Boxing


Sharkie's Machine: Perception, Reality and Floyd Mayweather Jr.

23.01.05 - By Frank Gonzalez Jr.: Floyd Mayweather Jr. showed off his boxing skills Saturday night at the American Airlines Arena in Miami in front of a less then capacity crowd. His opponent, Henry Bruseles of Puerto Rico, is a member of the Miguel Cotto camp and works as a sparring partner for Cotto and vice versa. Outside of that, there isn't much to say about Bruseles since he has not fought any top-level contenders in his 25 pro fights.

But Bruseles showed plenty of heart and even went eight rounds with the man who is touted as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in all of Boxing.

Though Bruseles showed heart, he was incapable of winning a single round. Mayweather was just too fast and too elusive for him. Bruseles did land a few shots but never anything that deterred Mayweather from having his way with him..

There is a conspiracy theory running that Bruseles was in fact, an agent for Cotto, who sparred with Bruseles in preparation for this fight. Depending on how Bruseles did against Mayweather would influence Cotto's interest in fighting Floyd himself. Miguel Cotto sat somberly near ringside, watching Floyd pick Bruseles apart and ultimately win by TKO. Even though Bruseles
performed better then expected, he was simply outclassed throughout the fight.

Cotto is certainly slower then Floyd but he's a good boxer who's strong and imposing at 140. Cotto vs. Mayweather would at least have some drama and intrigue, unlike most of Floyd's fights, which are totally predictable, one-sided affairs.

During the sixth round, HBO's Jim Lampley and Roy Jones Jr. were discussing the upcoming NFL Championship games and from the ring, Mayweather offered his idea of who'd win this Sunday saying, "Patriots."

Then in the next round, Lampley actually asked Mayweather's opinion of who'd win, Atlanta or Philadelphia. Mayweather turned to Lampley and said, "Atlanta, Michael Vick is the man." Wow, he's so good he can engage a ringside observer between throwing punches and avoiding being hit. Floyd's hubris is amazing. I'd love to see him try that crap while fighting someone like Kostya Tszyu. I wonder if Floyd can do the wobble dance as well as Zab Judah?

The story of this fight was in the eighth round, when Mayweather landed a left to the body, followed by a right hand to the stomach that put Bruseles down as he slumped off the ropes, to his knees and onto the canvas. Bruseles got up, beat the count and Mayweather went after him for the kill.

Floyd effortlessly popped Bruseles with speedy jabs and crosses that angled Bruseles back into the ropes. Then Floyd landed a left hook to the head, followed by a right to the body, and followed that with another left hook upstairs that sent Bruseles back to the canvas. It was actually the body shots that felled Bruseles.

Mayweather was dancing and showboating for the crowd as Bruseles got up to beat the count-but Bruseles' corner was already waving the fight off. Referee Jorge Alonso consequently stopped the fight. A TKO 8 Win for Mayweather.

I had no problem with the stoppage. Hell, I wouldn't have had a problem if Bruseles wasn't Mayweather's opponent Saturday night. It proved nothing except that Mayweather looks great fighting unheralded opposition.

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During post fight interviews, it's Floyd's tradition to calls out big name fighters and Saturday night was no exception. He said he'd fight anyone from Lightweight to Welter. But his next fights are usually against (what I consider) less then stellar opponents. Maybe some think DeMarcus Corley was a great fighter, or Phillip N'dou or Victoriano Sosa. Yeah, they're all
world-class fighters-depending on your point of view. The reality is, they were second tier level opponents.

Of course, Mayweather's camp would have us think that no one out there wants to fight him but that is untrue. Think of the exposure Bruseles got even in losing to Mayweather and how that will translate into better marketability for him. What fighter out there would pass on such an opportunity?

Floyd is probably capable of beating most of the guys he calls out, though I doubt he can beat Kostya Tszyu. With his talents, he can effectively outpoint just about anyone in his class. Why Floyd and his handler's don't actually make these big name fights happen is not too mysterious.

Floyd will continue to be hailed as the best p4p in boxing. But how can you be the best when you do not fight the best? Mayweather may honestly be one of the best Light-Welterweights out there but I can't see how we could legitimately gauge that when Floyd's busy fighting second tier competition. Again, it's about perception over reality.

Every time Floyd beats someone, he gives the same shtick about he wants to fight this one or that one. After Bruseles, Mayweather said he wants to fight Arturo Gatti and Kostya Tszyu. He also said he wants to fight De La Hoya and Mosley, both of which are moving back down to 147. I notice he does not call out Cory Spinks or Winky Wright, and no mention of Vivian Harris.

Why on Earth would Mosley or Oscar fight Floyd? As former "p4p great" Roy Jones Jr. mentioned, they have nothing to gain from it and everything to lose while Floyd would have everything to gain and nothing to lose. I got that sense of de ja vu when he was saying this. It was as if Mayweather had graduated from the Roy Jones Jr. school of self-promotion. The parallels are obvious.

As for the alleged arrangement to fight Gatti in June, even Arturo is unsure it will happen due to Floyd's legal problems that will pit Mayweather's lawyers against the criminal justice system.

It would be great if Boxing had a legitimate ranking system that forced the top fighters to fight each other instead of this freelance system that allows Promoters to decide who their charges fight and its usually someone who does not even deserve the opportunity. It's ridiculous that there is no annual tournament in each weight class to determine who the best fighters are.

Floyd's career is more about perception then reality. A guy who demonstrates his level of talent and enjoys such high esteem in the sport should be making fights with the best in the business and nothing less then top contenders.

While Floyd did put a beat down on Diego Corrales four years ago in Vegas, he's not done anything spectacular since. He won a UD12 over Carlos "Famoso" Hernandez, TKO'd the feather fisted Jesus Chavez in nine, he got a gift decision over Jose Luis Castillo in their first fight but then clearly won the rematch. Then it was onto Victoriano Sosa for another UD 12 Win. He beat Phillip N'dou by TKO 7 and then won a convincing UD 12 over the fading DeMarcus Corley.

If he does fight Arturo Gatti in June, I give Gatti a good chance to win. Gatti hits real hard and can definitely take a punch. What he lacks in speed, he makes up for with tenacity and heart. Against Kostya Tszyu, Mayweather would have his hands full. Tszyu is very powerful and is an excellent tactician in the ring. While I wouldn't discount Floyd's chances
of winning, I do doubt that fight would ever happen, so it's a moot point.

Diego Corrales DREAMS of a rematch with Floyd Mayweather Jr. and I have no doubt Diego would move up to 140 to make it happen. But don't hold your breath, if Mayweather does not fight Gatti next, he'll probably fight another tune-up bout against still another overmatched opponent. Then, when it's over, Floyd will say he wants to fight this one and that one, etc. etc.
It's sort of a circle of bullshit. I call it bluffing your way to greatness.

* * *

Agree or disagree? Comments can be emailed to dshark87@hotmail.com

Article posted on 23.01.2005



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