I’ll Take My Roses Now


By Luke Givens

“They say, they never really miss you till you dead or you gone…”
-Jay Z

This past weekend the world witnessed one of the greatest fighters of all time put on a masterful display of technical boxing against one of this generation’s best fighters. And yet, what we’ve been hearing from most so called boxing fans and many in the mainstream media is how disappointed they were in the fight. How they expected more. How it didn’t live up to the hype. How Floyd was too cautious, Manny too timid, and how so called real champions…. (fill in your descriptions here).

I’m not going to make the case for Floyd Mayweather’s bid as the G.O.A.T (Greatest of All Time) or T.B.E (The Best Ever). The truth of the matter is no one reading this can objectively make that evaluation. Sure I have my opinion but that opinion is based on subjective evidence. That evidence being what I’ve seen, witnessed, heard and read. It’s my experience. I didn’t watch Sugar Ray Robinson, Jack Johnson, Rocky Marciano, Willie Pep, Joe Louis, Henry Armstrong, or Muhammad Ali fight in their prime. I’ve heard the stories, listened to the experts, and seen some of the old reels but there is no way me or anyone else can objectively evaluate and make that determination on which of these is the so-called GREATEST OF ALL TIME. They didn’t fight each other. They were in different weight classes. They trained differently. They fought with different rules and in different eras. Those who came later were influenced by those who came before.

I grew up watching Larry Holmes, Evander Holyfield, Roy Jones Jr., Pernell Whitaker, Lennox Lewis, Tito Trinidad, George Foreman (the 2nd go around), and Mike Tyson. My experience was shaped by sitting on my parent’s livingroom floor watching HBO’s Boxing After Dark, Pay-Per-Views and old VHS tapes my uncles and parent’s friends recorded and passed around. You see, my evaluation is shaped by that experience. So you can’t tell me that Roy Jones Jr. in his prime wasn’t the most exciting boxer ever, because I saw it with my own eyes. I watched him toy with opponents, avoid shots, then knockout guys with some crazy off-angle counter from out of nowhere. You can’t convince me of George Foreman’s grit because I watched a 45 year old Foreman come from behind on the cards to KO the 26 year old champion Michael Moorer. We can’t argue Tyson’s punching power or the fear he instilled in opponents because I watched him win fights in the staredown. (Sidenote: Mike was the only person who could make grown men spend $50 for what might only end up being 10 seconds of pleasure. Hell most prostitutes can’t do that. You paid for a vicious knockout and whether it took 10 seconds or 10 rounds, you left satisfied. Sidenote over) I can’t be convinced of Tito’s controlled aggression or Sweet Pea’s elusive defense. That’s not to make a case for any of these guys as the Greatest, it’s simply to provide a context for how I evaluate guys like Floyd Mayweather, Bernard Hopkins, Manny Pacquiao, Oscar de la Hoya, Juan Manuel Marquez, or Wladimir Klitschko. I’ve seen the tapes of Ali, Frazier, (young) Foreman, Louis, Johnson, Leonard, Duran, and Hagler but I didn’t watch them live. Most importantly, I couldn’t watch them without the knowledge of the influence they would have on future boxers.

If you never knew about the existence of a cellular phone and I gave you the iPhone 6, it would blow your mind. But if I then handed you the LG flip phone I used to carry in college, you’d be decidedly less impressed. That doesn’t take anything away from the flip phone (or the boxers I’m using for this comparison), it’s to communicate that one couldn’t exist without the other. Mayweather’s greatness was built on the foundation of men like Ali, Leonard, Hearns, and Whitaker. Now would we honestly argue that the LG flip phone is a greater cellular device than the iPhone 6? Compared to the Zack Morris Motorola…YES! But compared to the iPhone 6? However, the iphone can’t exist without that Motorola. Mayweather can’t exist without Ali…Ali without Robinson…Robinson without Louis…and Louis without Johnson. Boxing, like technology, and like all things grows and evolves. So when we look at Mayweather, we’re looking at the best of what that evolution has produced.

