposed to do in the ring. He does what he has been doing successfully since boxing as a small child, and that is to control the ring, box your ears off and stay out of harms way. Some of us may not like this style and prefer to see Floyd Mayweather Jr. get his teeth bashed in for our own selfish reasons, but he is a boxer and a purist first and foremost, and it is this fact alone that tends to annoy the very people who claim to have an affinity for the sport and its art form.

If Cotto beats Pacquiao, then should Mayweather still fight Pacquiao? Then Pacquiao will drop down a rung according to all the “experts” and analysts out there, after of course they use the same excuse that Cotto was the much bigger man, etc. that they applied to Mayweather when he fought Marquez. What's amazing is that fighters throughout history have outweighed their opponents in that ring by far more than 4 pounds, some as much as 15 pounds and over, yet we all tend to shout the loudest when it's Mayweather Jr. involved. Why is that? Instead of accepting the man as a fighter and lauding him for bringing back some interest for the sport on a night where boxing had to compete with not only MMA but also football, Floyd still managed to pull a rabbit out of the hat with Marquez's help and give us a pretty decent fight that was not only entertaining but also lived up to expectations, at least the expectations of those who still believe that boxing is alive and well and means something more than an alphabet soup title or an armchair quarterback's opinions.

I'm all for action fights as well, but I can appreciate and acknowledge the beauty that is boxing and the craftsmen who use their tools to highlight this beauty. If boxing was only predicated on knockouts alone and nothing more, no strategy, angles, discipline, training or any of the myriad of other elements that are required to be present to make boxing what it is, then it would be called something entirely different. Bum fights perhaps? Do yourselves and everyone a favor and please, I repeat, please if you hold boxing and its fighters in contempt that much just remove yourself from the equation. It's that simple.

Jason at:

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