Why Floyd Mayweather is a Great Fighter...
By John J. Raspanti (May 13, 2010) Doghouse Boxing (Photo © German Villasenor, Doghouse Boxing)  
“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don't adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” – Confucius

In the long and glorious history of boxing lore, there are stories of great fighters and their fights – moments when they seemed to grasp victory from the jaws of defeat and in a word prove to anyone that was watching that their truly special fighters. It’s not always about toughness, sometimes it’s about something else…

June 18th, 1941…Joe Louis versus Billy Conn.

Joe Louis was a tremendous fighter. As he prepared to face the younger Conn, there were rumors he was slipping even though he was only twenty seven years old. Billy Conn on the other hand was rolling having won the light heavyweight championship a few months prior to meeting Louis. The champion was expected to knock out the brash Irishman but Conn had other ideas. He was flat out marvelous that night in June, jabbing Louis crazy and even out punching the stronger and bigger champion. As the 13th round began Louis knew he had to do something. He was behind on two of the three scorecards and was tired, his championship was slipping away. Conn was tired too, Louis decided he would push Conn even more, get inside his grid and make him rumble. Billy obliged (he wanted to knock Louis out) and went toe to toe with the champion. Louis closer now than before, teed off on Conn catching him with two successive rights that toppled “The Pittsburg Kid”.

The winner by knockout…and still Heavyweight Champion of the world Joe Louis.

September 12th, 1951… Sugar Ray Robinson takes on Randy Turpin.

The pound for pound greatest fighter was desperate. Turpin had upset Ray three months before and the sugar man was burning for revenge. He was amazed at how tough Turpin was and the iron in his chin. Robinson was doing better in the 2nd fight…due to some slight adjustments but still the second fight was very much like the first with the slicker Robinson throwing the slashing punches, as Turpin pounded the body and stalked Ray. Entering the 10th round it was anybody’s fight, and then it happened. A badly cut eye forced Ray to get real aggressive. He figured he needed a knockout to win and so he decided to forgo boxing and go for it. His aggression paid off…

Sugar Ray Robinson retained his title with a TKO victory over Randy Turpin with eight seconds left in round 10.

October 30th, 1974…Muhammad Ali burns George Foreman.

The greatest of all times had a plan going into the Foreman fight. He would shock George in the first round – and he did landing a number of lead rights that befuddled and ultimately enraged Foreman. Muhammad realized he couldn’t dance all night, and the shock wasn’t enough, Ali (a genius inside the ring) went to plan b, which was…, big George’s stamina. He would lie on the ropes and let Foreman pound away…covering up but still taking some wicked shots; looking for the counter that he knew would come. The rope a dope had been born…

Muhammad Ali stopped the heavily favored George Foreman at the 2; 58 mark of the eighth round.

September 16th, 1981… Sugar Ray Leonard versus Tommy Hearns.

The biggest fight of the year started very well for Ray Leonard. He was beating Hearns to the punch until the hit man from Detroit made the adjustment that almost won him the fight. The slugger had turned boxer, using his long stinging jab to keep Leonard off balance. Leonard could feel Hearns gaining the upper hand and pilling up the rounds. With Angelo Dundee screaming in his ear “You’re blowin it son”…the second coming of Sugar (though not nearly as talented as the original) knew he had to do something. It was time to use his quickness to get under Tommy’s jab and start dropping some bombs on the tiring Hearns…

It worked…Sugar Ray Leonard stopped Tommy Hearns in the 14th round in a seesaw and unforgettable fight.

So now I come to the super fight between Floyd “Money” Mayweather and Sugar Shane Mosley. The second round suddenly became Mayweathers own personal waterloo. He was stunned and staggered by two crushing right hands by Mosley. He held on – and even stumbled a little after a clinch. By the end of the round he seemed to have regained his senses. His uncle was talking in his ear but Floyd didn’t seem to be listening.

He knew what he had to do…

Mayweather had felt the power of Mosley’s right hand and decided there would be no more of that, so he did what the other great fighters above had done…he adjusted. And for the next nine rounds there was…no more of that. Mosley’s right barely grazed Mayweather and by the end of the fight that right…was a non-factor. Mayweather had even turned the tables on Shane nailing him with some pretty substantial rights of his own.

To me this is greatness. I’m not saying that Floyd Mayweather is on a par with Joe Louis or Muhammad Ali, Ray Leonard…or the master Sugar Ray Robinson. What I am saying is that by adjusting and then dominating a very good fighter, Floyd Mayweather showed some real greatness and for that deserves to be called a great fighter.

It will be interesting to see how he adjusts against someone like Manny Pacquiao but I for one wouldn’t bet against him…

Like it or not…

The cream will always rise to the top…

Questions/comments john.raspanti@activant.com

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