Over the weekend, I watched the rematch between Julio Cesar Chavez, JR vs. Bryan Vera. But, I actually was more interested in the comments from Kellerman, Roy Jones, JR, and Lampley. The Orlando Salido bout seems to have given new meaning to getting in some body punches regardless if they were strategic or not. There is the Canelo Alvarez vs. Alfredo Angulo fight I’m sort of looking forward to since I think it’s important for Alvarez to shake of his lesson against Mayweather. He needs to get back into the ring.
I continue to have a love-hate relationship with boxing. With the announcement of the rematch between Manny Pacquiao, 55-5-2, 38 KO’s, vs. Timothy Bradley, 31-0, 12 KO’s, and Floyd Mayweather deciding to go up against Marcos Maidana, I came into the living room with my father and asked, “Can you believe Mayweather will go up against Maidana and Pacquiao is going up against Bradley again?” Sheesh. My dad, a former boxer and longtime boxing fan, looked up and asked, “Who’s Maidana?” My answer, “He’s that crazy Argentine fighter. The one that fought against Adrien Broner.” He squinted his eyebrows and said, “Mayweather? Why’d he agree to fight him?” I shrugged my shoulders. Dad answered, “Oh, who cares. Mayweather’s just doing it for money.”
“And Pacquiao’s going against Bradley,” I added.
“That’s a good fight. He needs to win. But he should retire. Retire as a winner with some money in your pocket,”
My dad, in his wisdom, managed to sum up the paths of all three boxers. Right now, Mayweather, Bradley, and Pacquiao stand on top of the welterweight division. When I think about boxing right now, those three are the boxers that immediately come to mind for sports and boxing fans alike. There are some other boxers, such as Nonito Donaire, Sergio Martinez, Brandon Rios, Ruslan Provodnikov, and Guillermo Rigondeaux, but none with the appeal, with the boxing credentials to carry the sport of boxing as it stands now. I’ll add Andre Ward to that list as well, but even Ward seems to lack quality opponents.
At the center of this triumvirate of the welterweight division, let’s recap, or speculate. I feel like I need a Venn diagram of sorts, but Mayweather seems to be at the center of this boxing triangle.
In the bout between Pacquiao vs. Bradley, let’s consider that their first bout was a case of some questionable judging. I thought Pacquiao won, that’s one result. Another result would be a draw. But a split decision in favor of Bradley? I didn’t see that. I think it was the beginning of my family deciding to boycott PPV fights. It wasn’t an impressive fight for either fighter and the judging reflected it. The bout was scored: 115-113, 115-113, and 113-115. I still think Pacquiao won, or at least the bout scored as a draw.
In Bradley’s last few bouts, his fights went below my radar, or at least watching him left a bad taste in my mouth. Bradley is an okay fighter, an athletic fighter, but his fights, eh. Kind of like how you feel after a first date. It’s a phrase I often use for a lot of things these days. “It was okay.” After the Pacquiao fight, Bradley went up against Ruslan Provodnikov. Now, that was a bout I give to Bradley. He really showed what he was made up of, fighting toe to toe with Provodnikov, and had he had a bit more polish, I think the wily, brawling, and quickly improving Russian would have won. After Bradley, Provodnikov went up against tough guy Mike Alvarado. Provodnikov won due to a cut on Alvarado’s eye. Provodnikov is good, very good. He’s got the goods.
At this point in the article, you can yawn a bit because I’m going to talk about Mayweather. But I can get the immediate questions out of the way: First question: Will Pacquiao ever fight Mayweather? Not very likely. In fact, if Pacquiao decides to retire, Mayweather will jump on it and say he would have fought him if he didn’t retire. Second question: Will Bradley get a shot at Mayweather? Not very likely. And the reason? Bradley would lose and he knows it. Third question: Does it matter for either fighter to go against Mayweather? For Pacquiao, yes, because the fight has been on and off the promotion cards for a couple of years now. For Bradley, eh, not really. I’d rather see Bradley go up against Provodnikov again. I think Bradley needs to put that prior bout out of his mind and shake it off.
As for Mayweather and his bout against Maidana, it was a smart move for him. He let the fans decide between Khan or Maidana. Khan? Amir Khan? Yes, boxing fans, the Amir Khan that Maidana nearly put out in the opening rounds of their bout against one another. Maidana is an exciting, unpredictable fighter. I’m hoping for a good fight. But let’s consider the Mayweather skill set and how his fights play out. Speed. Jab, cross, hook, maybe an uppercut – out of range. Opponent attacks Mayweather. Mayweather retreats to the middle of the ring, jab, cross, hook. In and out. Higher connect percentage. Opponent can’t stay inside and backs off waiting for Mayweather. It’s a long wait because I don’t think Mayweather actively engages. But, he does manage to make his opponent fight his fight. Don’t try to beat Mayweather. Outpunch him. Fight him. Be aggressive. Show him you can fight from all angles. Don’t stand with him because he’ll win on speed and show he has control of the fight. But am I wrong here?
If you re-play Mayweather’s rounds of boxing, you can go in and out of the room (as I often do) and you can’t tell the first round from the 12th round. If he has KO power, why have his fights gone to twelve rounds? Yes, I remember the Ortiz fight. Actually, I try to forget it but bring it up for point proving purposes.
I’ve been called pro-Pacquiao and the inverse to that is being a Mayweather hater. Somewhat true. But I won’t deny this about Mayweather. As unpredictable as the sport of boxing is, Mayweather does what any fighter needs to do – he wins fights. No matter his opponent. Mayweather has found a way to win and remain undefeated. I give kudos. But now, as it stands, the bout against Maidana will really just go down as another Mayweather scenario (see play by play above): I’ll fight who I can beat.
I’d like to hear this instead: I’ll fight whomever, wherever, for whatever amount of money. Or actually, to be more specific: I’ll fight Pacquiao, in Manila, with a 50-50 split. Yeah, right.
A few weeks ago, on February 25th, we celebrated the 1964 fight between Cassius Clay vs. Sonny Liston. On my Google+ page, I mentioned it was a turning point for heavyweight boxing. The division was never the same. It was an era of the great heavyweights. Cassius Clay, later Ali, never backed down from his desire to fight. He took on everyone. And, simply, he fought.
But here we are, 2014, and two, or three, of the best welterweights continue to dance around one another. Did I say dance? I mean, duck.
Mayweather. Bradley. Pacquiao. Have a summit. Catch a Lakers game. Go shopping. But put it on the table, with the boxing world to see. Choose a bout for the sport of boxing. I care enough to write about and say boxing needs the superbout. Mayweather has strategically placed himself as the go-to opponent for a great bout. Smart move. But he needs to step up too He, apparently, can go to anyone and make it a fight. Isn’t it odd he hasn’t approached Bradley or Pacquiao?