Posts Tagged ‘floyd mayweather’

By George Ogier

FloydWladSaturday night saw two genuinely modern greats of world boxing step into the ring, continents apart. Floyd Mayweather laced up the gloves for the 44th time as a professional whilst Wladimir Klitschko made his 63rd ring walk in the paid game.

The two men turned pro a little over a month apart after each winning medals at the 1996 Olympics and both have risen to the top of the sport. You could make a strong case that each man would have prospered in any era of boxing such are their gifts and yet people bend over backwards to disparage the achievements of Floyd and Wladimir.

You would struggle to find two more different sportsmen than Floyd Mayweather and Wladimir Klitschko. One is a loud-mouthed braggart with a chequered past and a taste for the overtly flashy. The other is a more thoughtful, reasoned man whose life away from boxing only strays into the public domain as a result of having an actress girlfriend.

However, when it comes to fighting, Floyd and Wlad are matched in their love for the sport and their dominance over those who have tried to topple them from the pinnacle of it. In spite of such imperious careers there is queue a mile long waiting to tell us that Wlad’s an imposter or that Floyd is a runner.

The root of scorn for each man is borne out of a very different set of circumstances. The main point of frustration with Wladimir appears to be that his peers just aren’t very good. It is a perfectly valid point but hardly Klitschko’s fault.

If Wladimir had avoided big names and just coasted to easy title defences then I could understand the anger but the truth isn’t that simple. Wladimir and his brother Vitali are the two best heavyweights on the planet. The only man who might come close is David Haye and Wladimir put such a beating on the Londoner that it left no doubt as to the identity of the world’s best big man.

Klitschko’s next opponent will probably be the unbeaten Russian, Alexander Povetkin in a fight that has been long talked about. Before people rush to suggest that Wlad has been avoiding Povetkin it is worth remembering that the Russian’s camp have shown little appetite for this contest in the past. It took the promise of a huge payday to make the bout a reality.

There is no denying that this a weak era for heavyweights. The two best won’t fight each other – and rightly so – because they are brothers. The challengers are often out of shape or blown up cruiserweights. Let’s be clear though, Wladimir Klitschko would have been a top ten fighter in any era.

Wlad is very good technically and accusations of his being robotic are wide of the mark. He rarely has to deviate from the one-two style that has served him so well but when called upon to do so the Ukrainian has varied his approach. Klitschko is also in great shape and clearly looks after himself between fights. The history of heavyweight boxing is littered with fighters who have taken a relaxed approach to fitness.

Wlad4It is obviously difficult to compare eras but the fighters from golden ages of the past would be dwarfed by “Dr Steelhammer”. As one writer pointed out, Rocky Marciano wouldn’t have been a heavyweight today. Wlad has also fought “fast” guys and few, if any have made it past his ramrod jab.

Wladimir Klitschko’s record has more than its fair share of mediocre fighters but as they say, a boxer can only beat what is put in front of him. Wlad struggled early on at the elite level but he has ironed out those faults and should now be recognised as an all time great of heavyweight boxing. sixty people have lost to Klitschko and only nine of those opponents have seen the final bell. That is greatness in any era.

The anger directed at Floyd Mayweather is of an altogether different nature. The public don’t often respond well to ostentatious displays of wealth, even less so from a man convicted of domestic violence. Once again though, the off-kilter moral compass of some boxing fans renders that argument useless.

The other big shadow hanging over Floyd is that of Manny Pacquiao. It is hard to escape the feeling that Mayweather avoided the Filipino great when Manny was at his peak. The window of opportunity for that fight has now gone with it being announced that Pacquiao is to fight Brandon Rios later this year.

Pacquiao aside, Floyd Mayweather has achieved some special things in boxing. World titles in five different weight classes is no mean feat. Especially when you consider that Floyd has gone from super featherweight all the way up to light middleweight.

Mayweather has fought many greats of modern boxing, Corrales, Castillo, Hatton, De La Hoya, Mosley and Cotto. There are other names on Floyd’s record not mentioned there who will also end up in the hall of fame yet plenty behave as though Mayweather has spent a life ducking tough opponents.

In recent times there have been people queueing up to claim that Mayweather’s next opponent would be the one to break the spell. De La Hoya would be too big, Hatton would be too rough, Cotto too powerful. In the end they all went the same way.

FM1Even Floyd’s most recent conquered foe, Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero said he’d have too much for Mayweather to handle. It is one thing to talk a big game but nobody has managed to live up to their pre fight promises against Floyd Mayweather.

