Boxing

Mayweather Destroys Sugar Shane And Silences Critics - Now Only Pacman Stands In His Way

Mayweather MosleyBy Conor Ward - If I'm not completely mistaken, it's exactly a year to the day since Floyd Mayweather Jr. announced his return to boxing after a layoff of almost eighteen months. He had called that a "retirement", though few boxing analysts had believed he would part company with the sport permanently in the wake of his December 2007 victory over Ricky Hatton.

On the day of the big light-welterweight clash between Manny Pacquiao and Hatton, Floyd strutted into the MGM Grand wearing a black leather jacket and woolly hat. He looked a bit like a bank robber if truth be told (wasn't that the chosen profession of the original "Pretty Boy Floyd", way back in the day!). Except he was not about to relieve anyone of any loot on that particular day. He was more interested in robbing the limelight, knowing his financial rewards would come a few months down the line..

Announcing his return to the ring to face Mexican lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez, "Money" Mayweather proclaimed that he was back to "fight and reclaim what is mine". Nothing he said on that day, however, could steal the attention away from the Pacman after the Filipino great produced a quite amazing display to send Hatton packing (probably for good, as it has transpired) in about the same time it takes to fry an egg.

So one year and two fights on, how has Floyd fared? Has he succeeded in usurping Pacquiao and returning to the top of the mythical pound--for-pound pile? Well, that's still open to debate, a debate which will lay ultimately unresolved until such time as Floyd and Manny can agree terms and face off in the ring. But the '0' remains and there are two more very respectable names on Floyd's resume.

Even looking at where we are now, hopefully a few months out from that Mayweather-Pacquiao megafight, Floyd has made quite a strong case for retaking his place at the top, despite Pacman continuing his streak of stunning victories, arriving at welterweight and convincingly beating both Miguel Cotto and Joshua Clottey. No mean feat.

Floyd's landslide win over Marquez in September was impressive, but against a naturally smaller man, he was expected to take care of business, and that performace was considered somewhat run of the mill. When he signed to fight Shane Mosley in the wake of the failed negotiations with Pacquiao, this was greeted with a degree of excitement, as all were agreed that Floyd was at least now testing himself for real in the welterweight division by taking on another Hall Of Fame fighter and an established champion at the weight.

The anticipation around the fight led many to predict a first loss for Floyd, though one wonders if those sentiments were grounded more in hope than genuine expectation. At least Floyd did show that he is human, which for us mere mortal observers was refreshing to see. Mosley managed to stagger him and back him up with a couple of hard right hands in round 2. In terms of spectacle, that was probably the high point of the fight.

That's where Floyd's lesson in human frailty ended (more of a mini-tutorial as it turned out) as he did what smart fighters do and hung on to survive that storm, retreated to his stool for a minute's pause and sound advice, then went back out to let his boxing skills take control of the action and win every round thereafter.

He also answered any questions about his chin by withstanding those shots, and erased doubts about his ability to compete physically with strong welterweights by going toe-to-toe at times and pressing the action on the front foot as he saw fit. In short, it was real classy stuff. Smarts, skills, strength, willpower, defence - they were all there in abundance. Mosley was left bewildered, demoralised and looking somewhat foolish by the later rounds. That was sad for his sake, because he is a top class champion himself.

But Mayweather is really something else, possessing such a sublime set of qualities as to allow him stand comparison to the all-time greats of this dark art. The result was a formality in the end, a lopsided unanimous decision.

Larry Merchant of HBO wasted little time in broaching the subject of the proposed mouthwatering clash with the Pacman, though the obstacles seem to remain the same as before. It really is the fight all boxing fans now crave to see, would be a bonanza in terms of cash and an enormous event. No one else in or around the division stands a realistic chance against Mayweather, and even at that, I only give Pacquiao a very slim chance if the fight comes off.

Lots of Floyd's critics have fallen silent after lastnight.

To quote from that comedy gem Wayne's World - "This guy is good...He's very good."

Article posted on 03.05.2010



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