The Ship Be Sinking

Mouth Almighty

Watching Greatness

The most amazing thing about last night’s fight was the way in which it managed to prove both Floyd Mayweather’s critics and his supporters correct. The version of Floyd who showed up to fight Mosley was about as great as a fighter can be; while I do not give credence to his claims of being the best ever, there’s an ever-increasingly good argument for him as the best fighter of this era when you combine his wins, his skills, his athletic gifts, his historical importance and the overall quality of his performances. He’s simply a genius at this boxing thing, and he deserves all the credit which comes his way. And yet, he also deserves a lot of the blame he gets, and the way he disposed of a truly great hall of fame fighter like Shane Mosley speaks to why. Floyd never fought Antonio Margarito; Floyd never fought Stevie Johnston; Floyd never fought Miguel Cotto; Floyd never fought Manny Pacquiao; Floyd never fought Paul Williams; it took him 11 years to fight Shane Mosley and this list could go on for a while. And yet, would any of those men be favored over Floyd? Perhaps Williams based on his unique physical attributes at welterweight, but you could hardly count Floyd out of that fight and he’d be a major favorite against most of those other fighters and a minor favorite against Pacquiao. Floyd could have been putting on performances like this for years, using his skills to put together a resume of accomplishment worthy of them, one which would not just make him plausible as a choice for best fighter of this generation but a certainty for that honor. Instead, he’s left the question open. Floyd did everything right last night, and he looked as good as he ever has at age 33. There may still be time for him to get farther down the right path which he started on by taking the Mosley fight, and we can only hope he does so.

Thoughts:

– I love Manny Pacquiao to death. Check the archives, I actually was one of the people who predicted him over De La Hoya, I thought he beat Marquez, etc. But if he doesn’t fight Floyd upcoming and he’s not serving in the Filipino government, then he’s the one screwing this up. It’s on him to agree to the drug testing at this point. Both men came away from their failed first negotiations with a major question to answer: was Pacquiao afraid of drug testing? Was Mayweather afraid of top level competition? Floyd answered his question, and now the ball is in Manny’s court. If he dodges the drug testing and goes off to face, say, Antonio Margarito in a loathsome fight, keep this in mind in advance: there will be all kinds of explanations, and reasons, and excuses, and stories thrown up; but the truth is, if an athlete doesn’t want to take a drug test badly enough to leave tens of millions of dollars on the table when he’s known to need money, the reason is probably because… he (or she) really doesn’t want to take a drug test. At some point it’s fair to start drawing conclusions- innocent until proven guilty is a requirement of legal due process, not a necessity for a reasonable estimation of a situation by the public.

– There’s some discussion out there of whether Mosley looked old last night. In truth, he did, and his age was a real concern going in. And yet, to my eye he didn’t look much older than he has in any of his other post-BALCO, post-Winky fights. His handspeed was there at maybe 90% of its peak value, he obviously still hits hard, he didn’t look lock-kneed or in any way shot, and his age shouldn’t detract much at all from Floyd’s win, especially given how one-sided it was. Anyone who tells you he was shot doesn’t know what they’re talking about. And yet it should be said: Mosley had trouble pulling the trigger against Ricardo HitMeMorega, and he had even more trouble tonight landing something like 8 punches per round. A huge portion of that is Floyd’s defense obviously, but if Mosley wants to continue fighting- and I’d be shocked if he didn’t- it’s something to keep an eye on going forward. My instincts say that Shane would wreck an Andre Berto given Berto’s chin issues, but if Mosley truly can’t pull the trigger against a fast fighter anymore….

– That said, I would like to see that fight.

– Speaking of, a wacky matchmaking idea if Pacquiao vs. Mayweather can’t be made: Mayweather vs. Sergio Martinez at 154. So far as I can tell it’s a politically makeable fight, it’s one huge name and one solid name, it’s two great boxers and great athletes, it’s got a marketable hook with two great champions meeting on neutral ground, and it would be a legitimately VERY impressive win for Mayweather if he came away with the W (and he should be favored close in a competitive fight). What’s not to like here? Pavlik and Paul Williams can keep themselves entertained in the interim by FINALLY fighting each other after a year of talk. Winner gets Martinez coming back up in weight (or Mayweather?)

– For anyone who doesn’t think Mayweather’s heel act is just that, here’s a fun quote: “I am the past, the present and the future of sports entertainment.”

– That said, read the rest of that article if you’d like to have your head explode with indignation. The idea that Mosley/Mayweather was a boring fight is just dumb, the sort of thing which non-fight fans come up with when they expect every “big” fight to be Hagler/Hearns or Zombie/Garcia. Last night’s fight had the (at worst) #2 P4P fighter nearly knocked out in the second round, only to regain his balance and composure to fight back from a near-defeat and secure a dominant and action-packed victory over a fellow top-5 P4P fighter. If this bores you, honestly, get out of this sport- it’s just not for you, you’ve missed your calling. If you want to complain about the PPV because the undercard was crap, fair enough; but to complain about the main event is just… wrong. It’s a wrong opinion.

– As noted by the folks I saw the fight with, if anything Mayweather ought to get additional credit for the way he fought this fight. This wasn’t him languishing on the ropes and trying to win with 15 counterpunches a round as he did against De La Hoya, or allowing an overmatched punching bag like Carlos Baldomir to see rounds he never should have dreamed of being in against Floyd; this was Floyd marching forward against a world-class offensive fighter, almost never being hit, and pounding on his adversary repeatedly- winning at minimum 10 rounds and at times looking like he had Mosley hurt and in real trouble. There wasn’t a KO finish, but that has far more to do with the fact that Shane Mosley is double-tough with a diamond-hard chin than it does with anything Floyd wasn’t doing. The idea that this wasn’t entertaining…I just don’t know. If all you want is awkward mooks winging shots at each other, the NHL playoffs are on right now.

– This was not a great fight for people who were betting on Shane Mosley’s ability to think and react during a fight, like Doug Fischer. Mosley is not a stupid fighter; but he does have a recurring hitch in his career of being unable to adjust in-fight to whatever his opponent is up to. He lost this fight in part because Mayweather respected his power more after the second round and switched to a higher guard and more one-at-a-time punches, he lost the Cotto fight in part because Cotto changed from slugging with him to jabbing and moving, and there’s other examples dotted here and there in his career which, while less glaring, point to the same issue. In rematches Mosley gets better, but either through single-mindedness or discouragement it’s hard for him to change gameplans in the same 12 round frame. Contrast this to Mayweather, who’s shown on several occasions the ability to make substantial changes on the run to turn early struggles into dominant wins. This ability, incidentally, is one of the reasons I favor Mayweather over Pacquiao- Pacquiao is much closer to Mosley in this respect than to Floyd.

More later on this, most likely.

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May 2, 2010 - Posted by | Boxing

1 Comment »

  1. […] the reality is that he has trained for thousands of hours to get to this point, and he is not only a master, but also a student of his trade, and it […]

    Pingback by Floyd Mayweather Speaks | Matt Eventoff | May 3, 2010 | Reply


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