Floyd Mayweather - World-Class Virtuoso: "There's only Ooooooone Mayweather!"

floyd mayweather jr.09.12.07 - By David Math: In a tale of ironic beauty - Floyd Mayweather approached the ring with Bruce Springsteen's 'Born in the USA' blaring through the MGM Grand in Vegas facing true adversity as 20,000 lusted for a Mayweather loss. Instead they saw a virtuoso paint a magical canvas within a 24'' ring.

Hatton - undersized and thoroughly outclassed - made Floyd Mayweather uncomfortable in the early rounds as he imposed his bull-horn will - rough-housing - landing glancing body blows and occassional short left hooks. It was clear that Hatton was going to lay everything out in that ring. In return, Floyd was going to have to fight. This was to be no walk-in-the-park for Floyd like his bouts versus Carlos Baldomir and Oscar De Le Hoya where he could stick and move for 12 rounds and barely break a sweat. He was going to have to fight - and fight he did..

Floyd weathered the early Hatton onslaught and even dished out some rough-house tactics of his own - clinching strategically after landing picture-perfect straight rights - using his size advantage to out-muscle Hatton on the inside. While Hatton was fooling some judges and fans with the sheer output of energy and punches thrown in the ring - Floyd was actually *landing* shots cleanly, and it was wearing down Hatton methodically.

After several rough sequences of physical inside boxing, clinching, and a war of wills, Mayweather broke Hatton in the 8th as the accumulative effect of laser-fast combinations started to show wear-and-tear on the UK brawler. Mayweather was now landing his signature straight right-hand nearly at will and Hatton was in trouble. Never backing down from Mayweather - Hatton abandoned any game plan and began swinging for the fences wildly doing anything he could do to stay in the fight. It simply wasn't enough and Floyd made Hatton pay for his lack of discipline and polish with an almost telepathic left hook (called a 'check hook' by Floyd) timed perfectly that sent Hatton sprawling head-first into the turnbuckle. Hatton bravely picks himself up just in time to eat another Jedi-crafted Mayweather combination. Joe Cortez had seen enough moments later as Hatton lay dizzy and seriously hurt on the canvas.

Mayweather by TKO.

Let this be a clear message to all doubters and haters alike - Floyd Mayweather is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world - and you have to admit that if you want to have any integrity as a boxing analyst. Further - you have to respect how he conducted himself tonite overall if you want to have any integrity as a fan of competitive sport.

While some (including myself) predicted Mayweather to outclass Hatton inside the ring, it was of peculiar interest to see Mayweather outclass Hatton *outside* the ring. Flashing a genuine smile with a spark in his eye at the fight's conclusion - Mayweather sang praises to Ricky Hatton, the UK, boxing fans worldwide, and the Most High. He thanked God for blessing him with his metaphysical boxing prowess, and thanked the powers that be in boxing for giving him the opportunity to shine on the highest stage.

After entering this fight with almost nonexistent support both at the weigh-in and throughout the pre-fight festivities - it's simply criminal if Floyd did not earn fans in multitudes after his virtuoso performance. He made me a huge fan - and he should make you proud to be an American. It's not Floyd's fault that he was born and bred in a cut-throat American society where money is God - Sure he's flashy, showy, and lets you know just how wealthy and talented he is --- and he's earned it. America breeds winners, demands talent, and operates on a dominate and get ahead by any means necessary type basis when it comes to world affairs - so how can you be mad at Floyd Maweather for being...well...American?

But that's all really just for the cameras and entertainment. Floyd showed you his true self *after* this fight was over. He put his hand around Larry Merchant - who couldn't even look him in the eye and show him even moderate respect - and almost begged Merchant to have some fun with him and enjoy the moment. Merchant wanted none of that and painfully interviewed Floyd with a cold posture. It's important to note that Jim Lampley showed Floyd the respect he deserved openly - and joked around w/ Floyd - looking him in the eye and laughing with him. Respect to Lampley.

Merchant's ice-cold demeanor didn't bother Mayweather one bit. He instead conducted himself like a gracious host to UK and Ricky Hatton - and articulated himself with introspective wisdom regarding the state of his career and his immense boxing accomplishments.

Larry Merchant - I love your brutally honest color commentating and unique insight - but show Floyd Mayweather some respect.

Meanwhile - the UK-rich MGM crowd cheered their hometown hero as he joked with tactful sarcasm saying 'what a fluke that was, ay?'. Hatton has a huge heart and gave his absolute best and has nothing to be ashamed of. Nobody was to beat Floyd Mayweather on this nite and Ricky Hatton brought the very best out of an all-time great - and should be celebrated for that.

But this was Floyd Mayweather's nite - and perhaps - Floyd Mayweather's definitive stamp as the best pound-for-pound champion of this era.

Thank you, Floyd Mayweather.

Thank you, Ricky Hatton.

Boxing is alive and well.

Article posted on 09.12.2007

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