Boxing


Itís All Up To Floyd Mayweather Now

27.06.05 - By Matthew Hurley: It all became academic after the first round. The disparity in speed and god given natural ability made you wince whenever Arturo Gatti seemingly walked straight into a punch. Even those of us who knew Floyd Mayweather would win never truly anticipated such a one sided blow-out. Perhaps, in our so-called ďexpertĒ boxing minds we did, but our hearts tempered those prognostications with the believable assumption that Gatti would at least make it interesting for a while. He didnít. He couldnít. Floyd was too good. He was that good. He was scary good.

There were two absolute positives that came out of this fight. The first being that Floyd Mayweather is the best fighter in boxing. Iíve always been a champion of Bernard Hopkins because of his consistency and his longevity, but Mayweather is so gifted, so focused in the ring and so fiercely technical that I canít deny him any longer. Argue if you will that Gatti is not a true measure of just how great Floyd is but who would you pick to even be competitive with Floyd at this point in his career? There are good fighters out there like Ricky Hatton and an up and coming but still green Miguel Cotto and they are interesting puzzles but not Rubikís Cubes in Mayweatherís hands. He is that good..

Secondly, it was nice to see Floyd temper his arrogance after the fight. Seemingly his public relations people, if he even has any, whispered in both of his ears that if he tones it down a bit he can be the biggest star in boxing. Itís all right to be the villain, but Floyd manages to take it to a level even Mike Tyson didnít. With Tyson you had that punch and that creepy feeling that he might snap so his fights, in the later stages of his career, became absurdly fun to watch and people loved him for it. But Mayweather doesnít have that aura. He just often comes off as a prick and people donít like him. Not everyone, but enough of the buying public to justify his not becoming the house hold name he should be. He complains about it, but he has no one to blame but himself.

Emotion drove Floyd to his knees after his victory over Gatti and maybe the adulatory response of a stunned pro-Gatti crowd humbled him Ė just a bit. Who knows. The thuggish arrogance of his pre-fight verbiage may be something that fuels him. He may need that cloak of bravado to send him into a fistic gear most fighters only dream of hitting. If thatís the case then he shouldnít change anything at all. However, if he wants to make Oscar De La Hoya money his public personality needs a little fine tuning. You can be who you truly are, but if you want to be a star you have to hide some of the truth. Thatís just a fact. Floyd might not want to do that and if he doesnít more power to him. But he believes he is Sugar Ray Robinson reincarnated and he believes he deserves astronomical pay days. His skills are worthy, but you have to cross over to achieve superstardom. If he truly wants that he should learn from the careers of De La Hoya and, even more so, Sugar Ray Leonard. They knew a smile and a wink would result in dollar signs and no fighter has a better smile than ďPretty Boy FloydĒ. If he puts it all together the only thing that could possibly stop him is himself. But maybe thatís just not who he is. Which of course circles right back to that very deep rooted arrogance that has been his problem from the get-go.

It will be interesting to see how Floyd Mayweather handles the build up to his next fight. Beating an immensely popular fighter like Gatti so conclusively has raised his public profile three-fold. The ball is in his court now. Itís all his for the taking. And itís all his to lose. Hereís hoping he takes the ball and runs with it.

Article posted on 27.06.2005



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