The old-school fighters trained differently. They fought more often. They competed for fewer belts. All of this is true but their greatness wasn’t recognized in their time, it came with people’s ability to understand how they built on the foundation of those who came before. This is why I make the case for recognizing Floyd’s accomplishments now. We forget how despised a fighter Ali was in his time. Both Black and White America hated the young mouthy Cassius Clay. It was only after a few years of inactivity (due to his stance against the war) that Black America gained a slight appreciation for him as a fighter. Let’s not even get started on Jack Johnson’s image (or his private life). While we’re talking about private lives, take a few moments to Google Sugar Ray Robinson. That’s who most boxing experts label T.B.E. right? The point of making these comparisons isn’t to slander any of these fighters or their legacy; nor is it to excuse the sometimes questionable actions of Floyd Mayweather. The point of the comparisons are to provide a context for how these individuals were viewed in their time and how time has allowed society to shift and in many cases change that perception. Sure, those fighters may have labeled themselves the best or the greatest but did the expert say so?

We don’t appreciate Floyd because it’s so easy for us to take him for granted. The casual boxing fan will never really like Floyd because he doesn’t charge into the ring like an uncaged animal and knock people’s heads off. That person is never going to appreciate the gifts a guy like Mayweather has. They said Johnson ducked his greatest opponents, Robinson hugged too much, and Ali ran. But after a few years of inactivity those voices got softer and the voices of appreciation got louder. So maybe in five or ten years, when it’s been awhile since his last fight, and he’s not in the media as much, and the guys he’s fought wrap up their careers and begin their induction into the Hall of Fame, maybe we’ll start to appreciate Floyd. Right now we don’t miss him. He’s too fresh. He’s too cocky. He’s too brash.

But we like brash. We like cocky. We just like it in hindsight.

So I would ask folks to go back and look at the old clips of Louis, Ali, Robinson, Pep, Holmes, Frazier, Duran, and the many others who’ve influenced today’s boxers. I’d ask them to look at their opponents. I’d ask them to look at their records. I’d ask them to look at how they trained. I’d ask them to look at how they were judged…both inside and outside the ring. Some people are brawlers, some knockout artist, some technicians, and some even icons. But we’re not talking about the greatest fighter in history, or knockout artist, or even the fighter with the greatest social, cultural, or political impact. We’re talking about the greatest boxer in history. Now I’ll ask that you to look at Floyd Mayweather, judge him with that context and through that perspective, then make your determination.

“If you can’t respect that, your whole perspective is wack. Maybe you’ll love me when I fade to black.”
-Jay Z

Canelo vs. Mayweather: BloodMoneyBoxing Expert Picks

To the Blood Money Boxing family, thank you for your ongoing support of our blog and following us. The big weekend is here! Whether you see this as a mega fight or mega card, this weekend is no doubt an indication to all the boxing critics who say boxing is dead. From revolutionizing the way fights are promoted to fans camping out of the MGM Grand to see today’s weight in, boxing is more alive than ever.

Rudy Mondragon Prediction

A great fight on an even better fight card, Floyd Mayweather (44-0, 26 KOs) will face Saul Alvarez (42-0-1, 30 KOs) on September 14, 2013 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. This is a huge stage that Alvarez is not used to being in. 40,000 fans in Texas is much different than 16,000 plus fans in Las Vegas. Although it is a smaller number, the amount of pressure and the quality of the opponent that Saul will face is all new. Mayweathers resume speaks for itself, he has been here before, he knows the culture of preparation that it takes to win. Canelo’s biggest test was Austin Trout and that was his last fight. Canelo has had zero time to process and PRACTICE what he learned against Trout. To apply what he learned from his biggest challenge to date against an even bigger challenge in Mayweather was not smart on the part of Canelo’s team to take this fight. In my opinion, Canelo needed one extra fight to develop as a fighter and use what he learned to apply it in tomorrow’s fight. Floyed on the other hand, had a good tune up fight against Guerrero and will be fresh and ready to fight. Here are the keys to victory for both fighters:

Keys to victor for Canelo:

  1. Start early and start aggressive. It is known that Floyd is a professor of the game and needs the first 2 rounds to study his opponents. Canelo needs to recognize that this window of opportunity is small and will need to start aggressive to set the tone of the fight in his favor. Mosley started well, but took his foot off the gas and Mayweather made him pay.
  2. Attack the body. Floyd moves his head great, but his midsection stays in place. Canelo needs to attack the body in order to break down Floyd and set up dangerous headshots.
  3. Ignore everything Oscar De La Hoya told you. I don’t believe Oscar is the best teacher and does not recognize development of a young fighter’s mind. Canelo needs to have a mindset that he is the challenger, that he is in the ring against the best boxer around today, that he needs to win ever round of this fight, that he needs to stay relaxed, that he needs to follow the game plan and not get frustrated. He basically needs to throw away that “blueprint” that Oscar shared with him

