Michael Montero’s Boxing Notebook
07.07.06 - By Michael Montero: It’s that time again everybody. Whether you agree with me or disagree, love me or hate me, you gotta respect me because I tell it like it is…
Article posted on 07.07.2006
Floyd Mayweather – pound for pound king or HBO farce? I can almost see the hateful emails piling up now – the “Pretty Boys” (Floyd’s loyal fans who think he could probably beat Jesus Christ in a boxing match) are going to let me have it - but oh well, here goes nothing.. I’ve written this before, and now I’ll write it again - Floyd Mayweather Jr is NOT the top Pound for Pound (P4P) fighter in the sport. The best fighters in the world face other top fighters, and the toughest physical challenges, on the current professional scene. Mayweather simply hasn’t come close to doing that in almost four years.
In fact the only P4P players he’s ever faced, Jose Luis Castillo and Diego Corrales, were not on anybody’s P4P list at the time they fought (not to mention they were both extremely drained to make weight and had ongoing distractions outside the ring). Since that time, his career has just been a lot of HBO hype and careful matchmaking…
Nobody can deny that Floyd was the truth at 130 pounds; and although he only had four fights at Lightweight (135 pounds), he clearly established himself as the top dog in that division during his brief campaign. However, he fought only three times at Light Welterweight; his biggest test coming against an over the hill, past his prime, physically drained (at 140 pounds) Arturo Gatti. Of course he passed that test with flying colors, and Gatti’s big HBO name catapulted Mayweather into boxing superstardom - but where would he go from there? To Welterweight, where he’s fought Kostya Tszyu leftovers twice; neither time dominating his opponent the way Tszyu (a first ballot hall of famer) did. Kostya dominated Sharmba Mitchell with four knock downs in their second fight, a three round blowout, and almost knocked Jab Judah into orbit in a two round destruction of the Brooklynite to unify the 140 pound division. While Floyd did what he was supposed to do against Mitchell in a six round stoppage, he actually struggled at times with Judah, even being dropped early on, to win a decision in a tougher-than-expected fight that went the distance. Comparing Mayweather’s accomplishments in the past few years at 140/147 to Tszyu’s (who was universally ranked at #3 P4P when he last fought), does he truly deserve to be billed as the world’s best at the moment?
My latest rankings have Floyd at #3 P4P, behind Winky Wright at #2, and the REAL current P4P fighter in the world, Manny Pacquiao. Before the “Pretty Boys” start their bashing, let me quickly explain. Compare their opposition in recent (relevant) years:
Mayweather - Victoriano Sosa, Phillip N’Dou
Wright - Juan Carlos Candelo, Angel Hernandez
Pacquiao - Serikzhan Yeshmangbetov, Emmanuel Lucero, Marco Antonio Barrera
Mayweather - DeMarcus Corley
Wright - Shane Mosley (twice)
Pacquiao - Juan Manuel Marquez, Fahsan 3K Battery
Mayweather - Henry Bruseles, Arturo Gatti, Sharmba Mitchell
Wright - Felix Trinidad, Sam Soliman
Pacquiao - Erik Morales, Hector Velazquez
Mayweather - Zab Judah
Wright - Jermain Taylor
Pacquiao - Erik Morales, Oscar Larios, (facing Morales yet again on November 18th)
Facts are facts my friends, and these are the facts: in the past four years Mayweather has faced ZERO P4P fighters, while Wright and Pacquiao have each faced three (I must again mention that Wright fought Mosley twice, and that Pacman is having a trilogy with Morales). I don’t care who these guys faced before then because it’s simply irrelevant to today’s current pound for pound list! Now, let’s look at a few more intangibles…
Mayweather has NEVER unified belts, and both of his titles at 140 and 147 were non-linear. Wright was the undisputed, linear, unified (WBC, WBA, IBF) champion at Light Middleweight (154) before moving up to Middleweight this year to face the best of that division (Taylor). The Pacman has unified belts at both Super Bantamweight (122) and Featherweight (126).
You’ve all heard about the Floyd Mayweather-Antonio Margarito thing by now, so I’m not going to beat a dead horse on that one. All I will say is that Floyd publicly stated he was turning down Bob Arum’s original $8M offer to fight Margarito in order to wait out for a possible match with The Golden Boy. He publicly stated that if that fight fell through, he would take Margarito on. Well Fraud – oops, I mean Floyd, the “Golden Fight” fell through, and Arum’s offer still stands, so why did you yet again decline? The latest buzz is that Mayweather is holding out for Winky Wright leftovers – oops, I mean Shane Mosley; but he has a rematch with Fernando Vargas this month. What if he happens to lose, then signs on for a lucrative rubber match with the Ferocious one? I won’t be at all surprised if this scenario becomes reality. Then what? Sadly, boxing fans may have already seen the so-called world’s best (according to Jim Lampley, Dan Rafael, and Max Kellerman) only fight of 2006. Even sadder, this would be the second time in the recent past that HBO’s P4P king has fought only once in an entire year (2004). Would Mayweather really get that much more $$$ to fight Mosley? No. Would that fight be for a title? No. Margarito not only makes dollars for Floyd (a career-high $8M payday), but he also makes sense (unifying the IBF and WBO belts to become the undisputed champ at 147).
Oh yeah, and before you “Pretty Boys” start with your new excuse – “well Winky Wright turned down $4M to face Margarito too!” – let me finish. It is true, Wright turned down a fight with the “Tijuana Tornado” as well, but rumor has it he is seeking a fight with Joe Calzaghe instead. The Welshman is a current top ten P4P fighter (unlike the man Mayweather is waiting on) and the undisputed, unified (IBF, WBO) Super Middleweight Champion. This fight not only makes dollars for Winky; it makes sense (money, legacy AND titles in another weight class). Now, if that possible match up falls through and Wright goes after a soft touch, I’ll begin to call him out as well. For now however he gets the benefit of the doubt because four of his last five fights have been against elite competition. And I really don’t think we ever need to question the possibility of Manny Pacquiao ducking ANYBODY – the guy is a warrior, the very definition of what the pound for pound king is.
I close on this note - numbers may look impressive, but they can often be skewed to fool the ignorant. To the casual fan, Mayweather’s undefeated record and demolishing of Arturo Gatti on the big stage (popular HBO guy) may look really good, but I would hope that the educated fan could read between the lines. Both Winky and Pacman’s records carry three losses (Wright also has one draw, Pacquiao two), but I dare you to find one boxing expert who believes their resumes are not more impressive than Floyd’s. I personally would love to see Floyd Mayweather fight the best 140/147 pounders in the world and become a boxing legend, but I fear that we may be witnessing the new Roy Jones Jr. This is NOT an anti-Mayweather article, as I happen to believe the man is the most gifted boxer in the world today; this is just one writer’s opinion as to why I don’t believe he is the best fighter in the world today.
Comments, questions, hate mail – you know what to do…
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