On December 8, 1979, the WBC held a title bout between Marvin Camel and Mate Parlov to anoint a champion in a new division called, “Cruiserweight.” Created to narrow the gap between light heavy weights and heavyweights, thedivision began in less – then – inaugural fashion when the two fighters fought to a draw. Though Camel would go on to win a rematch and later, also become the first IBF cruiserweight champion, what seemed like a logical idea never caught on with the public who were already turned off by emerging sanctioning bodies. Additional weight classes only added to the confusion (little did we know what we were in for with all of this idiotic “regular” and super” champion nonsense).
In a recent interview, British star, Amir Khan stated that should he defeat Saul “Canelo” Alvarez this Saturday night for the WBC Middleweight title that he would not rule out the possibility of facing Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin.
That’s a scary thought, far more scary than what might happen to him this weekend against an opponent who will outweigh him by a substantial margin come fight time. And what may be scarier than all possible scenarios is that Khan really means it. Call it delusional if you’d like but in this day of false bravado and bluffing from behind layers of politics, Amir Khan actually means what he says. A fighter like this should be lauded.
But he’s not.
It’s no secret that the Hispanic audience, in particular the Mexican audience, is the backbone of boxing in the United States. One only need look at the monster PPV numbers it does on Cinco de Mayo and Mexican Independence Day in September, when not even the UFC would dare try and compete.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. was smart enough to use the holidays mentioned above to build his Mexican fan base (and expand his bank account). But he wasn’t the first non- Hispanic boxer to exploit the market’s precious resources, in fact, he wasn’t even the first Mayweather. His uncle, Roger if you can recall, used something a little less business – savvy and something a little more blunt (not to mention risky) by calling himself, “The Mexican Assassin.”
To become a mainstream star in boxing is to have it already written in the stars. It is not something that can be manufactured from scratch or be forced upon the public (not that the powers that be don’t try).It is an inherent gift that defies all manner of formula and blueprint. Those who’ve had such powers bestowed upon them seem to have a red carpet rolled out at their feet, right over the backs of envious peasantsand into the exclusivity of popular culture. It’s not fair but that’s just the way it works.
Great moments in sports always carry with them a sense of sweet nostalgia. I’ll never forget how long that pass from Montana to Clark seemed to hang in the air and the violent rush of joy I felt when “The Catch” made history. I remember running around the living room, screaming at the top of my lungs and not having a care in the world because I knew that I was a part of something special. To this day, that footage takes me right back to my eleven year – old self.
When Tyson Fury upset long – reigning champion, Wladimir Klitschko last November to win the lineal heavyweight championship, it immediately injected new life into a division in need of life. Okay, so it wasn’t exactly George Foreman taking Joe Frazier’s lunch money or Larry Holmes and Ken Norton beating each other up with the rusted links of the evolutionary chain.
It was more like the first microbes that crawled from the primordial ooze of the earth’s beginnings. Nothing exciting, I’d assume but it was a start and that always leads to somewhere, even if it takes the craziest route, which is exactly what happened.
Floyd is a master technician and that fighting mindset doesn’t allow him to take unnecessary chances, especially at a higher weight where there has yet to be evidence that he is capable of stopping a bigger man. Mayweather can certainly punch; he would have never achieved such heights is he couldn’t. But don’t expect him to suddenly pull power out of his bag of tricks because that’s one element of his game that has rarely been considered special.
2. Canelo needs to pressure Floyd to win. For a long time I wondered what could be the benefits of the Mayweather style of mitt work: that rhythmic slapping that looks pretty but wouldn’t appear to be of much use in a real fight. It wasn’t until I saw Andre Berto and David Haye working the mitts that I figured it out.