Keys to victor for Mayweather:

  1. Be Floyd Mayweather. Study Canelo in the first two rounds and adapt to what Canelo brings to the ring. Exploit the weaknesses identified and capitalize on the mistakes that young Canelo will eventually make.
  2. DEFENSE and MOVEMENT: Canelo will try to go to the body, so Mayweather will need to use the ring and move. Movement and his signature defense will need to be in beautiful harmony because that will create his offense.
  3. Use the ropes to draw Canelo in and counter him, but don’t stay there too long. This will help in the later rounds as it will set up Canelo for a trap. If Mayweather does this right, he can set Canelo up to walk into a hard left, similar to how Hatton was put away.

In the end, I strongly believe that the 2 pounds that Canelo had to drop will for this fight will make a huge difference. Yes the extra weight that Canelo has will help his power punches, but I don’t see him connecting many of them. Having little success will morally fatigue Canelo, which will be new to Canelo. The extra weight that he had to shed will also fatigue him physically and he will begin to fade by the 8th round (we saw this in his fight against Mosley and Trout). As long as Mayweather does not hurt his right hand, I see Mayweather finishing off Canelo in the 10th or 11th round via TKO. Remember how the veteran, Juan M Marquez beat up the young Juan Diaz? Yeah, I can see that happening here tonight. Master beats up on the student.

Floyd Mayweather will win via 10th or 11th round stoppage.

Jarrett Bato Prediction

“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.” – Arthur Ashe

I’ve been watching Showtime’s All Access highlighting the journey from training to the fight night between Canelo and Floyd, and there’s no doubt that all the drama attempting to dissect a fight yet to happen is present in this documentary, executive produced by “Money” himself.

Canelo is portrayed as a young, hungry, and mentally matured fighter benefiting from the gradual but methodical rise through the ranks as he grew to the professional fighter we see today. Still surrounded by the same team, his preparation in training is convincing, even boring. Edison Reynoso might be inexperienced in the large sense of the boxing world, but he certainly has done his homework, forcing Canelo to train in conditions matching and exceeding Mayweather’s previous opponents. Strength and conditioning is there, and Canelo looks fantastic after the 3rd episode of All Access running up to the fight on Sept. 14th.

Mayweather, however, seems effortless in portraying how he basically has nothing new to share to fans in All Access. His preparation, according to Arthur Ashe, must be equivalent to that unseen mass of iceberg underneath the ocean, showing only the tip of that iceberg in his cars, ever-expanding “Money” family, and massive self-confidence. To me, it seems that Floyd is now underemphasizing the preparation aspect of his game. Canelo was half-right in saying “he talks that much because he knows the fight will be hard”. What he’s probably missing is that Floyd has probably doubled-down on his preparation to fight twice a year, repair fully from injury, and the mental games that he wants to play with his opponent.

Like Showtime says, Floyd’s home is MGM Grand, Canelo is fighting in his house, catchweight or not. Floyd’s tunnel vision/focus on his opponent has been refined and sharpened for over 20 years. Canelo would be naive to think that this Vegas superfight circus is something Floyd does for himself/the public, but it’s actually all for his opponent, such that all aspects of the game are in Money’s favor even before the bell rings. It’s disconcerting that Canelo’s attention is towards what Floyd is saying despite his camp being “distraction-less”. Canelo might show Floyd something new, but to the Mayweather team, it still won’t obscure the vision of truth to winning the night.

I predict a 12 round unanimous decision for Mayweather with some dramatic 4th and 12th rounds

Mateo Banegas Prediction

Finally, the bout boxing fans have been waiting to see: the pound-for-pound kingvs. the young champion. Alvarez showed maturity and development in his last bout against Trout, demonstrating improved quickness, punching combos and abilityto limit his opponents’ movement in the ring. Size and power favor Canelo, giving him great offense potential. If Canelo can use his quickness and land combinations to the body, this may slow down Mayweather, giving Canelo a chance in later rounds to land that knockdown punch that we all know his is capable of doing. But Mayweather is unlike any other. The veteran’s incredible ring knowledge, defense and technical skills are levels above any other fighter in the division (and probably the sport). Plus, Floyd’s championship bout experience is a huge advantage, since he has been able to adjust his game plan against many different opponents, time and time again, so that he gets the win. In the end, while Canelo may cause Mayweather some trouble during the middle rounds, Mayweather will remain the undisputed p4p champ, outpointing the young Alvarez.

