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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Floyd Mayweather: champ or chump?

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by D.R. Foster January 28, 2010

You can never trust a skinny cook or a pretty palooka, and Floyd Mayweather Jr. is a real pretty palooka, indeed.

That’s why I blame Mayweather for the collapse of the superfight between him and Manny Pacquiao, slated for March but scuttled this month for reasons that are still incomprehensible. The Fight, as it will henceforth be called, was set to be positively Balboan in its grandeur, matching as it would have one of the 10 best fighters in history (Mayweather) with a man who has a chance to join that list (Pacquiao). Rarely do the two best fighters in a given year—let alone a given decade—happen to fight around the same weight class. But with the unrelenting lameness of top heavyweight contenders gradually turning that division into a kind of homoerotic slow-dance, the boxing world has been increasingly interested in the more dynamic cluster of weight classes between featherweight (126 pounds) and middleweight (160 pounds). This is the sweet spot where our two heroes have earned their livings, where fighters are big enough to land haymakers but also still fast enough to dodge them.

Floyd “Money” Mayweather is very much about the dodge, and is as good an embodiment of the distinction between a boxer and a mere puncher as there is. Undefeated in 40 professional fights, a six-time champion in five different weight classes, he is—despite his 25 knockouts—a predominantly defensive fighter. He lives and dies by the “shoulder roll” stance taught to him by Floyd Sr., his old man and on-again-off-again trainer. Lead arm high, chin tucked into his deltoid, trailing arm loose around his midsection, spinal column on a swivel: Face and guts thus protected, he pivots and moves with his opponents’ punches like Jay-Z brushing the dirt off his shoulder, his face always registering a kind of faintly amused surprise when their worst blows whiff a few inches in front of him. On offense, he is a genius tactician who doesn’t so much land counterpunches as meticulously place them. He plays to the points on the judges’ cards, and lets pretenders to his throne hurt themselves as much as he hurts them.

Manny Pacquiao, in NovemberBut since Mayweather’s semi-retirement a couple of years ago, Pacquiao has topped most observers’ lists as his successor atop the sport. Pacquiao is a demi-god in his native Philippines—not just a boxer but also a credible national politician, an action-movie hero, and a pop star. Inside the ring, he’s a guerrilla, a banger, a stalker who chases his mark around with both hands flying. On his way to a record-setting seventh title in seven different weight classes, he bludgeoned Miguel Cotto, one of the toughest-chinned sons-of-a-bitch ever to don a pair of nylon shorts, so badly in the 12th round that the referee called the fight with just seconds left. He showed up for his match against Oscar De La Hoya shorter, smaller, and with less reach than his opponent—and beat him so badly that De La Hoya respectfully declined to come out of his corner in the ninth round and retired from boxing shortly thereafter.

And everything seemed set for the great sword and the great shield of the boxing world to meet in Las Vegas on March 13, until the two fighters’ camps hit a snag on drug-testing policy. Mayweather wanted Pacquiao to agree to Olympics-style random blood testing up to and including the day of the fight, figuring that Pacquiao had to be doping to move so quickly and effortlessly up weight classes. (The irony was that this fleet movement is precisely what Mayweather had done years earlier.) Pacquiao, all machismo and superstition, read the demand as an insult to his honor, worried the tests dangling over his head would weaken him physically and psychically, and wanted no tests inside of 30 days before the fight. There was much public smack-talking and counteroffers were bandied, but talks finally collapsed a couple of weeks ago.

In the end, it couldn’t have been all about blood tests. Mayweather knows damned well his opponent isn’t doping—Pacquiao had already agreed to a test immediately following the fight to show he had nothing to hide, and is so pissed at the implication behind Mayweather’s demands that he is suing for defamation.

So what was it about? Money? Maybe. Boxing is so dirty that you’d be wise to go ahead and wash after reading this column. Fights always happen or don’t because the cigar-smoking, derby-wearing mustachioed men who pull the strings calculate that there is a nickel more to be made one way or the other. So it would make sense to wonder, as some have, whether calling the fight was a strategic tease, meant to ramp up excitement—and profits—for a second go in 2011.

