Why is Mayweather avoiding the best available opposition?
02.08.07 - By Geoffrey Ciani: So it’s official! Reigning pound-for-pound boxing king Floyd Mayweather Junior will be facing Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton in his next bout. Unfortunately, there are better fights out there for Mayweather, but for whatever reasons, he doesn’t seem interested in pursuing them.
Article posted on 03.08.2007
After beating Oscar De La Hoya, Mayweather has become one of the most sought after fighters in the 147 pound weight range. Fortunately for Mayweather, there are a slew of worthwhile contenders to choose from. In the welterweight division alone, you have Shane Mosley, Miguel Cotto, and Paul Williams. Rather than accepting the challenge from one of these elite boxing fighters, Mayweather has set his sights a little lower—on a junior welterweight.
This is a disappointing turn of events. To be fair, I think Ricky Hatton is a great fighter and I think he will undoubtedly be giving it his all, doing everything in his power to seize the moment. Unfortunately, despite having a style which may theoretically give Floyd fits, I see this being a one-sided affair.
Ricky Hatton has fought exactly one fight in the welterweight boxing division, and that bout was against Luis Collazo. Although Hatton was awarded the victory in this bout, many (if not most) observers considered the outcome to be extremely controversial. A very strong argument could be made in Collazo’s favor.
The real problem Hatton had against Collazo is that his frame is just too small for the 147 pound class. The seven pound difference between fighting as a welterweight or a junior welterweight made all the difference in the world. The Collazo bout clearly illustrated this; Hatton is best-suited for 140 pounds.
Incidentally, Collazo has had two fights since the Hatton match, and one of those was against “Sugar” Shane Mosley. Unlike Hatton, Mosley is a natural welterweight who’s even tested the waters in the junior middleweight class. Against Mosley, Collazo was dominated from start to finish, barely winning a round in the process. As a natural welterweight, Mosley was able to outwork and out-hustle the younger pugilist and even managed to drop him late in the contest.
Surely Mosley represents a better challenge for Floyd than Hatton!
Another good option for Mayweather would be the rising pound-for-pound star, Puerto Rican pugilist Miguel Angel Cotto. In June, Cotto looked outstanding en route to a stoppage victory against former Mayweather opponent, Zab Judah. Not only did Cotto manage to stop Judah inside the distance, which was something Mayweather was unable to do, but he was also much more dominant in victory.
Surely Cotto represents a better challenge for Floyd than Hatton!
Finally we have Paul Williams. Standing over six feet tall, Williams is freakishly big for a welterweight. Furthermore, he’s a southpaw who has an outrageous punch output, as evidenced in his recent victory against one of the most feared pugilists in the weight class, Antonio Margarito. When nobody else was keen to fight Margarito, Williams not only stepped up to the plate, but he won the bout in impressive fashion.
Surely Williams represents a better challenge for Floyd than Hatton!
Sometimes it’s disappointing when a fighter who’s as gifted and talented as Mayweather doesn’t actively seek out the toughest available challenges. When Shane Mosley wore the pound-for-pound crown currently donned by Floyd, he made an effort to fight the best. Whether it was moving up in weight to face De La Hoya, granting fights to dangerous unknown commodities who were universally avoided (like Vernon Forrest and Winky Wright) or demanding immediate rematches after a loss, Mosley always dared to be great.
In daring to be great, he sometimes failed, but at least he failed admirably and with nothing to be ashamed of. In that sense, Mosley is greater than often give credit for by his contemporaries. On the other hand, Mayweather is often overly-praised as a direct result of his unblemished record. But what good is having an unbeaten record when you aren’t eager to fight the best and prove your worth?
Luckily for the fans, Mosley and Cotto are rumored to be squaring off later this year in what will undoubtedly be an exciting match-up. Meanwhile, Mayweather is actively seeking out a smaller fighter who isn’t even perceived as one of his best available challengers.
It’s a sad state of affairs when maintaining an unblemished record supersedes the priority of establishing a legacy of greatness. One can only hope that Mayweather steps up to the plate after his bout with Hatton. The winner of Mosley-Cotto will have earned the right to fight him.
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