Boxing

Floyd Mayweather Jr. Moves to Cement Legacy and Hush Naysayers

floyd mayweather jr.By Taj “Yuma” Eubanks, June 25, 2007 - Last Saturday’s four-round barnburner between Manchester, England’s Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton and “El Temible” Jose Luis Castillo has set tongues a-waggin’ and left fans with baited breath, yearning for more.

Hatton’s dynamism in his destruction of Castillo marked a return to form, one that had seemed to go the way of the dinosaur since his win over Kostya Tsyzu launched him into worldwide prominence. With reportedly over 11,000 Brits making the trek across the pond for a weekend of hearty fun and rabble-rousing that culminated in the Hatton-Castillo match, America was put on notice as to the rock star-like following that The Hitman enjoys.

Castillo had barely recovered from that perfectly landed liver shot before the Mancunian fired another missive which created an even bigger stir: a verbal jab at the man who sits at the top of the heap, “Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather, Jr. When questioned by Max Kellerman about Floyd Mayweather, Hatton mischievously grinned, glanced around, and simply replied, “...Well I think you've seen more action in four rounds than you've seen [in the whole of] Mayweather's career.”

And with these words seems to have awakened a sleeping giant.

The pound-for-pound boss reportedly retired after his winning effort over Oscar De La Hoya and had previously dismissed Hatton as a potential opponent, stating that not only had Hatton’s people priced themselves out of a prior offer to fight but also that Hatton was not worthy to even be his sparring partner. However, Hatton’s (perfectly timed and crafted) comments in front a packed arena and millions worldwide have struck a nerve. Mayweather has lashed out at Hatton in a hot-off-the-press interview in one media outlet, taking great offense to the perceived insult and making it exceedingly clear that he is now more than willing to come out of retirement and deliver an old-fashioned whipping to Manchester’s finest. Whether or not the fight makes it out of the trash-talking phase is another thing altogether. There are the omnipresent issues to deal with first, not he least of which is money, and more specifically, who gets how much of it.

These issues aside, there are several wonderful storylines unfolding before our eyes. As I have previously written, the stars are aligning in the welter/junior welterweight divisions. Not since the eighties have so many stars plied their trade in these divisions simultaneously. And none shine brighter than Floyd Mayweather, Jr. Love him or hate him, it is undeniable that this born and bred fighter is as close to a perfect fighter as we have seen in many moons. As brightly as he glows, however, there is always the lingering criticism, some well deserved, some not.

Critics claim that he hasn’t fought anyone dangerous since 2002. His fans retort that he has gone undefeated in 6 weight classes, made gobs of cash along the way and he need not prove anything else, as he is already an all-time great and first ballot hall-of-farmer. Further still, some fans lament his decision to retire, arguing that he is too young and talented to walk away and in doing so would be robbing the boxing public (and his legacy) by not facing the young lions of the division. Regardless of which line of thinking boxing fans subscribe to, it is clear that his self-imposed exile will have left an uncomfortable void and too many questions unanswered.

But now Floyd appears more than willing to answer them. Starting with Ricky Hatton, Floyd can put the finishing touches on his legacy that beating a past-his-prime De La Hoya will never do. If he bests the young guns in the division, starting with Hatton and then with mega-fights versus the likes of Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito, then even the most venomous anti-Floyd fan will have absolutely no choice but to give him his just due. Floyd will have beaten the men widely accepted to be the best in their divisions (and also squarely in their primes), in contrast to the Arturo Gattis, Sharmba Mitchells, and Carlos Baldomirs of the world.

Floyd is ridiculously talented, the Tiger Woods of boxing. No one disputes this. He is rich beyond his wildest imagination. Great for his loved ones. Now it seems that Floyd Mayweather, Jr. is finally ready to give fans a fight that we have been clamoring to see (a task he previously claimed that he wanted to do anyway) and put a platinum stamp on an already golden career, cementing his legacy and trouncing the critics in the process. Let’s just hope that his seeming resolve to fight boxing’s other superstars doesn’t end here, as his place in boxing history depends not only on what he has done thus far, but even more so on the choices he makes now that he sits alone at the apex of the sport..

Article posted on 26.06.2007



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