But how much more money could be out there? Both parties already stood to be made filthy, stinking rich by the fight—each side left a guaranteed $25 million on the table, and probably that same amount in Pay-Per-View fees.

That leaves only one explanation for Mayweather’s stupid terms: pure, raw, incontinent fear. Mayweather is afraid of Manny Pacquiao—hell, who can blame him?—and the great genius of defensive boxing has maybe rightly decided that the best defense against Manny Pacquiao is never to step into the ring.


Manny Pacquiao: An Open Letter and Prayer for a Floyd Mayweather Showdown

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By SJ Jarapa

I sat motionless, hoping the silence would temper the mounting grief, which, through all means of madness, was caused by the euphoria that had pulled a pang in the hearts of millions worldwide, inside me. Then I seized the carton of a camel’s milk from across the table into my palms. It was cold, fresh from the fridge. I stared at it; contemplating if I would be the wiser should I choose to cleanse my depression with it.

The space around me was dim and ominous, with every shadow appearing to dance by the flickering rays of the moon which seeped in from a distant wall of wrought iron and glass. They all seem to want to lunge at me, envelope me as if to make me part of their lonely universe. I wondered if they too were in anguish much as I am that Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, JR., will no longer fight on March 13.

13…the number deemed more ill-omened than not by all has brought death to what was supposedly the greatest fight in boxing history – 13… how fitting, I said miserably in my head – in my distraught mental state.

I caught myself and yanked my eyes back to the carton of camel’s milk lying prone with the innocence of a child in my hands. I looked at it with so much longing. What am I doing? Quack doctors had already cautioned against the liquid, comparing the beverage to a deadly mixture of snake venom, cognac, Alco-Gel, and urine. But my despair was forcing me to ignore their warnings. Am I really out to get smashed?

I ripped the milk cap off. Oh saints forgive me for what I am about to do!

I took a swig.

So good…

I chugged another mouthful then another, stopping only after a whole minute of hysterical chugging. Ah… how I forgot how great the intoxicating flavor of the nectar once enjoyed only by gods!

Why was this happening? What on earth went so wrong that they chose not to praise each other anymore with a stellar exchange of their fistic talents? What did I and every soul in the world do to warrant such pain? I never should have kept my hopes up. It was too good to be true. I tipped my head back now to look up at the ceiling and remembered how perfect they were for each other.

Dazzling, well in my imaginings, there stands in one towering peak, Floyd Mayweather, JR: Good looking, so refined, a real big spender – a graceful defensive genius.

Another, seemingly shining with equal brilliance, standing in a crest of the same height and stature, Manny Pacquiao: Great smile, multilingual, a real superstar – a ferocious offensive genius.

As I mused over and pondered with the scene further, the picture in my head began to sprout to life in the form of a mist that embellished on the ceiling a dreamlike illustration of the two boxers standing mere inches from each other, with Floyd Mayweather, JR., glowering at an intense but smiling Manny Pacquiao.

Strange I thought.

What was Floyd’s gaze doing so high in the sky like he was looking up at the much smaller Manny as if the man was a thousand leagues taller than he was, even though, they stood on equal measure?

Perhaps he believes despite himself that Manny Pacquiao is the personification of a world he bears deep desires to have but cannot ever reach or touch since no matter how pure and splendid his own endowments are, he knows deep within him that it could be a world he might be forever barred from.

And Manny… true to his character his gaze remained leveled on his fellow combatant for he neither sees no one below him nor does he sees anyone above him save God.

My fantasy bubble snapped.

God, I thought.

Is Manny Pacquiao godlike or is he in fact a god?

Hundreds of people think that is exactly what he is – as such seems the destiny of someone whose power to galvanize an immense entirety radically surpasses the boundaries of his own world. They swear by him, some would plunge in deep waters with him, even through, as history would prove, his many slip-ups and wrong doings.

