Sharkies Machine: Unfinished Business For Floyd Mayweather

By Frank Gonzalez Jr. November 20th, 2005 - Saturday night in Portland, Floyd Mayweather Jr. made his debut at 147-pounds as he took on the old, but still respectable, Sharmba Mitchell, who at this point in his career, had little chance of beating the man who many consider the best “pound-for-pound” fighter in the sport.

To his credit, Mitchell gave a game effort and even scored a few good combinations that excited the crowd, and at times, surprised Mayweather. Mayweather was the more dramatic puncher and the better defender. In the third round, Floyd landed a right to Mitchell’s face that put him down. Mitchell got up and continued to give his best effort to keep things competitive. Though Floyd was clearly the superior fighter, he often resorted to questionable tactics, like using his forearms and elbows to push Mitchell away from him.

Throughout the fight, Floyd was landing the better shots, and in the sixth, Mayweather landed a piercing shot to the body that saw Mitchell stagger back, then drop to a knee. Mitchell was up at the count of nine but referee Richard Steele, waved him out. Mayweather was the winner by KO 6.

Mitchell protested the stoppage, but that’s the way it goes when you’re in with a guy whose name is bigger than yours. The bigger the Star—the friendlier the referee.

Mayweather was as humble as ever after all was said and done, giving thanks to the holy trio of God, Brand Jordan and Nike. Then Floyd said he wants to fight De La Hoya, Winky Wright and Zab Judah. I didn’t hear him say anything about wanting to fight Ricky Hatton, Kostya Tszyu, Miguel Cotto or even Carlos Maussa. That’s disappointing, as it appears Floyd is going to leap frog over yet another division, without having cleaned it out. If he’s the best p4p, why doesn’t he prove it by actually beating all the best guys in his division before moving up to the next weight class? That’s like getting a diploma for excelling in math even though you never proved yourself in science, language arts or history. Floyd’s got some unfinished business at Welterweight. I know we would all like to see him fight the likes of Hatton or Cotto. Those fights would be a huge draw at the box office too.

During a preflight interview, HBO’s Larry Merchant asked Floyd some tough questions about whom Mayweather says he wants to fight vs. whom he usually ends up fighting. According to Merchant, Floyd is asking for too much of the purse money to ever enable those big name fights to be signed. Floyd never really answered the questions.

Mayweather has legitimately made his bones by beating top guys in various weight classes, like Genaro Hernandez, Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo (once), Jesus Chaves, DeMarcus Corley and Arturo Gatti. Floyd has owned the WBC Super Featherweight, WBC Lightweight and WBC Jr. Welterweight Titles. Why has he not fought for the IBF, WBA or WBO Titles? Curious.

Why take a chance against the energetic IBF Champion, Ricky Hatton or deal with the hard-hitting, former unified Champion Kostya Tszyu, when you don’t have to? When Floyd fought unranked Henry Bruselles earlier this year, the buzz in the air was that it was a prelude to his facing Bruselles’ sparring partner, WBO Champ, Miguel Cotto. I guess not.

Champions should only be matched against other Champions with the intent of rendering ONE true Champion in their respective divisions. Floyd fighting Sharmba Mitchell at 147 instead of Cotto, Maussa, Hatton or Tszyu at 140 does not represent the best challenge for the man currently touted as boxing’s best fighter. Jumping to 147 without beating the best at 140 leaves too many questions unanswered.

If Floyd is serious about fighting Zab Judah, then he should be realistic about the money arrangements during contract negotiations so that the fight can be made. No proud Champion is going to accept a third of the purse because his opponents name is Floyd Mayweather Jr.

In the interest of fairness, Floyd should have to face at least two top contenders in the 147-pound division to at least earn his way to fight either of the Champions, Antonio Margarito or Zab Judah. A top quality boxer like Cory Spinks comes to mind as a solid place to start. Then, Antonio Margarito would be a great prelude to a fight against Zab, who currently owns three of the four major Titles. If Floyd fights and beats those guys it would lend credibility to the notion that he IS the best
pound-for-pound fighter in the sport. Until then, it remains a popular speculation.

As it stands, Floyd has some serious unfinished business at 140.

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Article posted on 20.11.2005

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