Howdy loyal RSR readers. Before I get to the mailbag I thought I should update you on the PPV that happened on Saturday since I don’t think many bought the card. Most people who I talked to were protesting that Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Juan Diaz II was on PPV when the fight was a perfect candidate for HBO.
Juan Manuel Marquez kept his unlikely dream of completely a trilogy vs. Manny Pacquiao alive. Marquez boxed magnificently, capturing a clear decision win in an entertaining fight against Diaz. Unfortunately, Bob Arum and team Pacquiao seem uninterested in fighting Marquez for a third time. With a Floyd Mayweather match looking increasingly unlikely, Marquez becomes the most interesting opponent out there. I would rather see Manny against his rival Juan Manuel instead of Antonio Margarito. Who wants to see a cheater get a huge payday?
The first question in this week’s mailbag is a Pacfan trying to understand why Floyd Mayweather is running from a fight with Pacquiao. Also in the bag, a Mayweather sympathizer, and some discussion surrounding my heavyweight rankings from last week. Enjoy and be sure to send in your questions to be answered in next week’s mailbag. Enjoy!
Mayweather Controlled By Fear
It’s so simple Brian. Why would a boxer in his prime “retire” or not think about boxing when he is on the verge of getting the biggest money fight in history? A fight where he is the bigger man and the favorite to win and would give him the legacy he’s always wanted, against, as big Floyd Senior would say “a Filipino midget who’s not even a good boxer and would be an easier fight than Shane Mosley”.
I read an article a few years ago where Floyd Senior was interviewed. He said that before he went to prison he specifically told the people who handles his son that they should never match him with a southpaw because PBF would have a hard time against them. Senior was livid when Junior was matched against a southpaw and was really given a hard time by his opponent. He just didn’t mention who the opponent was. And when he got out he let Junior’s team have a piece of his mind.
Come to think of it, Pacquiao is the most dangerous southpaw in the last 20 years and big Floyd didn’t really start making his accusations about steroids until when it was really clear that his son should fight Pacquiao. That accusation was more like an excuse to steer clear of his feared southpaw because he saw first handed how Pacquiao operates when he annihilated Ricky Hatton. Then in another interview big Floyd said that he doesn’t want his son to fight Pacquiao, that it’s not about the steroids, that he has another reason but he won’t tell us.
Great insight and observation here. Mayweather has fought three southpaws that I am aware of (could be more earlier in his career). The first was against DeMarcus Corley and Corley came the closest to knocking out Floyd that anyone has ever came, tagging him hard in the 4th round.
The second was Sharmba Mitchell, who I think was badly faded at that point. Mitchell was very susceptible to the straight right hand as Kostya Tszyu pointed out, so Mayweather exploited that and won without problems.
The third southpaw was Zab Judah, and as you remember that was one of Floyd’s most difficult fights. I actually know a couple writers who scored that fight for Judah. Zab landed a few big punches and Mayweather never looked very comfortable, only winning the later rounds because Zab was completely gassed.
Manny Pacquiao is not easily felled by the straight right hand like Sharmba Mitchell so you can suspect that southpaw slugger Manny would give Mayweather trouble like the other southpaws have. Speed and southpaw stance seems to be a combination that allows Mayweather’s defense to be pregnable, especially in the early rounds.
So that leaves the question, is Mayweather scared of southpaws, and in particular intimidating southpaw Manny Pacquiao, the best southpaw since Marvin Hagler? That is an interesting theory and I can’t disprove it.
As for Mayweather retiring out of fear, Mayweather also said that he would retire after the Carlos Baldomir fight, and then after the Oscar De La Hoya fight. Yet Floyd was tempted to come back because of money and he did not feel like Oscar De La Hoya or Ricky Hatton were a serious threat to beat him. The risk/reward ratio was too good to pass up so he unretired. Despite the reward for a Pacquiao fight being off the charts, the risk must be too big in Mayweather’s estimation. Obviously he is hesitant if he is willing to dodge the fight, stay inactive, and face the public scrutiny. His nickname is “Money” right? If he was all about money he would be jumping all over this opportunity.