Fortunately, there are eyes around him which appear to far exceed the bands of those on the wrong. Their watch penetrates his conscience and it forces him to confront his mistakes, allowing him to set to right what was wronged and that… is the product of his humanity. Something his rival seems to lack. But given his tremendous force as a person, his enviable physical qualities as a fighter, his awe-inspiring authority over a people, all does not merit him the gift of infallibility. He does to the best of his ability to be what he can be for his people but he is far from perfect. What he deserves is to be seen as but a mere mortal for that is what he’ll always be.

Manny Pacquiao is no god.

The lips of the camel’s milk carton, without thinking, found its way to my mouth and while the lethal fluid gushed finely in my throat like there was no tomorrow, I mumbled. “I will pray for Manny but I will never pray to Manny.”

I pulled away from the milk carton. Tipping it over, I learned the awful truth that it was empty.

Anger swept over me.

The drink that had kept me sane was gone. Paranoia clutched my chest, putting me in dread of what I might become without it. With long, heavy breaths, I permitted seconds, minutes, hours to pass, and tried to keep my bearings together. What do I do now? What can I do to fix this problem? Kidnap both men and force them to fight each other? No… that will not work. I rose from my chair and swiveled about with eyes a great bulge in search of answers that would clearly not be found anywhere in the chamber’s ever-increasing darkness. On the instant my incessant circling stopped, my eyes locked on the carton of milk. Then, in one swipe of lunacy, I crushed it with both hands and back-handed it to the floor. Next, my glare fixated on the wooden table with wrath ablaze in my pupils. I closed my fist and pitched it downwards at the table in full force. CRACK! I heard it break… not the table but my hand.

The scream came thunderous only in my head for I refused to shriek out loud and risk losing face – with the girl next door being so hot and all…

My eyes welled up, my body possessed by a frantic state of thrashing. Then I tripped and smacked the floor. My wailing was ever so hushed, my tears flooded out like a cosmetic facial mask that coated every inch of my face, even my groaning was in utter disbelief of the electrical pain that surged from my broken fist into my entire nervous system. After what seemed forever, my aching at last abated, and I started to relax in the fetal position.

Then I laughed. My head was clear. Amazing how physical pain can wake your rational senses.

I know now what to do.

But first, something must be done to alleviate the milk’s sinister clout over my mental and physical fortitude. So like a bolt of sudden erection, I sprang up to my feet and got over to the refrigerator on the far end of the chamber in just .6 seconds. I heaved its door open. Light spilled from its rectangular interior and into the darkness beyond. What I found inside made my eyes sparkle with pure bliss. A bottle of cold beer sat, as lonely as I had been earlier, in the middle. Without delaying any further, I snatched the brew, its cold exterior freezing my palm. Then I closed the fridge’s door and glided right back out to the table. I made the cold bottled beer lie on its wooden surface. As I watch it lay there, I knew I was in love, it looked so beautiful to me. One problem, I noticed. I did not have an opener with me. But when I thought about it again, there was no problem at all. I broke into a stance and then Karate-chopped the bottle’s neck off Mr. Miyagi Style to give it a fine crater in which to drink from.

I savored the scent of alcohol in gold.

I will now write an open letter…

Dear our beloved Manny Pacquiao,

From the moment your fighting star soared the skies your nation fondly christened you as its modern day hero and you have always prided yourself with the designation. You are the fist of the Philippines – a hero of millions, the meek, the strong, the rich, and poor. So please show us the hero. Show your followers precisely what was it that they believed in. Show them the worth of their faith in you. I know the circumstance at hand is unwarranted, therefore unjust and extremely difficult to abide by… but since when did you cower from such a challenge – you who walked right through thorns and fire to feel the clouds?

“People do not follow titles. They follow courage…”

I forgot who said that (Mel Gibson?) but it sounds just right for how you have lived your life so far. It fits. Courage is the one aspect that sets you high above Floyd Mayweather, JR. When Lehlo Ledwaba wrestled you down and Marco Antonio Barrera fist-groped your sacred stones, you retaliated not in the same manner; instead, you punched back with great respect and honor for not only yourself but likewise for both your foes, regardless of their tactics, and your sport. No, I do not believe you have it in you to ever cheat boxing. But there are those who would say otherwise, those who would dare twist things to suit their own malicious hides.

