By Rudy Mondragon
It’s been almost 24 hours since the ending of the highly anticipated Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight. As a boxing expert, critic, and fan, I felt it was necessary to engage in conversations with fellow boxing heads. I felt the need to reflect and think about what happened last night.
Many casual fans and boxing heads alike were left disappointed. Many reduced Mayweather’s performance as merely “running” and “hugging.” Minimizing Floyd’s performance to simply “running” and “hugging” was a convenient rationalization for boxing fans who ignored the fact that Mayweather actually out threw (435 to 429) and out landed (148-81) a more than game Manny Pacquiao. Clinching (or as many put it, “hugging”) is a tool used by many boxers and ring generalship (or as many put it, “running”) is something that judges actually use when judging a fight.
Last night’s fight was not for the fans who privilege a brawling style of fighting. Floyd Mayweather is a master technician who does not take risks and does enough to win by points. His style is one of “swim without getting wet.” That is exactly what he did last night. For fans who expected or hoped to see a toe-to-toe Mayweather is the same thing as watching Furious 7 and hoping or expecting to see a movie about cats.
Manny Pacquiao deserves credit for showing up and trying to win a fight against a boxer whose style does not suit him. He was outsmarted last night. Pacquiao did learn from his KO defeat to Marquez as he did not lunge forward and make himself vulnerable to the traps Mayweather was setting in the corners. Pacquiao made contact early on and backed Floyd up, but he never quite hurt Floyd. I give Manny credit for those things.
Yet, Manny was conservative throughout the fight. They both were as I saw they had a mutual respect for each other. At times it was too much respect that Floyd gave Pacquiao because if he had taken some more risks, I believe he could have knocked Manny down and eventually stopped him. But again, Floyd did enough to win the fight on the cards. He saw no point in taking risks.
I had the fight even half way through. Past the 6th round, Floyd had figured Manny out and out pointed him and made him miss. From that point on, I saw a Floyd Mayweather that was fighting a chess match style fight and Manny playing checkers as he made no adjustments and simply came forward. Where were the angles, footwork, power punches, and pain that Manny is so well known for? It wasn’t that Manny had a bad night, it was more that Floyd made Manny look like an average fighter, no different than the rest of the opponents down the Mayweather line. Not even Juan M Marquez could do that against Manny.
Styles make fights. For those who want a brawling death match, tune in next week for Canelo vs Kirkland. If you tuned in last night thinking that Floyd would go toe-to-toe, then you have not been paying attention. Floyd’s style is one of counter punching and landing accurate shots. Manny’s style is going forward, yet if you noticed, Manny was not moving forward foolishly against Floyd. Part of this was Floyd controlling the distance and another part was Manny’s respect for Floyd’s right hand. I’m not saying Floyd was throwing bombs last night, far from it. I am saying that Floyd’s right hand was accurate and strong enough to keep Manny at arms length.
Both fighters had 12 rounds to make adjustments throughout the fight. Like I said before, the difference between these two is that Manny makes adjustments BETWEEN fights, Floyd makes adjustments DURING fights. Pacquiao fought the same for 12 rounds where as Floyd set traps, used his check left hook, threw straight rights, and threw a few upper cuts.
So this is where I make my case for why Floyd truly is THE BEST EVER. I’m not saying he is the number 1 pound for pound of all time. I’m not saying he is in the top 10 best of all time nor the top 20 of all time.
Floyd knows the industry of boxing. It is corrupt and grimy. Floyd has worked to create his own identity, separating himself from the marketing label that was made for him when he was with Top Rank. From Pretty Boy (emphasis on boy, this dude is a man) to Money Mayweather, Floyd has recreated himself on his terms. Being his own boss and working to call the shots, Floyd has taken control of his career in an industry that will use you until you are of no use to those that control the industry.
For Floyd to envision that one day he would make 9 figures and actually do it is worth respecting. In a sport where there is no pension or retirement plan or health insurance, Floyd has navigated the business to the point where he is looking out for his best interest and health. Again, on his terms, not Top Rank or Golden Boy terms.