Better Southpaw: Pacquiao or Hagler?
I would say Pacquiao is better than Marvin Hagler. Hagler beat up smaller guys going up to challenge him or guys in his own weight class. Tommy Hearns and Roberto Duran where smaller men, while Pacquiao seldom fights smaller men. It’s usually against fighters above his natural weight class.
His signature victories where against bigger men. Marco Antonio Barrera (1st fight where he came up in weight), Erik Morales, Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto. And even against Ledwaba he was just maybe one or two fights removed from flyweight.
Possibly, that is debatable (between Manny Pacquiao and Marvin Hagler on an all time greats list). I am not going to claim that I am on one-side or the other of the debate at this time though. I would have to think about their records and I never like to judge a boxer while he is still fighting anyway.
I mentioned Hagler though because he is the only southpaw who you can make an argument for against Pacquiao. Although Sweat Pea Whitaker was pretty darn impressive as well…
Debating My Heavyweights List
Obviously these lists are very subjective, but you asked for us to duke it out with you so I will (referring to my mailbag last week where I ranked my top ten heavyweights per decade). You have two terrible mistakes that stand out.
1. Lennox Lewis
2. Evander Holyfield
3. Riddick Bowe
4. Oliver McCall
5. Ray Mercer
6. Ike Ibeabuchi
7. David Tua
8. Hasim Rahman
9. Tommy Morrison
10. ************Michael Moorer**********
Michael Moorer was the linear and legit heavyweight champion after beating #2 on your list. He also won a second title a few years later. He was an awesome heavyweight and I am of the belief that had he ducked one more time against Foreman the sky was the limit for him after that. Let’s be honest. He won every minute of that fight. Had he done what many men would have and run for the last 2 rounds he would have moved on with a win. I believe that KO shattered his confidence and he was never the same. Even with that loss, there is NO WAY #4-9 are above him, with the possible exception of Mercer. It is criminal that you have Tommy Morrison and Rahman listed above him. Rahman’s biggest wins up until 99 were his losses to Oleg Maskaev and David Tua when he was ahead on the scorecards until he got KTFO. His best actual win was against….Obed Sullivan? Please show Michael some respect and re-post your list with an apology and the proper placement of him in the top 10. Anywhere between 4 and 6 would be legit.
1. Vitali Klitschko
2. Wladimir Klitschko
3. Chris Byrd
4. John Ruiz
5. David Haye
6. Lamon Brewster
7. ***********Sam Peter************
8. Corrie Sanders
9. *********Ruslan Chagaev************
10. Nikolay Valuev
First of all neither of these 2 should be on the list. Chagaev has never beat anyone. His 2 biggest “wins” were sketchy decisions at best and he has spent more time canceling fights than training for fights.
Sam Peter is a joke. His performance against Klitschko removes him from contention of being a top 10 anything, other than candy ass. He has lost every big fight he has been in except his 2nd fight with James Toney, which should have never happened had the judges not been blind in the first fight. He was 3 seconds from losing to an out of shape and shot Jameel McCline. Seriously who has he beat? Oleg Maskaev?
You need to add James Toney at #10. His wins over Holyfield, Guinn, Ruiz, Peter I (I don’t care what anyone says, it wasn’t close), draw with Rahman, and Oquendo is a far stronger resume than either Chagaev or Peter.
I don’t care who else you pick to replace the other. Eddie Chambers resume is better than both and he beat Peter. He just wasn’t handed a belt like those two. He had to actually fight the best in the division to try to earn his.
Finally since it jogged my memory while writing this, let me ask you a question that nobody has ever been able to answer for me. James Toney-Hasim Rahman II. During the 3rd round Rahman gets a tiny nick above his eye from an accidental head-butt. Toney rocked him twice in that round and had him on shaky legs. The cut is TINY. The ref and doctor look at it for one second and say he is fine to go. Rahman knows if it goes one more round it will have to go to the cards if it is stopped and he has clearly lost the first 3 rounds. He tells his
corner to get the doctor because he can’t see. He claims the blood is running in his eye. Poor baby? If only there was an activity for Rahman to participate in where there isn’t blood…like maybe knitting.