Do their allegations against you hold real grounds? Only you can prove them wrong. I know you are just navigating a way around the dangers in the seas to give them not a chance to mess with your training – your psyche come fight night. I am afraid, though, that you have so little choice this time. The court of public opinion is divided on your case. Many have laid unfair judgment upon you. When you say you are scared of needles they bend its meaning into something wicked.

I know you meant the statement as a joke but in case you are indeed afraid of needles – here in my hand, a cold bottle of beer. Take it. It’s yours. It’ll help numb your fears… actually, you’ve got the money, get your own. No offense intended. I’m just too smitten by its frozen body to let it go… headless or not.

Anyway brother… you are lucky, because, just as many believe in your innocence. But this will not be judged by the masses. They can neither punish nor vindicate you despite the breadth of their emotions. This innuendo has become so large to a point where it could potentially leak into everyone who carries your name and blood. Imagine what they could suffer from what it might bring in the future. Disapproving eyes born of unpleasant hearsays is often the cause of inner torment. You were right to file lawsuits against these people. But I don’t think the spite in the air will fade away even if you win your case.

It has to be you – you can end this with your vaunted left fist in Floyd Mayweather, JR’s mouth or you can choose to ignore it and let it build into something you cannot control. It’s your choice. But then I don’t have to tell you for you know well as we all do that with one punch, you can finish it all.

If you have to go through his cowardly demands to greatly weaken you – go through it.

Because there is an entire world that believes you will never let him win – never let him leave the ring on his toes. When the hour comes that you knock Floyd Mayweather, JR., out blind, deaf, and dumb, all life on Earth, in space, and Hell will know him as the fake who thought he had the upper hand.

Manny Pacquiao, you are the re-embodiment of our ancestors’ enormous valor. What better way for you to leave the life of a warrior than to perform one final act of true courage – to save your name against all odds before they kill it? This in my heart I believe would be your life’s greatest act of heroism.

And that my friend… was my best punch…

I wish I could tell you to sleep on it…

I drank the cold beer.

And collapsed…


Freddie Roach exclusive: Mayweather so good Pacquiao would need ‘perfect fight’

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Freddie Roach Telegraph Sport exclusive part five.

Freddie Roach has been breaking down the style and technique employed by Floyd Mayweather, which has made him the unbeaten fighter he is today.

Roach had begun his research on Mayweather before the planned super-fight between Pacquiao and the leading American boxer of today was derailed by rows and disagreements over drug-testing procedures.

Roach told me: “I’d been looking at how Mayweather reacts against south paw fighters. There’s quite a difference to how he reacts with right handed fighters. He’s not that comfortable with the south paw stance. It gets him in a little trouble.”

Yet Roach spelt out in clear terms the task facing Pacquiao should he meet Mayweather in a ring, later this year. “It’s more about his positive things that we have to stay away from.”

“It’s a complicated game plan I was beginning to put together. You look at the way Floyd fights. If you put pressure on him, on the ropes, he rolls and ducks, and counters and if you get too aggressive, he’ll walk you so cleverly onto a counter punch. He’s not the most offensive fighter, not the most entertaining fighter, but he is great at what he does.”

“Do we have to be ready for all of it ? Yes. It’s going to be a real, real, mental fight, and this is 100 per cent the biggest challenge Manny Pacquiao has ever faced.”

Would Roach have done anything different to Mayweather’s style, if he had trained him? “A little bit more offence, because of his hand speed and abilities. I’d have got him to use it to his advantage more. I don’t think anyone trains Mayweather. He was born to fight. It is in his blood.”

“There are not a lot of weaknesses. It has to be a special 36 minutes from Manny. We have to fight the perfect fight.”

“It is hard thinking about it. When decisions haven’t yet been made. I think the fight has to happen. I think it will happen. It’s good for boxing, it is good for the world. If it doesn’t happen, we might go back into a recession in boxing again, because it is the fight which is anticipated. The public wants to see it, and I want to see it too.”


