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"Schools In" with Pretty Boy Floyd
By Martin Wade (May 25, 2004) 
Floyd “Pretty Boy” Mayweather, JR.
Attention junior welterweight division, the best pure fighter in boxing is conducting a tutorial and he’s in search of willing students. Since Arturo Gatti has been marked absent it was former WBO Junior Welterweight Champion Demarcus “Chop Chop” Corley who stepped forward to receive the first lesson. From the opening bell the Pretty Boy wanted to make a statement, draw the line in the sand and make it clear that he can deal with the step up in weight. What followed was one of the sports preeminent talent’s reviewing simply the most advanced curriculum in the ring today.

Round one was an “introduction to toughness” with Floyd immediately assuming position in front of the veteran southpaw and commanding respect with blistering straight right hands. Corley was game to young Floyd’s pressure responding with several good lefts and overhand rights to the pretty boys mug. Despite Corley’s success, Floyd accentuated the separation in class with a sophisticated body attack that included straight rights and whacking hooks to the midsection. By rounds end, it was clear that the “smaller” man unexpectedly enrolled Corley in the “school of hard knocks”.

Round two was a course in “finishing off your work ”; with Floyd punctuating right cross/ left hook combinations with raking body shots. Floyd also seemed to reward his belligerent students head dipping with whipping hooks thrown with the velocity of a wet towel. Floyd also started to utilize a straight jab to the body, a rarity in the modern ring yet an erosive weapon often used by boxing’s new pound for pound prince. Round three found Mayweather rocked with a great counter left hand by Corley. Mayweather appeared genuinely buzzed, but exhibited keen recuperative powers suddenly resuming a vicious body attack that turned the tables on Corley at rounds end.

Round four was Corley’s best round as he caught Floyd with a good hard right hand backing the ring wizard into he ropes. By 1: 28 of the round, Floyd reassumed the reigns with a hard left hand and continued to bang Corley’s body. The two junior welterweights ended the round trading shots with Mayweather getting the better of the exchange. In hindsight, though Corley should be commended on his showing this was his “last stand”. This was evidenced by the Pretty Boy running back to his corner grinning like a middleschooler in comparison to Corley’s weary gate.

Round five was a lesson in Mayweather’s versatility and balance. At one point the pretty boy swiveled into a southpaw stance simply to deliver crushing body shots at the best angle. Mayweather’s jab would pitty pat and deceptively morph into a whipping hook making it difficult for Corley to counter effectively. By this point, Corley was starting to show the effects of the debilitating body attack employed by “little” Floyd. Larry Merchant mentions Corley’s purse for the fight (150 grand) and I’m thinking he made easier money trading feints and smirks against Zab Judah.

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Round six was a continuation of Mayweather’s unique brand of education featuring blistering rights (some from the shoulder, some of the slapping variety) and the consistent body attack. By rounds end, when trapped in the far corner Floyd brought back fond memories of Pernell Whitaker ducking five Corley punches while standing in place. In round seven the new king slowed his output (and therefore) pace of the bout. Corley was so clearly dominated by this point he couldn’t seem to take advantage of Floyd’s inactivity.

Round eight was a course in Mayweather’s ability to master multiple stances. Most boxers are the masters of one, in round eight Mayweather featured hands up, down by sides, southpaw and the patented angle with shoulder held high. Mayweather was effective in each stance, firing a six-punch combination from the hands held high stance. At some point (as in all Mayweather fights) there’s a combination that I know I’ll watch at half speed several times in the morning. After digging several right uppercuts to the body Floyd throws a double uppercut to different parts of Corley’s head chasing the shots with a perfect left hook causing the southpaw to turn away in retreat. Floyd (in perfect balance) pursues the DC native across the ring landing a right hand and left jab/cross hybrid. “Gorgeous” is the only way to describe this round, on par with some of Floyd’s most artistic outputs.

In round nine Floyd Mayweather opened up, landing a six-punch combination that I can only depict as “precision banging”. The combination was so short all you could see was Mayweather’s shoulders rotating with crushing efficiency. The most impressive aspect of the combination that dropped the game Corley was that it was “Trinidad like”, delivered from the games premier stylist. Between rounds, during the “dead air” Emanuel Steward could be heard chuckling. Floyd Mayweather is probably the only fighter that could make a Hall of Fame trainer giggle while witnessing his obscene display of fluidity and ring generalship.

Round ten can best be described by the 34-9 advantage in power punches landed in favor of the Pretty Boy. Floyd’s body punching was starting to resemble that of a fast ball pitcher, hitting Corley’s midsection with thudding effect. By this point Mayweather’s lesson was well taught and his entrance into the 140-pound division well noted. Rounds 11 and twelve were a forgone conclusion with the only highlight being Floyd’s imploring Corley to “stop crying and fight”.

In the post fight interview, Mayweather stood composed as if he’d just finished sparring a few rounds, thanking God and Roca Wear CEO Damon Dash. Merchant considered the possibilities at 140 while Steward chimed in that Mayweather was hit too much for a Kostya Tszyu and could be matched (in speed) by Sharmba Mitchell. I would have to say I don’t agree with the Kronk monarch because Floyd fights the fight that presents itself. Few forget how well Judah did against Tszyu before getting starched; now imagine Kostya 3 years older against a guy that is at a higher level above Zab in class and chin. Mitchell has retained great quickness, but Mayweather’s reflexes are of the feline species. I believe the best boxer in the game has enough to make both Mitchell and Tszyu old overnight and I’d be hard pressed to bet against Floyd in either fight.

The middle class

In light of Don King’s horrendous under card to Jones Vs Tarver, I would like to add commentary on boxing’s “middle class”. In the last month, I’ve witnessed two junior welterweights (Corley & N’dou) turn in tough, professional performances for “short money” against a talented prospect and a future great. In the boxing industry there seems to be a theory that pay per view numbers are driven by attracting the mainstream sports fan. While this formula for success may be one way to profit from an event I don’t believe it’s the only way. A lot of hardcore fight fans were steered away from Jones Vs Tarver II on the strength of the crappy under card alone. I understand that fighters have to be paid, but I would love to see a promoter take a chance on the “less is more” formula. Take the junior welterweight division; it’s loaded with great talent and a huge middle class of workmanlike tough professional fighters. Though not superstar material these gladiators provide boxing fans with great action fights, testing some of the best in their divisions. These are fighters that deserve the chance to stay busy and continue getting paydays. Why not court the hardcore fight fan with a loaded card topped off with Mayweather’s debut as a pay per view attraction against the likes of Vivian Harris or Arturo Gatti. I’m certain that there are 400,000 boxing fans willing to pay 39.95 for a card like this.

Omar Weiss Vs Emanuel Augustus
Lovemore N’Dou Vs Demarcus Corley
Miguel Cotto Vs Franciso Bojado
Floyd Mayweather, JR. Vs Arturo Gatti or Vivian Harris

Until the next “Jones”

The Boxing Junkie.

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