His style is also resistant to the demand of boxing fans and promoters who want you to kill or be killed when you are in the ring. Floyd executes a political boxing style of resistance and does not succumb to the pressures of performing in a fan pleasing style. This is not to say that Floyd doesn’t care about his fans. Floyd is one of the few who will spend extra time signing autographs and thanking his fans after his fights. It is more of Floyd not giving in to sacrificing his body and brains simply to please the powers that be who want to see a Black man lose violently in the ring.
In boxing, a good versus evil moral context is created. In this contest (and many others), Floyd has assumed the role of villain to entertain fans and he has done it well. Fans have grown to hate Floyd to the point where they are willing to cough up a C Note to hopefully see Floyd fall. In this fight, Manny was the ever contradictory Christian Saint while Floyd was nothing but a flamboyant, arrogant, capitalistic, money hungry devil. Both boxers have their history of faults, but in this contest, the context was set again pinning Floyd as the misfit who needed to be controlled and disciplined, and Manny was the man who would humble and control Floyd. It didn’t happen as Floyd came out victorious and again denied people of the pleasures of seeing Floyd fail.
Floyd Mayweather is The Best Ever because he has done things on his terms and has used the sport of boxing for his gain versus letting the sport of boxing use him as a tool. Floyd and Manny have changed the game forever in the economical sense. A new bar has been set by these two. Who will be the next boxer to earn a 9 figure payday? What will that boxer(s) career be like leading up to that pay day? This is why Floyd is ‘Money Mayweather’ and he does not deny that. Financially, he has cashed in like no other boxer in history. Who else can say that? Economically, Floyd “Money” Mayweather is The Best Ever. In the political sense, not visible to the untrained eye, he is a nonconformist who refuses to be controlled and disciplined in an industry that aims to control fighters of color.
Apologies for the succeeding philosophical jargon, but this piece brought to mind some profound things. Though I hate to admit, I have definitely gained a greater appreciation for TMT. To me, boxing taps an instinct in the human nature that feeds our “need” to see more violence/more blood. Having said that, (from a personal point of view) the very fact that Floyd intentionally utilizes the skills given to him, the platform afforded him and the resources he accesses to resist the Boxing powers that be/the neat “boxer” category, is very profound to me. This means each of his fights becomes a tally against the boxing world’s norms – a world that has taken decades to establish and like most profit-generating industries, benefits (economically) a very select few. Kind of like “using the master’s tools to destroy the house his slaves were exploited to build” – don’t remember where I read that quote and maybe I’m reaching here…but that does make the Ali comparison more sensible. I don’t recall another boxer (in my limited knowledge) who actively resisted (though in a different way) the systemic structures that sought to enforce his conformity. Not sure if Mayweather has ever alluded to this as part of his intentions, but his public notoriety garners this comparison regardless.
Now, in purely boxing technical terms, I was disappointed to see my guy, Pacman, look flustered trying to catch Money May. I’m not gonna take into any more detail than that (the memory is too similar to the feeling of having lost at Superbowl 49 – oh, the feels!) but I will say that Money May looked (though I had healthy doses of hater-ade that night) phenomenal that evening. My dude Pacman had a few good looks but was ultimately, not his “old self” enough to overwhelm Money May for greater effect.
I still love the Pacman. I can relate to a life of coming from a small island nation and having to figure the world out for yourself by connecting with a few good people, keeping your head on straight, knowing what you’re good at, and a pocketful of faith that things will work themselves out. Pacman has already solidified his legacy as one of the sport’s greatest and I knew that coming into the fight. What I didn’t expect was to have this greater appreciation for his opponent who, whether he thinks of himself as such, offers an intriguing study of resistance in the bright and shadowed world of Boxing.
Peace be da journey,
First off, great article! I agree with just about everything you say here. But I have a different view of some of the things you sayt. But let me preface this post by saying this, I’m a huge boxing fan. I’m also a huge Pac fan. BUT, I was a boxing fan first. I’m not one of those so-called “Pactards” who just started watching boxing because of him. I’ve been watching since the days of Roy Jones, De La Hoya, Gatti, etc. So everything I say is NOT because I’m a fan of Pac Man. It’s also very well documented that I do not care for Floyd. Again, this has nothing to do with him and Pac. My displeasure with Floyd dates back to before him and Manny were even considering fighting. I wanted to put that out there so that people don’t shut me down by thinking I’m biased. I try to look at everything objectively before I formulate an opinion.
