Boxing


'Call 'Em Out Fridays': Floyd Mayweather Jr. - Owner of a 'Loophole' Legacy?

Floyd Mayweather Jr.27.03.09 - By Vivek Wallace: This weeks 'C.E.O. Fridays' segment attempts to close the gap in one mans career that appears to be well on the brink of coming full circle. With chatter of a potential ring return lit ablaze throughout the boxing world, the spotlight once again shines brightly on a fighter who needs little introduction. Like each of my other 'C.E.O. Fridays' segments, we'll uncover all pertinent perspectives by viewing the angle of his supporters, the many angles of his critics, and in the end, a truthful spin with a more neutral take to even up the rough edges and smooth things out a bit. So, with no further ado, we hone in on the man formerly known as the 'pretty boy', Floyd Mayweather jr.....

Floyd Mayweather Jr. (Supportive Perspective): In Floyd Mayweather jr. we have one of the sports most gifted figures of all time. Rarely in the history of any sport have we seen perfection, and despite his failure to grab that claim to fame as well, his staunch supporters would argue his talent to be within a hair of that very word. For proof, one need not look any further than his past victories to date, where four major components were continuously on display.. Unparalleled speed, cat-like reflexes, a defense only rivaled by the N.F.L.'s 'Steel Curtain' crew of the 70's, and a very innate ability to execute a difficult gameplan, even if it meant in-round adjustments. Buried beneath this layer of outstanding talent found within Mayweather is a mental mindset that perhaps serves as an even bigger weapon. For over a decade in the sport, Mayweather has carefully engineered a path to supremacy by predominantly using his mind to overcome the liability of being a mouthy fighter whose size hasn't always allowed him to deliver the KO's promised in the heat of verbal warfare. Coming into his showdown with Diego 'Chico' Corrales (R.I.P.), the wire-framed Corrales was viewed as a true threat to Mayweather's undefeated streak. Corrales had never been down or defeated, and had never faced anyone who could come close to outclassing him, yet by the end of the night, the man who many saw as a defensive wonder decided to instead dig deep into his offensive bag of tricks, knocking the crafty fighter down 5 times en route to a 10th round stoppage when Corrales' corner had finally seen enough. Aside from his ability to out-think the average lad, Mayweathers mental strength showed a different type of depth in many other encounters. Most remember seeing him overcome what was considered by many as a gift decision against Jose Luis Castillo by granting an immediate rematch and removing all doubt; then, perhaps the best example of them all was when he faced Carlos Hernandez and touched the deck for the first time in his career as a result of severe pain in one of two chronically bad hands, only to gut it out and outlast a dangerous opponent 'til the bitter end. Each of these examples serve as the proverbial 'tip' of the iceberg in explaining exactly what makes Mr. Mayweather perhaps the best of his era. A countless amount of times we've seen Mayweather show and prove by stepping up his game and performing under the bright lights of the sport, yet there still remains a huge contingent who feel otherwise. In an effort to shine light on their perspective, we now examine the points of his critics....

Floyd Mayweather jr - (Critics Perspective): Despite his success in the ring, Mayweather has taken quite a verbal beating over the years for two very consistent concerns. A tendency to followup hotly contested words out of the ring with actions that come across as too 'cool' within; and a strong penchant for taking on only the big dollar, low risk/high reward opponents, rather than defending his pound-for-pound status and removing all doubt. Oscar De La Hoya has long been known as the sports cash cow in the post "Iron" Mike Tyson era, but when he and Mayweather signed the dotted line to square off against one another back in '07, some would argue it was Mayweather who attracted the most viewers, as the world literally awaited to see him get stuffed like a turkey. Unfortunately for those fight fans, the most highly anticipated showdown in decades and the most highest grossing fight in the history of the sport bombed out miserably, due in part to what most perceived as more bike pedaling than fist shoving by the man who promised nothing short of a knock down drag out affair. After an international media blast, supported by a national press tour in which Mayweather cursed, threatened, and harassed De La Hoya at every stop, the reality of this finality failed to support both salaries. Adding more girth to the critics argument is the fact that most believe Mayweather has consistently found a way out of facing the most formidable competition of his era. After winning his share of the welterweight strap in April of '06 against Zab Judah, Mayweather's only defense against a legitimate welterweight was then 'Ring Magazine' champion, Carlos Baldomir. During the complete year of 2007, despite the rise of such greats as Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto, Paul Williams, and Antonio Margarito, Mayweather would only defend his belt against two other men, neither which had an active role in his division - (Hatton/ODH). After defeating Hatton and De La Hoya,with bouts against the up and coming studs pending, Mayweather gracefully bowed out of the sport, never to be heard from again until recently. Judging by the facts, his critics have quite a leg to stand on, but to bring the two sides together for clarity, we now break down the truth about Floyd....

Floyd Mayweather Jr. - (The Truth): When the rubber hits the road, the truth about Mayweather is as follows....None of us can jump out on a limb and classify him as the greatest to ever fight, (like he attempts to do), however, there comes a point where you have to be able to accurately compartmentalize the good and the bad about Floyd to see his true worth. Has he failed to fight the rising stars of his time who remain in their prime? Absolutely. Has any of them achieved the feat of becoming a 6 time world champion in 5 different weight division? Not one! The reason I contrast those two points is because although they both come up when we hear his name, neither has to do with the other, yet both define why this debate about Floyd will never end. The 6 world titles obtained in 5 different weight divisions is an accolade which - (like it or not) - solidifies his birth in the hall of fame as told by historians of the sport, giving him a self induced notion that there's little else left to prove. His inability to lay it all on the line against today's best tears down those accolades according to the average fan. We may not agree on everything, but what we can agree on is the fact that few fighters of this era have possessed his skill and the results prove this. The plan going into any competition is to take the rules on the table and devise a strategy to win at any ethical cost. In his showdown with Oscar, Floyd didn't give us the knockout he promised, but he gave Oscar enough of anger to take him out of his strategy and allow him to win the fight the safer way. Some tried to say the fight was close and Oscar should have won based on "effective aggression". A true question would be "how effective was the aggression when Oscar threw 106 more punches and Floyd still managed to land 85 more"? Like anything else in life, the proof is always visible when we scale back the surface and view the raw material. When it all comes down, Mayweather has quite a bit to prove if he ever wants to please everyone, and defeating Pacquiao, Cotto, and/or Mosley would be a good start. Trouble is, "if he ever wants to please everyone" was the operative passage in that statement because that's a request, not a necessity. Bottom line, we may all have our opinion of the 'money man', but the one that counts is the one none of us can erase...and that's the legacy he already etched in stone. It would be interesting to see if his effort to add to that legacy actually subtracts from it, but if he doesn't choose to roll the dice anymore, I'm afraid the million plus that want to see him try to will simply have to get over it. Until he decides one way or the other, the facts are the facts, and questions remain unanswered. We may not like it, but it is what it is until it changes....This chapter remains "to be continued", pending his potential return to the ring......

(Got questions or feedback?: Contact ESB's Vivek Wallace at vivexemail@yahoo.com and 954-292-7346, follow more of his work at 8CountNews and The Examiner, or show some love at Myspace and Facebook).

Article posted on 27.03.2009



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