Recently, Ali/Frazier I celebrated it's 40th anniversary. Who could forget THE fight, much less the buildup to the event? And it WAS a event. When Pacquiao/Mayweather was suggested to me as it's successor, this era's "fight of the century", I scoffed. I immediately thought of Delahoya/Trinidad. Remember that one? Big fights never seem to live up to the hype. Like "big games" in other sports, many times it leaves much to be desired. However, with what's going on in the boxing world, this fight desperately needs to happen. And it needs to happen for Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Let's review this month's fights. Miguel Cotto defeated Ricardo Mayorga. Don't get me wrong, "the mad man from Nicaragua" is a great guy to hype up a fight. His pre-fight antics versus Oscar Delahoya and Tito Trinidad made up for his performances against them. Who could forget his cigarette after he destroyed the late Vernon Forrest? However that fight was almost a decade ago! Having met Ricardo, he is a quiet and humble man, who just plays a part. Just like Floyd Mayweather. He is not this "bling monster, loud mouth". He is a kid from Michigan, who is not a thug or gangster. However being the best pound for pound fighter was not enough. Being "pretty boy Floyd" wasn't either. He is just playing a part. You have to have some sizzle behind that steak, ala Ol Roy Jones Jr. Unfortunately, recently, Floyd's name is more known for his antics outside the ring than in it. And that's a shame. Getting back to the Mayorga fight, Cotto looked his age. Perhaps fights with Margarito and Pac have taken their tolls. This kid was the goods at one time. I always thought he was a knockout waiting to happen, however. Unfortunately for him, he seems to be hanging on. Anyone think a prime Mayo beats him? Does anyone want to see a Pac/Miggy rematch?
In another mismatch, er boxing match, Vitali Klitschko defeated Odlanier Solis. Or rather the Cuban could not continue due to a leg injury. But was it a phantom punch? Delayed reaction? Or just a dive? Another disgrace of a fight. Dr. Ironfist, even with his weight loss, towered over his opponent. It was like a boy vs a man. Not much action at all. Listen, I like the Klits brothers. Both are well spoken, educated men who have futures after boxing. They have come a long way since I disgustedly named them "Hans and Frans" (SNL). Vitali after quitting against Chris Byrd, came full circle with his showing versus Lennox Lewis. Wlad has improved alot after his losses with the help of trainer Manny Stewart. However unless they fight each other or David Haye, I have no interest in following them. The only interesting thing about the brother's is if one loses.Which won't happen if they continue to fight bums. I would rather they not fight at all. Speaking of Lennox "Lion" Lewis, boy does the heavyweight division miss him as I correctly predicted. I would take him over RJJ in the booth as well. "You don't know what ya got, till it's gone", comes to mind.
In other bouts, David Tua, Zab Judah, Oliver McCall and Michael Grant also won. Really? Really? Is this a time warp? The heavyweight division is in shambles. Where did the great American fighters go? NFL? MLB? NBA? Sergio Martinez defeated Serhiy Dzinziruk in a bout that was only surprising because it ended within 12 rounds. Lucian Bute/Brian Magee was the highlight of the month, as the game Magee got off the canvas time and time again before succumbing to the Romanian/Canadian. While I've never been a fan of MMA, they really are the blueprint when it comes to fights and promotions. Dana White may be a jerk, but he gets it right, most of the time anyways. Boxing needs a phenom, a shooting star like a Mike Tyson. Since I don't see that happening, Boxing needs Mayweather/Pacquaio. And it needs it now.
So, let's get back to Floyd "Money" Mayweather vs Manny "Pac Man" Pacquaio. This fight was first rumored to happen in 2010. However it was derailed by both sides, but I must blame Floyd more. Insinuating Pac is on steroids is ridiculous. Last time I checked, at least in this country, you are innocent until proven guilty. Where is the proof? Just because Floyd Sr. made some accusations? Just because one puts on weight and moves through weight divisions with ease, doesn't mean they are juicing. Sure, other sports are guilty. It's a media frenzy, no doubt. Look at baseball. I'm just waiting for more names to be released. They are leaked every so often. Even in boxing, Shane Mosley, Roy Jones Jr. and Evan Fields were stories. However in the end, I really think Floyd did not want this fight. All he has to his legacy is his perfect record. So he fought Shane Mosley. And has been in trouble with the law ever since. While I understand Floyd is a gym rat, where is his head at? I believed May beats Pac...1 or 2 yrs ago..Now? I'm not so sure. And I'm sure Mayweather wakes up every night from his nightmare screaming "50 million...50 million!!"
You must remember that Pac is now a elected official in the Philippines. While I am not surprised he is still fighting, I am a bit concerned where his head is at. He has always loved his country, but more than that, his people. He has always given money, food, clothing, etc. I'm not sure what a politician makes in the PI. I'm sure it's not 10 million a fight. I am concerned Manny will give away all of his money, ala Joe Louis. He is more concerned about his people and country than himself. Also, not many fights remain in the career of Pac. I do not see him fighting much longer. He does not have to...On the other hand Floyd does...Floyd will be in financial ruins if he does not fight. He, like many other "entertainers", athletes etc, are used to a high, lavish life style. The MTV show "Cribs" comes to mind. It's all about the money for Mayweather, hence his nickname money. Its also about his legacy. It was not set after he retired in 2007. Sorry, Ricky Hatton was not the farewell match we were looking for. Manny's legacy is set. Floyd needs this fight more than Pac. Much, much more.