With all that being said, with me being a HUGE boxing fan and a HUGE Pacman fan, I was not excited about this fight at all. From the day it was signed, to the day of their first press conference, to the Friday night weigh in, I just wasn’t that excited. Everyone I knew was asking if I was having a party or they were planning their own. I didn’t know what I was doing for this fight until the day before, which is very unusual for me. I couldn’t understand why? Was I too busy? I’m I not a fan of the fight game anymore? Then the fight ended, my $100 down the drain, and I felt like I got robbed. For the first time in my life, I said to myself, “Damn, Floyd got me!” There’s a reason I wasn’t excited for this fight, because this is exactly what I expected. It was like I went to a movie in which I already knew the outcome to.
Before the fight, I told everyone who asked what I thought these exact words, “If Manny can catch and hurt Floyd within the first 2-3 rounds, then he has a real shot at winning. If he doesn’t hurt him in the first rounds, Floyd will coast to an easy victory.” Needless to say, I was pretty spot on. Although I can’t stand Floyd’s style of fighting, he won fair and square. I agree 100% with Rudy’s analysis of the fight, so no need to repeat those things. I take nothing away from Floyd IN THE RING that night. However, i will say this….he waited for the PERFECT time to fight Manny.
If anyone says that Manny is the same fighter as he was 5 years ago when this fight was first trying to be made, you’re kidding and lying to yourself. And I’m not talking about his shoulder, even though that was a factor. I’m talking about the mentality of Pac Man. First, he became a congressman for his country. He’s an actor, a singer, plays the acoustic guitar while singing “Kumbayah My Lord”, and everything else he does. Basically, he’s not a full-time boxer anymore and hasn’t been for years. Boxing is NOT a part-time gig. You can’t just pick up the gloves 3 months before a fight and expect to be at the top of your game. It works against 2nd or 3rd tier boxers, but not against guys like Juan Manual Marquez or even Floyd, who both eat, drink, and sleep boxing. This lead to JMM knocking Manny the FUCK OUT! lol Why Manny fought him a 4th time is beyond the point here. When you get KO’d like that, it takes time to recover. Not physically, but mentally. It showed in the Floyd fight. The Manny we are used to seeing, with no regard to his body, was not there in the ring May 2nd. Like Rudy said, he was conservative.
Last point about Manny, he lost his edge. Maybe it’s his busy lifestyle, maybe it’s his new religious becoming, or maybe it’s a combination of both. Many will say “It wasn’t Manny, it was Floyd making Manny look bad.” I disagree. Dan Rafael posted Manny’s total punch output over his last 3 fights:
vs Floyd…….429 total punches thrown
But if you look back at 2009-10 when the Floyd fight was trying to be made, here are Manny’s punch counts:
Cotto………..780(Cotto down twice in fight and it was stopped with 2mins left in 12)
In retrospect….just as Sugar Ray Leonard waited to fight Hagler, Floyd waited for the PERFECT time to fight Manny. As a pretty casual fan, if I can see all these factors, don’t you think the guy who’s fighting see’s all these things as well?? Let me reiterate, Floyd won fair and square. I can’t say Manny would’ve won, but I can say….had this been 5 years ago, this would’ve been a much different fight. Which brings me to the next subject….
While I totally agree with you on Floyd and how he broke away from his grimy promoter and does things on his own terms, I don’t praise him for it. That doesn’t mean I agree with the corrupt promoters out there who are stealing from these hard working boxers with no education(I hate Arum). In my humble opinion, Floyd just further exploited everything that is wrong with boxing because he does everything on HIS TERMS which again, IMO, allowed him to duck and dodge top contenders at their best. Ducking a guy is nothing new in boxing. It happens all the time. Boxers call out boxers, but they don’t always fight. However, promoters for the most part want those fights because they know they will rake in a big pay day. Everyone likes to see a good fight. What happens behind the scenes as far as $$ is concerned is a whole different subject. So why did Floyd really break away from Top Rank? Was it because he wanted to make more $? Or was it because he wanted to be able to pick and choose who he wanted to fight so that he could remain undefeated?