Mayweather will remain the undisputed p4p champ, outpointing the young Alvarez.

Luke Givens Prediction

Don’t get your hopes up.  Anyone expecting heavy fireworks in this bout is in for a huge disappointment.  What you will see is an incredibly technical, incredibly one-sided victory for Mayweather.  Canelo is young, strong, and smart but against a crafty, quick, veteran like Mayweather he has little to no chance.  He moves well and is incredibly patient for a fighter his age but I haven’t seen the kind of one-punch power in any of his previous fights to give me the impression he’ll be able to stop Mayweather cold.  Which means that (just as in all his other fights), he’ll need to rely on good footwork and solid body shots to soften Mayweather up in an effort to finish him in the mid-late rounds.  Yeah…good luck with that.

Keys to Victory Alvarez:

  • Start Strong- Mayweather is a notoriously slow starter.  Take this opportunity to win rounds early.
  • Headhunt- He won’t KO him but he’ll look busy and score points for aggression.
  • Cut Off the Ring –  As great as Mayweather is fighting in the pocket, he’s even better in the open ring.  By forcing him into the corners you limit his angles and shoulder movement while scoring points for ring generalship.
  • Protect yourself at all time- Victor Ortiz! No seriously, Floyd’s sneaky just look at the Ricky Hatton fight. If you drop your guard for a second…

Keys to Victory Mayweather:

  • Weather the Storm- Everyone knows Mayweather starts slow then makes adjustments in the 2nd and 3rd rounds. So does Canelo.
  • Robin Hood Offense- Limit the exchanges to small quick flurries then retreat. By forcing Alvarez to give chase he increases his chances of catching him with clean shots coming in.
  • Avoid the Corners- The open ring is where Mayweather is at his best.  He’s incredible at using the open space to force his opponents to miss.

Jose Hernandez Prediction

Mayweather vs. Canelo has been hyped as a bonafide “mega fight”, “super-mega fight”?  Hmmm, let’s see if it passes the “mega fight” classification litmus test.  On paper this fight is promising:

Record: The 23yr old Canelo has a very impressive 42-0 record; Mayweather is of course 44-0

Record indication: Super Mega fight

Promotion: Golden Boy in partnership with TMT and their Daddies up in CBS have delivered a very palatable product.  If the fighters fought in the universe that is All Access, Canelo would win a close fight against Money.  (Shane and Oscar are well convinced of this false reality)

Promotional Indication: Super Mega Fight x 100 (as expected)

Drama: A lot has been made about the 152 lb. catch weight and Canelo’s apparent weight advantage(disadvantage).  Will he be drained, will he hydrate to 170?  How will Money fare with fighting someone so big?

Drama indication: DUD, Canelo will hydrate to whatever he wants on fight night, and Money will handle his “massive” opponent just fine.  It is a non-issue, remember Castillo?  I believe Castillo had a healthy weight advantage come fight night, that didn’t really help Castillo.  Boxing is not about brute force it’s an art, Mayweather is the Michelangelo of boxing.

Quality of opponent behind their record:  This one can be tricky, both fighters share notable votaries over some big names (Mosley, Baldomir, Oscar*) to name a few.  With one big difference, Money took on these opponents when these fighters were in their PRIME.  To compare fighters across the same opponents is just not possible in boxing; it’s a complete false equivalence (even when they fight them at their respective primes).  To define quality of opponent you must rely on the context and significance to the fighter’s careers as well as the respective place in boxing each fighter has coming into the fight.  Money had Corrales, both 23 at the time, hungry and ready to take on center stage.  Canelo had…Josesito Lopez?…Trout?  If I give him Trout, I actually didn’t have Canelo winning that fight, it was a Draw at best and appropriate for the Texas judging committee.  Josesito Lopez, kid had heart, but had no business being in that ring.  Shoot, I guess this is it, his defining moment!

Quality of opponent indication: DUD.  You know how dads tend to live their youth (as soccer players, baseball players, et.) vicariously through their kids, even far beyond their kid abilities and their kids actual interest in said sport?  This is what Oscar is doing with Canelo; Canelo loves boxing, but he has not reached his prime yet.  Dare I say, he doesn’t deserve to fight Money, that’s right I said it.  He needs a Corrales and then some to be put side to side to someone like Money.

Money takes care of things in 11.  Corner waves white towel