Anyways he cries and complains to the doctor that he can’t see because of the blood, which was very little and his corner could have stopped from bleeding in another round anyways. It was originally ruled a TKO for Toney but then changed to a no contest. Can you please explain to me how if the ref and doctor say Rahman’s cut isn’t a reason to stop the fight, that Rahman can quit and not get an L on his record? The rule is “if the fight is STOPPED because of an accidental foul” not “if the fighter quits”. It seems to be Rahman knew exactly what he was doing and I think his purse should have been held. What say you Brian?
I put the lists together pretty quickly without a whole lot of internal debate on placement on the rankings. Michael Moorer should be a bit higher, I agree, even though he didn’t do a whole lot outside of that win over Evander Holyfield. But yeah, he should be above guys like Hasim Rahman and Tommy Morrison.
I stand by my 2000’s rankings though. The pool of candidates was much weaker than in most of the previous eras. I had a hard time filling out that top ten because some of those guys did very little of note. I considered James Toney but he fell just short. I would have him at #11. Toney’s win over John Ruiz was disallowed because he failed for steroids and I do hold that against him since cheating should not be tolerated in this sport. So aside from that you have a win over Dominick Guinn and a badly faded Evander Holyfield. Then you have a draw against Rahman and despite a good showing in the first Peter fight, he came out the clear overall loser after those two fights.
Rahman should be heckled for the way he slithered out of continuing that fight, and I enjoyed your dig saying that he should try knitting if he is so fearful of blood. However hat Toney/Rahman fight was over before it began so regardless of the reason for the early stoppage you pretty much have to ignore that fight for ranking purposes.
Sam Peter had a nice little run beating Toney, McCline, and Oleg Maskaev in succession. Even though the McCline fight was rough, he clearly earned the decision. Chagaev, although admittedly has a very weak resume, handled the European scene pretty handily and his string of wins over John Ruiz, Nikolay Valuev, Wladimir Virchis, Michael Sprott, Matt Skelton, and Kali Meehan while never testing positive for steroids is enough to have him ahead of Toney. You may not think much of those foreign heavyweights but they are notable opponents with respect overseas.
Both Camps To Blame, Not Just Mayweather
I fully understand the point you are making. And maybe Arum should get some credit. But it could also be considered that two more months couldn’t have made that much difference. What would have been wrong with a January date? I’m quite certain with the tax situation he would have been more open to that. And anything Arum ‘demands’ is almost a guaranteed deal breaker given the HUGE egos involved.
And to your point of Mayweather knowing what to do, I’m certain he would do fine without Roger. But we all know how superstitious athletes are. Especially fighters. Knowing that, I wouldn’t want to go into what could be the biggest fight in boxing history moneywise with something feeling ‘off’.
I agree the fight should have been made by now. I hold both sides accountable. I agree Mayweather has picked less than stellar opponents at WW. On the other hand, he did take the fights he had to when he first got to the division. People fault him for not fighting Miguel Cotto, Antonio Margarito, and Paul Williams. Now, I have been called a ‘nuthugger’ and everything else for what would seem as defending Mayweather. But let me state a couple facts. When Mayweather was at 140, he asked ALL the top guys for fights including Cotto, Hatton, Tsyzu and Gatti. Gatti was the only one with interest. Not Mayweather’s fault.
At WW, the lineal champion as Mayweather was making the move we Judah. While it is unfortunate Judah lost to Baldomir, the fight between Mayweather and Judah was essentially already made. Despite the Judah loss, they made the fight happen anyway and for good measure and to clear up any confusion about ‘the man’ at WW, he then beat Baldomir. Let’s not forget how Cotto has gotten his titles. Not one, IMHO, a ‘real’ title. Most for vacant which Arum is a master at getting his fighters ‘vacant’ belts(see Margarito/Pacquiao). Margarito is the only one with a legit gripe but during that time, Floyd was lookin’ for a bigger fish with Oscar who turned him down. Floyd then tried for a third time since ’99 to make a fight with Mosley and was turned down before Oscar finally took the fight. So the 20+ for Oscar is easily understandable for passing up the 8 for Margarito. Who promptly lost Williams who, at that point, was huge risk no reward.