Floyd is all about the bling these days. You saw him flaunting his cash on HBO's 24/7. Problems with the IRS are nothing new to him. He spends alot of money. Just on his entourage and security alone. He also loves to bet NBA games. $5000 a game is nothing to him. His retirement was surprising. His return was not. Like others, he needed the money. Where else but in boxing can you make 5-10 million a night? His comment's about his HBO contract seem eons ago. However what has slowed him down is his problems with the law. I always thought Floyd had his head on straight, unlike his uncle and father. I was wrong. Jeff is the only one who is not in trouble. Jr's problems outside of the ring has derailed or rather stalled his career. Instead of fighting in the ring, he is trading with a security officer because he can't produce ID. He has problems with his baby's mama. A sad, sad story that may not end well. We are awaiting Roger Mayweather's fate. Floyd is not far behind. While I can't compare his situation to a Ike Ibeabuchi or Mike Tyson, hopefully it won't get to that point. Floyd needs boxing as much as we need to see this fight.
Fred Roach is becoming a celebrity, or rather is one. I remember interviewing a more quiet, humble Freddie at the Irvine Marriot. Those days seem long ago. He molded a one handed fighter into one of the greats. Manny has come a long way since his loss to Erik Morales. However with that said, so has the fame and money. I don't think Manny is the same fighter in or outside of the ring. His inner core are essential to Pac and Manny runs the show. I don't think Roach is as close to the fighter as he once was. It showed in recent 24/7s. I remember a time when they were like "father and son". No more. However this is nothing new in boxing or sports itself. I'll throw in the entertainment biz as well. Money, power, fame can be intoxicating. Sometimes the only thing that breaks the cycle is a loss. While I don't see one coming, you do wonder where Manny's head is. He enjoys singing. Perhaps American Idol is not far behind. He is a true renaissance man.
So let's break down this possible mega fight. At this point, I would have to say Manny would be favored. He has been more active and fought the better competition. They are not Floyd's "leftovers". Not by any stretch of the imagination.
Common Opponents? 3. Juan Manuel Marquez, Ricky Hatton and Oscar Delahoya. Marquez was older and moving up in weight when Floyd fought him. Pacquiao got a more prime, and in the right weight class, Mexican. Don't forget, that while JMM was game in finishing the first fight, the judge incorrectly scored it. Hatton was stopped by PacMan sooner. Delahoya went 12 with Mayweather in a close fight. Manny destroyed a weight drained Oscar later. Pac has fought Margarito, Joshua Clottey and Miggy Cotto. Floyd? A past prime Mosley, Judah, Jose Luis Castillo and the late Diego Chico Corrales. Manny has been the more spectacular fighter. Moved up in weight and looked fantastic. His next "test" comes up soon. It would not surprise me at all if he stops Mosley.
There is no doubt Floyd is the more technical boxer. He has the hand speed and foot speed. He has the lineage and he was meant to be a fighter. While Manny has improved drastically in those areas, especially with the right hand, he is still behind May here. However he is a southpaw which may present problems for Floyd. I thought after 6 rounds, Zab Judah was right there with Mayweather. You just can't tell with Manny where the bombs will be coming from. Floyd was rocked by Mosley in that 2nd round. One can't help but think that if Manny lands that shot, he may finish the Money Man. On the other hand, Mayweather may just outbox, out think and out hustle Manny to a decision win. Pot shot his way to a victory, if you will. It is a race to the finish line. Pac will try to end this fight with the left. Mayweather will be content with another, sloppy, boring decision win. However, keep in mind we don't know when Floyd will fight again. Nothing is scheduled until his legal troubles are behind him. I'm thinking 2012 is the year. Will he go after Manny or take a warm up fight? Questions, questions...and no good answers...yet
So what will happen? Again, if this fight had gone on as scheduled, I would have had no problem putting my money on Money. I was waiting a long time for this great betting opportunity, dreaming of a big payday. However, that's not the case anymore, I'm nodding a bit towards Manny. I also would not be surprised at all if Mayweather stops him. I would have to really sit down and handicap this affair. Is the fight at 147 or a catch weight? Time, the great equalizer, has closed the gap on my selection. Let's just hope this fight happens. Shades of Ali/Frazier I could be in store for us! However having said that, how many "big" fights never happened? Boxing needs this fight..Everyone involved, let's make it happen! One last thought. As much as Jerry Jones put on a show at Cowboy Stadium in Texas for the last 2 Pacquiao fights, this event needs to happen in Vegas. As you well know, there is nothing like "Fight night in Vegas!" The atmosphere is electric, you can cut the tension with a knife. There is nothing like the desert. Vegas Baby, Vegas!!
Champs Flurries: Delahoya/Pac II? No, just Pac's lawsuit is moving on against the Golden Boy. Stay tuned. Nice to see the Super Six continuing. Its been what, 2 years since this thing started? LOL. That was my only problem with this tourney. That and having Jermaine Taylor as a participant. Perhaps it should be renamed the European Super Six? Kevin McBride and Erik Morales training..Why? March Madness is in full effect here in Vegas, as the NBA season winds down. Play Ball! Opening Day is less than 10 days away!
Well that's it fight fans!! Keep your hands up and keep punching for the stars!!
Ron Champ Miller