Exclusive Interview: Jeff Mayweather Speaks on Celestino/Gamboa, Margarito/Pacquiao, and Mayweather/Pacquiao
Vivek Wallace: There were some recent developments in the case of Gamboa and Rojas. With Rojas being injured and stepping back, I understand you and Caballero ( photo by Jody Kohn) stand to potentially get a shot at him (Gamboa) next. How close are we to seeing that fight happen?
Article posted on 28.07.2010
Jeff Mayweather: Basically, Celestino was told that the fight is a go......So, we're preparing for it like it's on!
Vivek W: Now, I know that Gamboa's initial fight date was the 11th of September. Are we looking at that same date if the fight goes through?
Jeff MW: Yes, September the 11th is the date that we're preparing for.
Vivek W: OK, now, stylistically, Gamboa is a very fast fighter, good reflexes and a good amount of power; yet Celestino is tall, has great reach, and is far more experience to add to his better attributes. Do you think this variation would allow you guys to exploit certain weaknesses in Gamboa?
Jeff MW: Well, one thing Celestino and I work on regularly is trying to get him to get the most out of his height and reach against any fighter and not be so combative.. Not just Gamboa. The good thing about Celestino is that he can do both, but I like to keep a fighter on the end of a long jab and force him to make mistakes while coming in. Gamboa likes to jump and that leaves him off balance sometimes. There are certain flaws that he has that we could capitalize on. To be honest, I think he's good, but I can't think of many real talented people he's faced, let alone defeated.
Vivek W: Yeah, Mtagwa is the biggest name I could identify without a quick trip to BoxRec (stats); but even in his case, most would look back at JuanMa as one of his career peaks, which was a loss for him. That brings me to my next point, though. JuanMa is set to face Rafael Marquez the week after you all potentially face Gamboa. Providing you all come out victorious, would you like a crack at the winner?
Jeff MW: Of course, and I expect JuanMa will win! That's a fight we've wanted (with JuanMa) for 3 years now. It started at 122(lbs), now at 126, and if he goes to 130, we'll be there waiting on him, too!
Vivek W: Hit or miss, lets say the fight with Gamboa doesn't happen, who's a potential next opponent?
Jeff MW: If Gamboa takes the fight, I'll be surprised. If he's taking it that means he's getting paid very, very good, because I don't think he wants any part of Celestino, either. That being said, to be honest, I don't think there's anyone in line who truly wants to face Celestino. I can't see any marquee fighter with any value or any worth who would take the risk of fighting Celestino right now, but he's willing to face anyone and everyone in that weight class.
Vivek W: Yeah, I was telling someone the other day that Celestino is almost in a Paul Williams type scenario, where he can make the weight, yet the guys in those respective divisions who can make the weight with him are more concerned with his height and reach. But anyhow, switching gears.....of course we're now on the backside of the biggest fight in history to NEVER happen, of course referring to the latest Mayweather/Pacquiao debacle. I can respect that it's a sensitive topic, and as a member of the media I know we like to build sources, not reveal sources. So, with neither one of us obligated to say names, I would like to run by you a theory that my sources have informed me of and have you, as a direct insider, tell me how close it comes to the reality:
Team Mayweather said after the Mosley victory, and I was in the media room when they said it, "there would be no negotiations if there is no randomized drug testing". As I was told, among a few monetary issues that could have been potentially resolved, the core issue came down to Team Pacquiao never fully conceding to the testing demand, and although they came closer than efforts of the past, they never quite gave Floyd what he wanted by removing the cutoff date. Now, if this is true, that would explain why Team Mayweather felt there may have been an initial discussion, but no actual negotiations, because they (as I was told) refused to talk at any point beyond that refusal, unless it changed. Is that the reality of what we're faced with?
Jeff MW: To be totally honest, I don't know who your sources are, but that's as close to the truth as you're ever gonna get! Basically, once again, they couldn't agree. There was a concession to a certain point, but random is random. There was no need to entertain anything beyond that point. There were never formal talks between the two camps, and regardless of who carried the messages back and forth, there was no desire to continue from the beginning when it became evident that the same issues that halted things the last time were gonna be an issue this time. There was no need to even entertain that and Floyd didn't. He literally moved on, despite what they may think was being negotiated.