I wish boxing was less a business. But it’s not. I wanted Floyd to fight the real WW and still do. But he’s always gonna take the biggest money which isn’t always gonna be the toughest opponent. That’s what sucks about the sport. But it’s always been that way. It just seems that now, the biggest draws and best fighters are not one in the same anymore. And it doesn’t help that titles are meaningless either. I have suggestions on how to fix that, but this would get even longer!!
People also say Mayweather’s resume pales in comparison to Manny’s. Just don’t see how. Pacquiao’s biggest victories/conquests? Morales, Barerra, Marquez, Hatton, Oscar and Cotto. Mayweather’s? Hernandez, Corrales, Castillo, Oscar, Marquez, Hatton, Mosley. Looks pretty even to me. Especially if you believe, as most do, that Cotto was damaged post-Margarito and had fought to a virtual draw with Mosley (yes, I know Cotto got the decision. But again, most hardcore fans believe as I do that it was an even fight). I say that makes Cotto/Mosley essentially equal conquests. And that Floyd won essentially every round vs the guy that most experts believe beat Manny once if not both times they fought. It seems pretty even to me. Replace Morales and Barerra with Hernandez, Castillo and Corrales and it’s a wash.
Now, Manny did beat Hatton and Oscar in more dramatic fashion. It could be argued Hatton was damaged goods after the Mayweather fight, Oscar was weight drained, the second Barerra fight and third Morales fight were well past the fighters primes. I don’t hold that against Manny. But Mayweather’s whitewash of Mosley and Marquez were, to me, as impressive as any of Manny’s wins. Mayweather has essentially whitewashed everyone with the exception of Castillo. Some say the Oscar fight was competitive. If you are blind!! I have a hard time giving Oscar more than three rounds unless you want to count wide-ass shots to the elbows??
Now, I am not a Mayweather fan. But I do appreciate what he does. I don’t find his fights boring. The same way I never found RJJ’s boring. And I love watching Pacquiao. If they fight, I would most likely root for Manny. The only reason I can see finding myself rooting for Floyd would be to shut up the completely classless and very offensive Pactards that know virtually nothing about boxing except Manny. I have a hard time rooting for Mayweather for the same reasons along with his own mouth.
I would likely be pulling for Manny, if for nothing else, but to push Mayweather to bring out his true best and force him to literally fight for survival. Which I really don’t think we’ve ever seen. Not to mention a possible rematch should Manny find a way. But I don’t see that happening. Mayweather is simply too good at controlling space. If Manny is gonna win, he’s gonna have to do it in the first few rounds. Once Floyd makes adjustments, it’s over. Rooting for Manny, betting on Floyd.
But to a bigger point on the death of boxing. I actually believe there are plenty of young stars that are more than able and ready for the spotlight. So the question becomes, as big as this fight is, how long before the lack of them fighting hurts the sport? I believe that they will fight. But those two are without a doubt the face of boxing among the casual fans. And the fight should happen. They have both made a fortune from the sport and the least they could do is help their brethren out.
I agree that if they put it off for too much longer? When does the fight no longer matter? Mayweather, despite his fantastic performance against Mosley, I believe has already lost a half step. I believe he knows that and is actually concentrating more on his power. He has grown into 147 very well since he first moved up. Likewise, I think Manny’s hellacious battles have begun to affect him. So it needs to happen early next year at latest for it to really count.
If they don’t fight or can’t make it happen, I really don’t want to see Manny fight another Top Rank fighter. I don’t want to see Mayweather fighting smaller guys. I don’t think Mayweather-Pacquiao will be that competitive a fight and could actually turn out to be a disappointment. So I say, if they aren’t gonna fight each other, and each guy clearly has no interest in the real guys at 154 (Williams, Martinez, etc), then retire and get out of the way!!