Move over Floyd, Manny Pacquiao is the new 'Money' of Boxing

Sacramento Fight Sports Examiner | Rick Rockwell

2010 has signaled a new era for boxing. Manny Pacquiao has overtaken Floyd Mayweather Jr and other boxers to become boxing’s “Money”. For years, Floyd Mayweather Jr has used this moniker but now Manny has passed him up in talent, recent earnings and popularity according to boxing fans and BusinessWeek’s Top 100 most powerful athletes.

About the Top 100 Most Powerful Athletes List
The list was calculated by on-field metrics included athletes who scored the best on the field (or the rink, the greens, or the court) over a two-year period. The more popular the sport, the more weight those achievements garnered.

Manny and Floyd’s Rankings
Manny Pacquiao was ranked 72ndon the list while Floyd was ranked 91st. Pacquiao’s earnings was estimated at $39 million to Mayweather’s estimated earnings of 30.3 million. These estimated earnings included fight income and sponsors.

In addition to the earnings, Manny’s popularity has soared over the last few years worldwide. But, it’s only been recently that American Boxing fans have started to notice and appreciate the amazing talents of Pacquiao. Dennis Farelly, of Rosemont, CA, “In 2009, Manny seemed to kick down America’s doors to say that he is the world's best boxer.”

Not only did he kick down the doors in America but he also knocked the “hotshot” UFC back in line. I for one thought that the UFC was going to overtake boxing by the end of 2010. However, I quickly learned that Pacquiao is great enough to keep boxing ahead of the UFC for at least another 2 years. Joseph Selek, Sacramento, Ca, “Manny Pacquiao has single handedly kept the UFC from overtaking boxing in the mainstream”.

Pacquiao vs Clottey
My colleague, Michael Marley, shared some impressive numbers with us in his recent column regarding the upcoming fight and the all-time attendance mark for a boxing match in America. According to Marley, the Pacquiao and Clottey fight has already sold about 25,000 tickets and is on pace to potentially break the all-time American attendance mark of 63,315 from 1978 when fans watched Muhammad Ali defeat Leon Spinks in the Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans,

It’s not just the popularity and the income that makes Manny the new “Money” in boxing. It’s also his talent. When he steps into the ring, you know that you are going to be in for excitement and you know that you are going to witness God given abilities that we may never see the likes of again.


De La Hoya not giving up on big fight

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(CNN) -- Boxing promoter Oscar De La Hoya has revealed that despite their feud outside the ring -- he has not given up trying to convince Manny Pacquiao to fight his client Floyd Mayweather.

"That fight has to happen," said De La Hoya at a news conference to promote another fight.

"It's too big not to happen. We just have to cross one hurdle at a time," added the American of the proposed world welterweight bout which fell through earlier this month in a drug-testing dispute.

Mayweather and Pacquiao almost cut a deal this month, but claimed they could not agree on a 10-day gap in the timing of drug tests prior to their proposed March 13 bout.

"The public will hopefully make him change his mind," De La Hoya added. "Why would you not want to earn $40 million dollars? Why would you not want to show the public that all this speculation is nonsense? Be the one to stand up and say it."

Filipino Pacquiao, boxing's pound-for-pound king, is currently scheduled to square off against Joshua Clottey at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Texas on March 13.

Meanwhile, De La Hoya also said that Mayweather and Shane Mosley are in talks to possibly meet on May 1 in Las Vegas.

Meanwhile, WBA heavyweight champion David Haye has confirmed he will make the first defence of his belt against American John Ruiz in Manchester in April.

The Briton claimed the title when he defeated Russian giant Nikolay Valuev in Nuremberg in November and now former WBA champion Ruiz at the MEN Arena on April 3.

"It's been 10 years since the heavyweight championship has been fought in Britain and everyone knows I had to go to Germany to take the title away from Nikolay Valuev," Haye told a press conference.

"Now it's time to showcase my skills again in front of the great British public," added the 29-year-old.



