13.10.05 – By Andy Meacock: Every generation has a boxer that stands out above the rest. It may be a certain fighting style, uniqueness, a charisma but mostly it’s down to having a natural and special talent. This generation has a few contenders for this position but one man’s natural ring capabilities stand above the rest, this man’s name is Floyd Mayweather Jr.
‘Pretty Boy’ Floyd came on the scene as a super-featherweight in 1997 and less two years later he won the WBC 130lps title against the aging, yet respected Genaro Hernandez. It wasn’t the speed in which Floyd’s career progressed that impressed the masses; it was his brilliant, fast and slick fighting style. Floyd defended his title a total of nine times beating some good fighters like Emanuel Augustus, Jesus Chavez and fellow pound for pound high-flier Diego Corrales. It was the punishing way in which he beat Corrales that really made everyone aware of just how good Floyd was. After he beat Chavez he decided it was time to move up to lightweight. He declined the opportunity of a tune up at this new weight and went straight into a showdown with the aggressive Mexican fighter Jose Luis Castillo.
Castillo came after Floyd in a way that no other fighter had done before and Floyd knew it. Floyd managed to win the decision but the crowd booed the verdict feeling that the more aggressive Castillo deserved to maintain his titles. I actually scored the fight even and I did feel a touch sorry for Castillo that night.
Having lost some face over this Mayweather Jr agreed to face Castillo in a rematch. The rematch was much more conclusive and Mayweather Jr won a unanimous decision. At the time I didn’t rate Castillo a great deal but having seen Castillo go from strength to strength since; it only emphasizes just how good Floyd can be when he’s on fire.
Since that point things have not been so impressive to me. The two big wins on Floyd’s record at that stage were Corrales and Castillo; they are still the two biggest wins on his record. He has since faced Victoriano Sosa and Phillip N’Dou at lightweight; he then faced Demarcus Corley, Henry Bruseles and Arturo Gatti at light-welterweight.
Now without wishing to sound disrespectful to the five fighters just named, they aren’t elite level fighter, not even very close!. The only one of the five fighters I knew of was Gatti and that was not because he was great, it was due to his exciting trilogy against Micky Ward and the beating he took at the hands of Oscar de la Hoya.
Floyd’s win over Gatti won him the WBC light-welterweight title. This win to me is meaningless. Gatti was never a true champion at 140lps. Gatti should never have even fought for the belt in my opinion, what did he do to deserve it ?. The truth with Gatti is that he sells and due to that fact the WBC wanted a slice of him in sanctioning fees, I’ve heard it called (Jose) Sulaiman-omics!.
If you doubt this WBC theory then explain to me why Oscar de la Hoya almost always finds himself being mysteriously placed as the WBC number one ranked fighter without justifiable reasoning, as I say it’s called Sulaiman-omics…
So in my opinion Floyd’s wins at light-welterweight are nothing special. Now since that fight there were a number of names being mentioned as Floyd’s next opponent. IBF light-welterweight champ Ricky Hatton was the front runner. Then we heard of a possible match up with Zab Judah at welterweight and even a match at junior-middleweight against Winky Wright was suggested.
I was disappointed that the fights with Hatton and Judah didn’t happen as they would have been mega fights and would have given me a bit more belief in Floyd’s claim that he wants to fight the best. I think fights with Hatton and Judah would have been toss ups, I honestly couldn’t pick a clear winner in those match ups. On the other hand I’m glad that the fight with Winky Wright didn’t happen as I believe Floyd would have been beaten up and punished by the bigger Wright.
So if fights with Hatton, Judah and Wright aren’t happening, then just who is Floyd going to fight?, the answer is Sharmba Mitchell in November.
This is really frustrating to me. I think that Mayweather Jr is the most naturally gifted boxer of his generation and I consider him to be top of the pound for pound lists, so seeing him take what I consider are easy fights is annoying. Realistically, there is little to be gained from fighting Sharmba Mitchell. Sharmba Mitchell is a good fighter but he’s a man coming towards the end of his career, he’s getting old and slowing down.
Another key factor in Floyd taking this fight is that Mitchell is considered to be a feather fisted fighter and only has a 50% knockout ratio out of his sixty fights. Floyd was rocked by DeMarcus Corley in their fight at light-welterweight and I think Mitchell’s lack of natural punch power is reassuring to Floyd.
I expect Floyd to sleepwalk his way to a decision victory over Mitchell in a dull fight that answers little and leave few pleased. After that I have no idea who he will go after. I would hope that he will look to either return to light-welterweight to face Hatton or face Judah at welterweight, nothing else is good enough in my opinion.
I just want to note that I know that the big fights not happening are not all Floyd’s fault, afterall boxing is often more about politics than it is the ring. That said, having read various reports regarding lucrative offers made to Floyd, I can’t help but wonder if Floyd is pricing himself out, intentionally or otherwise – I hope not…
Mayweather Jr needs a true test again and he needs a live opponent. I think that fighters gain more in the hearts and minds of the public when they are willing to face the very best. I fear that Floyd will create a negative stigma for himself if he continues to face below par opponents and he’ll face similar accusations to the ones Roy Jones Jr was and is accused of.
In closing, I believe that boxing fans want to see the best fight the best and I believe that the fans respect fighters who dare to be great, irregardless of the outcome.
It’s time that Floyd dared to be great again…
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