Floyd Mayweather and Wladimir Klitschko: Rowing in the same Boat

By: Dave Cacciatore - There comes a time when every fighter is forced to hang up the gloves. For Shane Mosley that moment came in a Las Vegas ring at the end of sizzling right hands and jabs from Floyd Mayweather. The early promise Shane displayed in the fight was overwhelmed by an avalanche of precision from the man who calls himself Money Mayweather. Round after round, Floyd turned a fight into a boxing match and eventually into a slaughter on the scorecards. Floyd gave you an exhibition of speed and boxing skills as he succeeded in draining every ounce of drama out of one of the most anticipated fights in recent memory.

Killing excitement is nothing new for the current heavyweight champion of the world Wladimir Klitschko. Wladimir has made a living off of beating down opponents with a style that like Money May leaves opponents with few if any options.. Taking every advantage of his advantage in size and athleticism, Wladimir forces opponents to fight at distance eating hard fast punches on the outside for several rounds before they eventually fall over.

While the personalities of the PhD heavyweight from the Ukraine and the loud mouth from Grand Rapids Michigan could not be more different, inside the ring they share a certain similarity. Neither man has lost many rounds over the course of their careers and for the last five years both have been taking on and defeating some of the top names in the sport. They are both ultra talented, skilled, and fight with a safety first style that all but guarantees victory on most occasions but can be like a chemistry experiment in action for twelve rounds.

The fury of a Manny Pacquiao or a Mike Tyson is completely lacking on these two great fighters and much of the boxing public will not forgive them for it. They want to see bombs, quick knockouts, recklessness, and danger. The fundamentally sound results oriented approach of Floyd and Wladimir does not excite. It produces victories, championships, makes men millionaires many times over but it does not make for great highlights on Sportscenter between NBA highlights and golf.

Neither Floyd Mayweather nor Wladmir Klitschko will ever be confused with all action legend Arturo Gatti. His fights often played out like an R rated horror flick, lots of violence, lots of blood, an improbable escape, and a happy ending. A pinpoint jab or a philly shell could not capture the entertainment value of those fights. They are memories etched onto the minds of boxing fans so that they can tell you where they were when the saw the fights in the Ward trilogy, the Ivan Robinson fights, or his classic duel Wilson Rodriguez. Part of what made Gatti so entertaining was what he lacked, he did not have the speed of Floyd, the power of Wladimir, but he fought with a style that fans prized above those great talents.

It is no fairer to tear down the achievements of a man like Gatti because he was not the most skilled or powerful fighter, than it is to tear down Floyd and Wladimir because they are not the true blood and guts warrior. No fighter can have every attribute. This type of commentary is not made with an eye to improving a fighter. It is a cheap criticism meant to denigrate them for what they are not.

Both Floyd and Wladimir have their flaws but they are hard to find. Very few have pushed either man to their limit and both have made a living off of not giving many opportunities to do so. The ironic thing is that the greatest improvement each fighter could make outside the ring they could learn from each other. Floyd could definitely benefit from stepping back the rhetoric and taking more of the cerebral approach of Wladimir at times. And Wladimir would definitely draw more fans if he would open up like the loquacious Floyd more often. Inside the ring though both men have few peers and attempts to make them more exciting are really just veiled attempts to have them fight in a style that ends with them being knocked out.

Part of the beauty of boxing is that every fighter brings something different to the table. It would be a boring sport if we tried to contort every fighter to a certain mold. Appreciate the heart of Arturo Gatti, the lightening blaze of punches from Manny Pacquiao, the menace that was Mike Tyson, but donít dismiss the art of Floyd Mayweather or the execution of Wladimir Klitschko because few men can touch them and even fewer have defeated them at any level of boxing.

Article posted on 06.05.2010

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