January 27th, 2010 By Pedro Fernandez


San Francisco, CA- It seems the majority of the boxing world is not enamored with the manner in which Floyd Mayweather Jr. takes care of his business. Having handpicked every opponent since he left 135 lbs, Floyd has raised the bar, at least when it comes to stinking the joint out! All this being said, when was the last time a master of pugilistic defense was considered great? Historians that I approached on this had only one Hall of Fame response, that being Willie Pep.


Fighters like the late Arturo Gatti, limited in the skill department, brought nothing but offense to a fist fight. If you look at Arturo’s fan base it was a smorgasbord of ethnic groups from all over the world. Floyd Mayweather on the other hand, an African American, seems to attract nothing but his peeps! Unlike Gatti, Manny Pacquiao, Mickey Ward, Marvin Hagler and Tommy Hearns, this group attracted all colors and denominations while Floyd doesn’t.


Being a defensive master in the squared circle of boxing is not what fans clamor for. Rather than watch someone slip a shot, boxing fans are more inclined to like the guy who threw the shot, not blocked it. Let it be said, “Floyd Mayweather is a great defensive fighter.” That title may fill his pockets with gold bullion, but it will only continue to alienate the majority of fans following the sport.

Pedro Fernandez


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather - The Fight That never was

Like many boxing fans around the world I find it hard to explain just how much I was looking forward to the Pacquiao – Mayweather fight. Not since Bernard Hopkins vs. Felix Trinidad in 2001 had I anticipated such a fight, Pacquiao had the P4P crown, a crown relinquished by undefeated Floyd Mayweather when he entered temporary retirement in 2007.

May 2007 In the highest grossing fight of all time pound for pound King Floyd Mayweather Jr overcomes Oscar De La Hoya in a split decision point’s victory to capture the WBC super welterweight title.

Dec 2007 In the battle dubbed someone’s 0 must go; Floyd Mayweather Jr surgically breaks down Manchester’s Ricky Hatton, forcing the British brawler to suffer his first defeat.

The undefeated Floyd Mayweather announces his retirement from the sport, stating he has nothing left to prove.

Dec 2008 Former Flyweight champion Manny Pacquiao climbs to the welterweight division for the first time to face Oscar De La Hoya, and retires the Golden boy at the end of round 8. Oscar has not fought since.

May 2009 In a possible fight of the year candidate, Manny Pacquiao brutally dethrones Ricky Hatton as the Light Welterweight champion of the world and solidifies his status as the number one pound for pound fighter in the absence of Floyd Mayweather Jr. Hatton has not fought since.

Sept 2009 the imminent return of Floyd Mayweather, saw him face the man who gave Manny Pacquiao two of the toughest fights of his career. The undersized Juan Manuel Marquez was out of his depth from the opening bell against an imposing Mayweather, and suffered a heavy one sided point’s defeat.

Nov 2009 Pacquiao puts to bed any doubts regarding his ability to compete with a legitimate welterweight. As Manny Pacquiao gave his post fight interview after his destruction of Miguel Cotto, you could hear the chants of "Mayweather" coming from those in attendance at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas. The crowd were responding to the question put to him during his ringside interview. The fight seemed inevitable; especially seeing how well the pound for pound king had just took apart a true welterweight.

We all know the circus that developed over the next few months, in short the fight could not be made. The promoters denied us the most anticipated fights in years, as if that was not enough they delivered one last slap in the face of every boxing fan when they planned rival pay-per-view cards on March 13th, in the hope the circus continued with all the drama that would proceed with fans comparing the PPV numbers.

We can blame the promoters and justifiably, but the fighters themselves are not without blame. When all is said and done it comes down to the fighter as it’s he who can make the fight happen. Can you Imaging Aaron Pryor - Alexis Arguello walking away from such a fight. What if Julio Cesar Chavez never gave Meldrick Taylor the opportunity in 1994. Or any of the famous battles between the infamous quartet of Hagler, Duran, Leonard and Hearns during the 80’s who moved heaven and earth to get in the ring with each other. It’s time today’s fighters ditched the suits and laced em’ up.