Boxing

You got to know when to fold ‘em… time for Floyd, Roy, and Evander to call it a day

By Vann Dunn: There comes a period in every professional athlete’s life where it is time to look in the mirror and face the truth…the time when it is necessary to walk away from the sport where they have achieved remarkable success and fame. More often than not, that time comes when the athlete skills have eroded and deprived them of performing at a championship, or much less a competitive level.

Skills that enabled the athlete to dish out unmerciful punishment and humiliation, have all of a sudden forsaken them and left them on the receiving end of such torment. Muhammad Ali serves as one of the saddest examples in all of professional sports of an athlete that stayed in the game far beyond his prime. Ali was not only arguably the greatest Heavy weight boxer ever, he was without doubt the most colorful. The Rumble in the Jungle, the Thrilla in Manila were all courtesy of the man who could, “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.” But one too many blows to the head left Ali with Parkinson’s disease and a shadow of his former self. Roy Jones Jr, and Evander Holyfield, should spare their most devoted fans of this inner torture of seeing them suffer eminent danger and they should retire immediately. Floyd Mayweather Jr. for a much different reason needs to make it official and retire as well.

Roy Jones Jr. witnessed fellow boxer Gerald Mcclellan suffer permanent brain damage, hearing and vision loss, severely impaired motor skills, and any ability to care for himself after suffering a blood clot to the brain from getting pounded to the head in a Super Middleweight title fight against hard hitting champion Nigel Benn. After that fight, Jones went on record as saying, “I care about my well-being after boxing. This game is dangerous. It doesn't take an accumulation of punches to mess you up. Gerald didn't have any hard fights before Benn. And look what happened.'’ Jones also said, “This game is not a good game for anyone--me or anyone else. Look at the history of the guys who were great. Look at their condition 10 years after they're done. This game doesn't usually deal you a good hand, not in the long run.” Why then is Jones still fighting after getting unconsciously knocked out again in his last fight against Denis Lebedev? That makes two devastating knockouts in his last three fights, and a total of four where we have seen him get the stuffing knocked out of him. Roy has been one of the greatest fighters ever, but he has became everybody’s favorite bag, and it’s time for him to throw in his cards because he has a losing hand. Jones needs to step away from the table before he suffers irreversible harm.

Evander Holyfield is 48 yrs old and it is his desire to become the undisputed Heavyweight champion of the world. In 2007 he failed in his attempt to capture the WBO title by losing to Sultan Ibragimov. In 2008 he failed to capture the WBA title by losing to Nikolay Valuev. Current Heavyweight title holders include WBA champ David Haye, WBC champ Vitaly Klitschko, and WBO champ Vladamir Klitschko. The problem for Evander is that his warrior heart is much bigger than what his body is capable of doing now, and I see him getting seriously hurt in a match with any of the current three title holders. Evander has been in, and won some epic battles in the ring, but he needs to realize and accept that the cards are now stacked against him. There are no more aces in the deck for Evander, and it is time for him to lay his cards down, and leave the table.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. is still in excellent shape, his motor skills are still in tact, and in 14 years of professional boxing he has yet to take on any unnecessary punishment in the ring. Floyd stated that “there is nothing cool about being hit”, and his focal point of making defense as much a part of his boxing skills as offense, has left him as one of the few boxers in the sport to be able to walk away from the game in no less condition than he was than when he first started. Mayweather’s detractors may scoff at his style, but who could argue with the results? Wasn’t it Willie Pep, who is regarded as one on the greatest fighters ever, emphatically state, “He who hits and runs today, lives to fight another day?” When Mayweather fights, he is simply the best, but he is not fighting much at all anymore today. His last fight was over a year ago, and he was rightly dropped recently from the pound per pound ratings for his lack of activity. A fight against Manny Pacquioa has been toyed with for over a year, but at this point, I do not think that it would be a good idea for Floyd to fight Manny. Ring rust and timing are Floyd’s biggest enemies now, and if he got slightly tested last year by an aging Shane Mosley, he would surely be tested and be in much more danger against a faster, and more powerful Manny Pacquiao.

At this point, Floyd has a royal flush in his hands, and he would be wise to quit the game while he is ahead. He can leave with his perfect 41-0 record, and sit back, relax and enjoy the fruits of his labor. Roy, Evander and Floyd……the game is over, you are all Hall of Famers…..you can all shake each others hand, leave the table with pride, and call it a day.

Article posted on 03.06.2011



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