Vivek W: I'm gonna be honest with you, I initially took the position like "wow, Floyd basically walked away and substantiated several claims about his perceived non-desire to face Pacquiao"; but as the source and I discussed, there was not one visible piece of information that proved Pacquiao had in fact conceded to the full randomized testing, and as I traced the hints and checked the files, I literally couldn't find anything to overrule that theory. Bob Arum on record never went beyond saying he "couldn't get into details". Neither did any other Team Pacquiao or Top Rank official.
Jeff MW: (interrupting) Vivek, listen, Pacquiao and Arum know what it would have taken to make the fight, and they didn't make it happen. Floyd is at a point in his career where he is totally fine being semi-retired until something really motivating comes back across the table. I'm his uncle, but I can't even tell you if he's gonna fight, or if he's gonna retire. Even as his Uncle I have to take a wait-and-see approach. It all comes down to what motivates him. What I do know is that when the time comes he puts in the work, and he does that even when he's not preparing for a fight. But, Floyd won't even attempt to respond to anyone trying to force his hands. He knows he doesn't have to. Fight fans wanting to see that will continue to be disappointed.
Vivek W: You know what, that's exactly why I don't like to get into choosing sides or talking down on a fighter, because you just never know in this funny business. Consider this......Floyd was talked down upon after he defeated Mosley. Some said Shane was "off too long", "washed up", and "no longer a threat". Those same fans who said this now have to face the reality that the man they support (Pacquiao) will soon step in the ring with a man (Margarito) who was away from the ring even longer than Shane Mosley was.
And what makes it so bad, this man is suspended for a weapon he won't have on fight night, which makes him less of a threat, and was KO'd by the same "washed up" Mosley who Mayweather pitched a shut out against. Now.......will that same group of fans strip away the greatness of what I expect to be an eventual Pacquiao victory, too? Not at all! Yet it's identical to what they criticized Floyd for. I just can't do that, man! I have a problem with so many things Floyd has done, but I have no problem being the minority in saying that he isn't alone, because it's a revolving door and these two guys are very much the same as Oscar, and Tyson, and all the others were. It's just their time. So, now that that's out of the way, what are your thoughts on Margarito/Pacquiao?
Jeff MW: It's kinda difficult to pick, but Mosley isn't even as fast as Pacquiao, and Mosley beat him very easily. I don't know if he'll knock Margarito out, but he'll beat him for certain. It does make for an interesting fight! Manny will be easy to hit like he always is, but I still lean towards Pacquiao.
Vivek W: Yeah, the one thing that I think will favor Margarito is the fact that, although he lost to Shane, Shane had height and reach; Pacquiao has neither, so he will have to sacrifice his body to go inside, and with Margarito's comparable workrate, that could make it intriguing. I do agree that Pacquiao's speed and pop gets him a points win if not more, though! But, before we wrap up, about Floyd.....Do you expect him to fight this year?
Jeff MW: It's like I said earlier, I have to take a wait-and-see approach. It depends on what comes across the table.
Vivek W: There are a few names we keep hearing....Williams, Cotto, and Martinez. What are your thoughts about those potential opponents for Floyd?
Jeff MW: Every one of those fights are winnable for Floyd. Williams' length is the only thing that would give people something different to analyze or talk about, but he has no defense and he's easy to hit. He does throw a high volume of punches, but that alone doesn't get you the nod. Martinez....good fighter, but he fights with his hands down, and he's no where near as fast as Floyd, so I think Floyd would pick him apart easily. Cotto, he's probably damaged goods. Cotto kind of reminds me of a modern day Meldrick Taylor. He's not as solid, talent-wise, but even after Taylor was no longer an elite fighter, he was able to win a world title. Cotto, I view as pretty much the same. Him defeating Foreman told me that he was good enough as a past elite fighter to defeat a man who probably was never going to be an elite fighter.
Vivek W: Excellent analysis, Jeff. Like always. On that note I'm gonna shut it down and let you get back to what you were doing, but I'll be following the Celestino/Gamboa story close, and hopefully we can see this fight happen.
Jeff MW: Always great talking to you, Vivek. Stay tuned, Eastside Boxing
(In defense of Team Pacquiao/Top Rank, this interview holds the key to only side. I have extended opportunities, yet no source or official has been eager to answer the call. I am open and very willing to allow the same opportunity to those with the desire (and power) to help clear the air. Do consider this an open invitation......again).
(Vivek Wallace can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 954-292-7346, Youtube (VIVEK1251), Twitter (VIVEK747), FaceBook, and Myspace).
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