Floyd has made his career off fighting guys who were “damaged goods.” But first, let’s just take a little trip down memory lane and how the birth of “Money Mayweather” has allowed him to make his way to the top, with the least amount of risk involved.
Before he fought and defeated De La Hoya, Floyd was pretty regular. No flash, no swag, he was just “Pretty Boy Floyd” doing what he’s been doing since the days of olympic boxing. Because of his style, he struggled selling fights on PPV. His lack of engagement in anything that resembled a fight was not crowd pleasing. But in all the ruckus leading up to the fight, he became the bad guy. He seen that. Seen the $ he made in doing that, then boom, “Money Mayweather” is born! So what does he do? Becomes the villain which people pay, not to see him win, but to see him lose. He basically created this character JUST to sell fights and it’s worked.
However, with him now being promoter-less, he doesn’t have anyone forcing him to fight anyone he doesn’t want to. Floyd fought De La Hoya on Cinco De Mayo, 2007. Based on their business partnership since then, I’m led to believe that them fighting was more of a publicity stunt rather than an actual bout. But that’s just my personal opinion and beyond the point here. The fight was for the Super WW belt, which he vacated after to keep the WW belt. So in 2007, Floyd was the unified Welter Weight champion ready to take on anyone who wishes to challenge him right? Not so fast.
From 2006 to about 2010, the welter weight division was stacked! You had Floyd, Cotto, Mosley, Margarito(pre-plaster), Paul Williams, Carlos Quintana, Luis Collazo, just to name a few. After the De La Hoya fight, he had Mosley drooling over getting Floyd in the ring as he had just defeated Collazo for the WBC WW belt. Floyd had a chance to unify the belts and make just as much $$ fighting Mosley next. But who does HE CHOOSE to fight? Ricky Hatton. A guy who had only 1 fight at Welter Weight his entire career leading up to this. Hmmm, that’s odd to go from fighting a guy who is past his prime at 154 to fighting a guy who normally fights at 140. But Hatton had an undefeated record, so I’ll play that angle, be the bad guy, rake in the money with out a real threat at losing and goes on to win. Now what comes next is the best part and even comical to me.
So “Money Mayweather” is on top of his game and on top of the world. He’s the GOAT, the TBE, whatever you want to say. So who’s his next opponent? Mosley? Cotto? Paul Williams? 2008 is going to be great for boxing, that is until Floyd announces his retirement! His reasoning? “I’ve accomplished everything in boxing that I’ve wanted. Time to move on to other business ventures.” Yes, at a time boxing needed him the most, when the welter weight division might’ve been the strongest it’s ever been, he leaves the game. Cotto was on record begging for the fight. Floyd’s response…”You don’t have a big enough following to fight me.” This coming from a guy who 2 fights ago was fighting Baldomir on HBO stuggling to sell PPV’s, telling a Puerto Rican Super star from NY that he needs a bigger following? Okay, whatever you say Floyd. Sounds like excuses to me, but what can you do? Floyd’s retiring, so be it.
Turns out that 2008 was a great year for boxing. Cotto defeated Mosley, but then suffered a devastating and brutal loss to Margarito, which later was found out that Marg’s was using plaster in his wraps. Mosley bounced back by KO’ing Mayorga, a man with a granite chin, then went on to beat Margarito in the fight Marg’s was caught with plaster wraps. Paul Williams defeated Margarito, lost to Quintana, but avenged that loss by coming back and KO. Margarito lost to P Will, but bounced back by beating Cintron and Cotto, then losing to Mosley. Are you seeing the picture I’m trying to paint here? All of these guys were at the top of their game when Floyd “Retired” and began to fight each other. Once all the smoke clears and half these guys were brain dead, guess who’s ready to come back out of retirement?? That’s right, Money Mayweather! But wait Floyd, I thought you accomplished everything in boxing you wanted? So I guess you want to come back out of retirement to prove you’re the best P4P boxer that ever lived by fighting the #1 contender at welter weight? WRONG again!