Further, Bob Arum needs to stop trying to keep everything in-house. I think he is a relic whose time has come and seems to be stuck in the Arum vs. King era. Dana White has set a great precedent and the guys waiting in the wings to take over for Arum, at least I believe, understand that. And most of the young fighters coming up, with a few exceptions, really seem to want to fight the best. I think the sport will have a lull once Manny and May are gone. But it will be a short lull. Because you have guys like Williams, Bradley, Alexander, JuanMa, Gamboa, Caballero, Maidana, Martinez, Bute, Dawson, etc, etc and to me, the perfect next ambassador for the best in American boxing, a guy with true class, Andre Ward, just waiting for their shot on the bigger stage. And they won’t disappoint.
Boxing is actually quite healthy aside form the biggest fight not happening. All that’s missing are a handful of solid American HW that can see their feet. Unfortunately, with the amateur system and it’s terrible scoring, the things that make fighters truly great at the next level are undervalued. Which is better suited to the European Amateurs. That probably also translates into a few more years of domination form European HW. Old pros, IMO, could do more to help recruit the young crop of fighters in their own communities. Similar to what Joe Morgan does with baseball. A national or central governing body couldn’t hurt either. No more promoters also serving as match-makers.
I started watching boxing and have been in gyms since I was 6. The first fight I clearly remember was my dad taking me to see the first Leonard-Duran on closed circuit followed by the second and Leonard-Hearns. So that’s my educated two cents. Sorry for rambling. But…….thoughts?
So many points in your email that I want to address, I don’t know where to start.
If Floyd Mayweather had shown any interest whatsoever in a Pacquiao fight, or had made any kind of positive statement at all in the press while Arum’s countdown was going on, you bet your butt that Arum would have pushed back the deadline a couple months. That was the fight him and team Pacquiao wanted. Floyd showed no desire to get it done. How can you blame Arum for setting a deadline when he essentially was hearing nothing in return and had to move on?
Your statement that Mayweather asked all of the top 140 pounders to fight him is false. Floyd fought Arturo Gatti because of the risk/reward ratio. Gatti was an easy mark that represented a top notch pay day. Floyd never wanted any part of Kostya Tszyu. Tszyu would have been more than happy to take that fight.
I understand the business aspect and decision making as to why Floyd Mayweather’s time at welterweight was full of weak opposition. The timing wasn’t right and the big fights didn’t line up. Perhaps his weak resume during that time was due to bad luck and no fault of his own. Still, that doesn’t change the fact that his record at welterweight is weak! Give all of the excuses you want, it doesn’t change the fact that he didn’t fight A-level fighters during this period of his career. His fault or not, Floyd doesn’t get credit for fighting quality opponents when he didn’t.
If Floyd Mayweather always took the biggest money fight he would fight Pacquiao right now. That is a 45+ million dollar payday guaranteed. There is more that goes into decision making than just money.
If you can’t see the difference between Manny Pacquiao’s superior record compared to Floyd Mayweather’s swiss cheese record then you aren’t even worth arguing with. Don’t just look at the names, look at the situations and circumstances, especially when it comes to weight classes. Then hopefully you’ll get it.
I see your points about the business of boxing and the downside of old time promoters like Arum making in-house fights. You also mentioned Dana White of the UFC as someone who is doing things right. Although I agree that the UFC is doing a fine job a match making, I don’t think boxing is going to get better at this any time soon. In fact, it is only a matter of time before the UFC fighters are going to realize that they are drastically underpaid and UFC starts turning political and shady just like boxing. MMA will go downhill long before boxing cleans itself up.
I still have hope for boxing’s future and look forward to see the careers of some of the young guys that you mentioned take off (like Andre Ward and Juanma Lopez for example), but it’s hard not to be jaded as a boxing fan sometimes.
Take care fight fans, hope to see you come back next week. I look forward to your messages.