And the challenger…Floyd Mayweather Jr.

16.08.06 - By Dan Scog: Hot off the presses, the latest word is that Mayweather-Spinks is off. And Mayweather-Baldomir is on. Or is that Baldomir-Mayweather? Seeing as how sanctioning fees (and not opponents) have kept the title of “linear champ” from Carlos Baldomir, it seems reasonable. Not to mention that the Ring Magazine rightly recognizes him. Truth be told: Mayweather is the challenger here..

Of course that’s not how the fight will be marketed. And of course that’s not how boxing fans will see it. They’ll see this as just another easy night out for Floyd, fighting someone way beneath him. And they’re not completely wrong.

Just like Floyd’s amazing boxing ability: it’s no secret. The man is building his career on low-risk, high-reward jobs. Why else would he salivate at the idea of pulling Oscar de la Hoya back from the brink of retirement? Thus far he’s been able to respond to pretty much any criticism by simply pointing to the top of the nearest P4P list. But the times are achangin’. The list makers, official and unofficial, are growing increasingly frustrated with Mayweather’s approach. Nowadays it’s not so shocking to see him ranked around #3, often based on the quality of his competition.

It wasn’t too long ago that Ricky Hatton was touted as the ultimate opponent for Mayweather. Even though the clamoring for that fight has fallen dead silent (following a razor-close win/loss over/to Collazo), not even Hatton’s corner gives Floyd much credit when it comes to picking opponents.

Team Hatton was devastated when the prospect of Gatti-Hatton fell through. They were subsequently chilly towards the idea of Baldomir-Hatton because of the perception that Baldomir lacked marketability. However, Hatton trainer Billy Graham correctly predicted that Mayweather would devour the opportunity. Said Graham: "I think he [Baldomir] is very beatable…I think Mayweather will be desperate to fight him, let's put it that way."

And I agree. With everyone who thinks Mayweather leaped at the fight because Baldomir is a soft target. With everyone who thinks Mayweather doesn’t want to risk his “0”. But I also believe there will come a day when Mayweather bites off more than he can chew. And I put it to you: why is it impossible for Baldomir to be the one?

I’m sure the criticisms will be pouring out over the next few months. Baldomir will be given the usual set of labels: c-class, lucky bum, tin/tomato can, and don’t forget “undeserving”. Those people would do well to remember two things. First, Baldomir is giving Mayweather a shot at the true linear championship. The only reason Mayweather has a belt at Welterweight at all is because Baldomir couldn’t afford the down payment. Second, Baldomir has had one hell of a hard time playing the soft target part that’s been assigned to him – twice.

I say: forget Pretty Boy–Golden Boy. Baldomir is the journeyman who made good with a second wind. Mayweather is the P4P king who loves to fight peasants. So let’s face it, with the level of opposition Floyd chooses, it’s going to have to be an underdog who unseats him. If you’re not for Floyd, it’s time to stop complaining about Mayweather’s business decisions and get on the Baldy train. I know because of Floyd’s skills and reputation the tendency is to wish for another giant to take him down. But Carlos only has to upset the odds one more time. After that, he won’t be pegged as an underdog no más.

Article posted on 17.08.2006

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