One of Robert Guerrero’s main bugbears ahead of the fight appeared to be Floyd’s entourage. Guerrero referred to them as mere cheerleaders, there to chant Mayweather’s mantra of “Hard work. Dedication”. Guerrero misses the point. That chant is not just something repeated offhand. Few people in boxing train harder than Floyd. There’s a reason he makes great fighters look silly and it isn’t simply natural talent.

I understand the nature of people’s attitudes towards Floyd Mayweather. He can be unpleasant at times and the talk of wealth grates a little after a while. Nevertheless, I’m of the opinion that Mayweather is one of the greatest fighters to ever set foot in a ring. You might not like the man but he has done more than enough to earn your respect.

Boxing is one of the few sports where those involved have their achievements measured by those they beat rather than the achievements themselves. In a sport where the best don’t always fight the best that is a fair judgement. However, fans should avoid letting that taint their perspective of two strikingly different but equally remarkable athletes. Floyd and Wladimir won’t be around forever, I suggest we make the most of them while they are.

Floyd “Money” Mayweather

By George Ogier

In the absence of a thriving heavyweight scene boxing fans and the media alike are keen to anoint a weight class as the sport’s “glamour” division. The recent dominance of both Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao have led many to suggest that the 147lb stars of welterweight boxing are today’s kings but is that reputation deserved?

There can be little doubt that Mayweather and Pacquiao are the pre-eminent fighters of this generation. Both men have risen through the weights and now, more often than not fight around the 147lb mark. They are responsible for some of the biggest PPV figures of recent years and all this without ever facing each other. Does the mere existence of both men mean that the welterweight division is the most exciting?

The events of the past few weeks have served to turn the welterweight boxing on its head. Pacquiao lost a shocking decision to Tim Bradley, Randall Bailey knocked out Mike Jones and Josesito Lopez forced Victor Ortiz to quit on his stool with a broken jaw. Whatever you think of the judges from Pacquiao- Bradley, the division has been front and centre in terms of news coverage.

It is only really the depressing emergence of rampant PED use within the sport that has taken the shine off some enthralling fights of late. Suspicion still surrounds Julio Cesar Chavez Jr after his victory over Andy Lee. There have also been positive drug tests for the likes of Antonio Tarver, Andre Berto and Lamont Peterson.

Beyond the thrill of watching the enormous talents of Pacquiao and Mayweather there is a generation of more than capable talent at 147lb. Fans were treated to a Rocky-style storyline as Lopez met Ortiz on Saturday. Paulie Malignaggi fought in Ukraine and captured the WBA title. Here in Britain we have the mercurial Kell Brook and the very real prospect of Bolton’s Amir Khan moving up from light welterweight.

Therein lies the strength of the welterweight division. It isn’t so much about Pacquiao and Mayweather and more about what is bubbling just under the surface. Yes, everyone wants to dine at the top table in terms of fighting the two figureheads but the battle to get that honour is equally compelling.

The race to win a payday against Pacquiao and Mayweather provides great sporting drama. However, the inability of Floyd and Manny to actually fight rather than just snipe through the media is a problem. It has created a situation whereby there is little for other fighters to aim at in becoming the best. In many other weight classes there are universally accepted “top dogs”. To get to the title you have to beat the man who beat the man.

Andre Ward

Wladimir Klitschko is head and shoulders (and probably chest too) above all other heavyweights. Andre Ward has proven that he is the premier super middleweight fighter on the planet. Just below Ward you’ll be hard pushed to find anyone that doesn’t believe Sergio Martinez to currently be the world’s greatest middleweight.

At 147lbs there just isn’t that pinnacle, a summit of human endeavour. If you beat Floyd or Manny (fairly) then you are merely part of the alphabet soup of titles. It has become a twin peaks of achievement and like David Lynch’s masterpiece it can be hard keep track of what is happening.

Both Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather are destined to be remembered as all time greats. Nonetheless, that undeniable fact should not mask an addition to both men’s legacies. By not meeting in the ring they are robbing a new generation of fighters the chance to call themselves the undisputed champion.

In terms of talent and sheer popularity the welterweight scene is the most exciting at the moment. However, individual contests do not shape the whole boxing story. Fans want to know who is the best, they want to see one man rise above all others to become champion. The 147lb scene is currently throwing up some fantastic contests. Sadly, the confusion at the top of a very congested pile is diluting many people’s enjoyment of a golden era.