2 years later when Floyd returns from his retirement, aka vacation. We all are anxiously waiting to hear who his next opponent will be. I already laid out what happened while Floyd was “retired” so I will say that Mosley and Paul Williams were both still standing strong waiting for a shot at the Welter Weight champion. Both American born, African-American boxers. It was perfect, would sell no problem. They were the logical choice, IMO. But, again I’m wrong and Floyd decides to fight Juan Manuel Marquez. For those of you who don’t know, JMM fought majority of his career at featherweight, had 2 fights at lightweight, and ZERO fights at welterweight…a weight that Floyd is making him fight at. They agreed to fight at a catch weight of 144lbs, but Floyd being the “honorable” man that he is, couldn’t make that weight and decided to pay a $600,000 fine instead of losing the 2 lbs. That seemed to be the difference in the fight. Floyd fans will tell you that he looked impressive. I’ll tell you that he looked MUCH bigger, longer and stronger than JMM and that yes he looked good, but I also look good fighting someone smaller than me as well.
I could go on even more but I think I’ve made my arguments. This is why I will never say that Floyd is GOAT or TBE. The greatest fighters of all time are not only measured by wins or losses, but what they do between the ropes when that bell rings. Every boxer suffers losses. It’s not the loss that defines who they are, it’s how they bounce back from that loss. It’s not how many times you’ve been knocked down, it’s how many times you’ve gotten back up. All of the greats LAY IT ON THE LINE and dare opponents to come and take it from them. They don’t hide behind retirements, weight limits, or drug testing. When they don’t get their way, they don’t pick up their ball and go home. Yet that’s exactly what Floyd has done since becoming “Money Mayweather.” And brings me back to my point, Floyd has exposed everything wrong with boxing.
Let me turn this into a football analogy. Imagine if the NFL was like the sport of boxing. Could you imagine Super Bowl XLVII where my Seahawks were facing the Denver Broncos. We wait the entire season, go through 16 regular season games and 3 playoff games to see the 2 best teams face off against eachother. You have the greatest offense of all time against the greatest defense of all time. But once the game gets closer, the Broncos coach says “Nah, those Seahawks are on something. If they don’t take this drug test of mine, I’m not playing them.” Then just sits out with no penalty until next season. Then next season comes around, the Seahawks lose their top LB and CB on defense and a few players get hurt, NOW the Broncos coach says “okay, I’ll play you guys now” and goes on to beat them. How would you feel about that? Would you praise the Denver Broncos for beating a team that you know was not at their best? Or how about in the same scenario, the Seahawks pull out before the last game and say “You know, I think we’ve accomplished so much this season, I don’t want to play in the Super Bowl, so we’ll just stop here thanks!” I know for a fact that wouldn’t be okay with anyone here because that’s not how sports are played. The main goal of any sport is to win the big game, the championship, super bowl, world cup, gold medals, etc. Boxing doesn’t have that. You fight who you want, when you want, choose the gloves, ring size, drug testing, money split, cup size for crying out loud! As much as I love the sport of boxing, I HATE the fact that these guys don’t have to fight the very best at their respective weight classes. It eliminates the very heart of each and every sports which is….BEAT THE BEST TO PROVE YOU ARE THE BEST.
Although Floyd did end up fighting and defeating Cotto, Mosley, and now Manny, he waited for the perfect time in which he had the CLEAR advantage. He robbed us of potentially great fights, fights that you tell your kids and grand kids you witnessed live. And yet we have people who fail to recognize that. Again, I can’t say that any of these fights would’ve had different outcomes, but there are too many questions behind these signature wins for me to give Floyd credit. I think we can all see patterns here of, in the words of Mike Tyson, “A very small and scared man.”
Anyways, I’ll stop here. Just thought I’d ad my 2 cents to the BMB crew!