Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is Mayweather

Ryan Tice@@RyanTiceContributor IJuly 30, 2009

LAS VEGAS - DECEMBER 08:  Floyd Mayweather Jr. sits in his corner between rounds against Ricky Hatton of England during their WBC world welterweight championship fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on December 8, 2007 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Floyd Mayweather, Jr. has one of the biggest mouths in sports. In the buildup to his most recent fight, a knockout of Ricky Hatton, “Money” proclaimed, “I respect what Robinson and Ali did for the sport but I am the greatest and this is my time.”

Mayweather has routinely backed up his big mouth, though, and I have no problem with someone talking if they produce. The 32-year-old, who has a 39-0 record with 25 KOs, has certainly done that en route to claiming boxing’s greatest pound-for-pound fighter title.

Even Mayweather’s biggest supporters may have a hard time supporting his latest controversial comments, though. In an interview with CBS Sports, Mayweather said that mixed martial arts is for “beer drinkers” and MMA has blown up because, “there’s no white fighters in boxing that’s dominating.” (His English, not mine)

This isn’t his first stab at MMA.

In the buildup to his 2007 fight with Oscar De La Hoya, Mayweather said that any quality boxer could easily become a UFC Champion.

I don’t care how talented you are, being a champion in any combat sport is far from easy: whether it be boxing, MMA, kickboxing, wrestling, etc. After the first incident, he later apologized and publicly said, “I respect MMA fighters and what they do in the UFC.”

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. There were also reports at the time of the first incident that Dana White tried organizing a fight between then-UFC lightweight champ Sean Sherk and the boxing legend, but Mayweather declined. [Editor’s Note: I have no idea if this happened, what is true or not, but it was reported by various websites and that was the basic concensus.]

Sure, Mayweather's newest comments could be trying to drum up interest in an otherwise dead sport of boxing. MMA is, without question, king of the combat sports, at least for now, thanks to the UFC.

Mayweather’s next bout will be September 19th against Juan Manuel Marquez at a catchweight of 144 pounds. He may also be trying to keep that limelight shining on him for as long as possible. Or maybe the man who came out of a 16-month retirement for this fight and once had a stint in the WWE is in financial trouble and exploring his options.

I'm just still wondering the reason for these comments, but I'm sure Mayweather is somehow trying to benefit from them.

Regardless of his reasoning for the illogical and racist comments, the wrong dude heard Mayweather’s comments. WEC Bantamweight (135 pounds) Champion Miguel Torres recently made news when he openly challenged Mayweather.

“I heard that he was talking garbage about mixed martial arts, and he was being pretty racist on certain subjects, and that made me kind of angry because I love boxing,” Torres said.

“I'd be the first one at my weight class to say I'd fight Mayweather, anywhere, any way he wants. If he hears this, whatever he wants to do…We can even do modified kind of rules, we can box for three rounds, do kickboxing for three rounds, and then fight MMA for three rounds. I would even do something like that so he could have a little more confidence.”

Torres was clearly trying to get under Mayweather’s skin but it’s about damn time. This is the second time he called out an entire sport that is on the cusp of mainstream, so it’s time to put up or shut up, according to Torres.

“I think it's totally wrong for any boxer to call out a mixed martial artist because you have so many different variables that are going to go on in a fight,” Torres said. “It's fear and it's a lack of knowledge. They're so stuck in their small world they have no idea what they're talking about.”

"The times that I've watched him box is to want to watch him lose, because I just didn't like his attitude and the way he acted very much. He's never going to change. I think the only way he will change is if he steps in the cage and gets his mouth shut."

Torres, who has a record of 37-1, is set to defend his bantamweight crown against highly-regarded Brian Bowles on August 9. The 5'9" Jiu-Jitsu specialist said that he respects Mayweather and what he has done in the boxing ring.

He went on to say that a B-level MMA fighter could dismantle Mayweather in the octagon.

“He's very flamboyant, he's very cocky, he's a bit of a prick, and I think he's broke now because of whatever financial reason he has, but you can't talk about a complete fighter when you're not a complete fighter yourself."

These two fighters stand about the same height, 5'8" to 5'9". Torres has challenged Mayweather, even though he may be giving up a little weight to the boxer that has fought as high as 154 pounds, and offered to give the boxer special advantages in terms of how the match is set up. Torres has easily won the first round of the verbal exchange that will probably continue to play out in the media.

What needs to happen now is for this tussle to get moved inside of a cage or ring. Torres has done just about everything he can do and it’s up to Mayweather now to say he’s in.

There are numerous obstacles in the way of this actually happening but Dana White has tried to set up a fight with the boxer before so Zuffa (who owns the UFC and WEC) shouldn’t be too opposed to setting this up, especially if it will quiet MMA’s critics and/or boxing fans.

If this fight comes to fruition, there is probably going to be a 100-page document specifying all of the rules because the sports are so different and it would highly unlikely that it would be a regular boxing or MMA bout.

Then again, Torres did say anywhere, anyway.

Torres, whose 37 wins include 9 KOs and 22 submission, would completely dominate “Money” if submissions were allowed. I’m also confident that with the versatility of Torres and his numerous ways of striking—he's a dangerous Muay Thai striker—a standing fight with any striking allowed would still fall in the MMA fighter’s favor.

Mayweather’s only hope is a match when only punches are allowed. If kicks are allowed, he will only have a puncher’s chance, given his inexperience in defending the other, new strikes.

If these two fighters really do want this to happen, I see their management and organizations working and collaborating to make it happen. If Mayweather does rob us of this spectacle, though, maybe he has proved Torres wrong and shown that he can change.

Regardless, the time has come for Mayweather to put his money where his mouth is and back up the talk one more time.