It’s not a black thing, it’s not a white thing. It’s a green thing.”

– The gospel according to Floyd “Money” Mayweather

On May 5th Floyd Mayweather will face Miguel Cotto for the WBA Super World light middleweight title. Mayweather is a man who divides opinion among fans. In criticising Floyd’s lifestyle are we too quick to dismiss the talents of a truly brilliant boxer?

Many find Mayweather’s obsession with money vulgar and feel it reflects badly on the sport. Others are more forgiving, thanking their lucky stars that we live in an age where such a talented fighter is still operating. Either way, everyone has an opinion on Floyd, in and out of the ring.

Whilst there can be no doubt that this is an era defined in part by Floyd Mayweather it is also an era in which boxing is becoming a niche sport. Despite the rise of Tyson Fury on Channel 5 we have also seen Sky Sports unceremoniously dump Hatton Promotions from their boxing coverage. Ask an average sports fan what they know about Mayweather. The response is likely to include the lack of a fight with Manny Pacquiao or Floyd’s upcoming stint in prison.

Sadly, both topics represent a large slice of Mayweather’s public persona. However, this state of affairs is entirely justified. The Pacquiao issue has been raging for years and looks no nearer to being resolved in the ring. The prison case is far more serious. On June 1st Mayweather will begin a 90 day sentence at Clark County Jail. Floyd entered a guilty plea to charges of Battery Domestic Violence against the mother of his children.

It is virtually impossible to put both concerns aside, even in a sporting context. Many see Mayweather’s legacy as tarnished for not fighting Pacquiao. The court case and subsequent sentence was even moved around to allow for the bout to take place. Beyond these yardsticks by which we judge Floyd though, can people really focus on the boxer alone?

It seems fitting that a man with the middle name of Joy should bring so much pleasure to so many fans. Everyone wants to see “Money” fight. You may have different reasons for doing so but it is hard to take your eyes off him in the ring.

I have watched boxing regularly for more than 20 years. In that time I do not think there has been more naturally talented fighter than Floyd Mayweather. The nature of sports debate means plenty would disagree but Floyd’s ring craft is utterly phenomenal.

Mayweather was an Olympic bronze medallist in Atlanta ’96. He has used that amateur pedigree has a springboard to a stellar paid career. A world champion in his eighteenth professional fight, Floyd has claimed titles at four other weights besides.

A popular line is that Floyd has no chin, “catch him and you’ll knock him out”. Plenty of people have hit Floyd very hard and yet he only has one knock down on his record. The moment in question didn’t even come as a result of Mayweather getting hit. Floyd damaged his hand throwing a left hook against Carlos Hernandez and touched down, overcome by the pain.

That’s forty-two fights and forty-two victories. Along the way Mayweather has beaten, among others Oscar De la Hoya, Jose Luis Castillo, Diego Corrales, Arturo Gatti and Ricky Hatton. Floyd has risen from super featherweight to light middleweight and still people are queueing up to claim he’s not that good.

There are those that accept Floyd’s talent but maintain that without a Pacquiao fight his legacy will be forever damaged. This may be true but listening to Mayweather’s reasoning as to why it hasn’t happened is enlightening. On his claim that Pacquiao has been using performance enhancing drugs, “I’m going up in weight but I’m not just walking through no damn fighters. This mother****** was 106lbs and he’s just walking through Cotto. Cotto can’t knock down Mosley but he can? Come on man?”

If Mayweather truly believes that Manny Pacquiao is using PEDs then his reticence to face the Filipino is understandable. This isn’t athletics where drug use means a better solo performance. This is a sport where one man’s capacity to damage another might be increased by 30%. There is a health issue for both men involved, not just the drug user.

I am not for one minute suggesting that Manny Pacquiao has cheated with the assistance of PEDs. However, if there is a grain of doubt in Mayweather’s mind, not fighting Pacquiao is justifiable.

Boxing history is littered with fights that never happened. It is incredibly frustrating that Mayweather and Pacquiao seem destined to forever circle each other beyond the ring. Look past the Pacquiao issue though and we are left with an outrageously gifted boxer in Floyd Mayweather. He has defeated a long list of future hall of fame inductees and he has looked superb in doing it.

Floyd isn’t the first professional sportsman to have an extravagant life and an unashamed love of the dollar. He most definitely won’t be the last. On May 5th, whatever your thoughts on Mayweather the man, just take a second to appreciate Mayweather the boxer.