Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Opinion: The Pacquiao-Mayweather Debacle

“We'd all have to be morons to not let this happen.” - Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer

We've all been fooled. Well, maybe not fooled but maybe we all expected too much. I am talking about the recent Pacquiao-Mayweather Fail where, somehow, the parties involved managed to prematurely ejaculate all over what would have been the richest bout in history.

The welterweight division is stacked with some of the finest talent in the fight game. In fact, so strong is the current division that it has garnered comparisons with 1980’s welterweight division which hosted names such as Hearns, Leonard, Duran and Benitez.

Today those names have been replaced by Pacqiuao, Mosley, Mayweather, Williams, Margarito and Cotto. The major difference is that the 1980’s crew fought each other “on the reg” whilst Pacquiao hasn’t been at the 147 party long enough and Mayweather seems to be allergic to contest (for my opinion on his last bout see my last post).

The return of Money May and the ascension of Pacquiao through the divisions was only supposed to bring awesome things in the form a ‘Superfight’ between two of the world’s premier, and definitely most bankable, stars. In terms of pay-per-view buys, Mayweather’s last three bouts generated 2.44 million (De La Hoya), 920,000 (Hatton) and 1 million (Marquez) whilst Pacquiao’s last three were 1.25 million (De La Hoya), 850,000 (Hatton) and 1.25 (Cotto). Simple economics and logic would then dictate that the top two pound for pound fighters would square off in a matter of ring supremacy.

This has not happened.

Mayweather and his associates speculated that Pacquiao’s increase in power and punch resistance as he came up the classes (a correlation which is usually negative) was due to performance enhancing drugs. This is mildly plausible speculation considering his meteoric rise. However, Pacquiao has NEVER failed any drug tests in his entire career. In fact, less than two weeks ago both fighters both passed the NSAC Drug Test.

Money May then stipulated that Pacquiao would have to be subjected to Olympic style blood and urine testing mandated by the United States Anti Doping Agency right up until the fight. A clause that Pacquiao (strangely) could not accept. The two arguments that evolve are therefore;

1. If Pacquiao is not using performance-enhancing drugs of any kind, then why shouldn’t he take the tests?

Makes sense.

2. But, if the bout were to be held in Las Vegas, then the drug testing would be mandated by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, whose tests Pacquiao has never failed. Who is Mayweather to change how the sport is regulated? He has never demanded this kind of testing from any other fighter so why should Pacquiao now be subjected to it?

Also makes sense.

Pacquaio then gave strange excuses, such as he was afraid of needles (despite having tattoos) and that taking blood from him would sap him of energy. The amount of blood required for this kind of testing is minimal. After outside mediation between the parties, Pac then relented and said that he was willing to take the tests up to 24 days before the fight and directly after the bout concluded. Which is a fair enough resolve. This wasn’t enough for Money May who could only agree to a 14 days before the fight window.

Fight off.

My opinion on this?

I think Olympic style testing should be used in all sports, given we see sport as an exhibition of human ability and skill. Two ideals which should not be subverted. But, the fact still stands that if the bout was to take place in Las Vegas, that they would be subjected to the testing agreed upon by the NSAC. Tests which Pacquiao has never failed and never refused.

Ultimately, both parties are at fault. They straight shit the money bed. The difference is, Mayweather now needs Pacquiao far more than Pacquiao needs Money May. Pacquiao has set his legacy by fighting the top guys in every division he competes in whilst Mayweather cherry picks a lot smaller or shot opponents.

How stupid is Mayweather though really? His tax problems are well documented, however his fragile ego could not bear the thought of him having to face valid opposition and quite possibly *gasp* lose. Despite the fact that he was the bookmaker's favourite going into it.

These odds make perfect sense as offence wins games (Pacquiao) yet defence wins championships (Mayweather). And what would have been the biggest (in terms of C.R.E.A.M) fight in boxing history clearly is a championship.


Saturday, January 2, 2010

Money May, but Money never will.

Note: This was originally written on the 24th of September however, due to "logistical" problems, I have only just cleaned it up for mass consumption. Thus, some of these facts are over 3 months old. I know. Shame.

Floyd Mayweather. Ugh. No name in the sport of boxing brings such polarity. Long discussed as one of, if not the, premier fighter in the sport, Money May polarizes fight fans like no other boxer in the world today.

The best defensive fighter since a prime Pernell Whitaker, Mayweather is blessed with unnatural hand speed and reflexes. Able to turn his opponents aggression against them, Money May has collected titles from 130-154 and, up until his retirement in ’07, was considered the top pound-for-pound fighter in the game.

Mayweather’s accomplishments speak largely for themself. A ’96 Olympic medalist (bronze in the 57kg class), Mayweather has won six titles in five divisions as well as being named Ring Magazine’s Fighter of the Year in both 1998 and 2007. He has beaten all types. Slick boxers like Genaro Hernandez, come-forward brawlers like Chavez, Castillo and Hatton as well as rangy punchers like Corrales.


Even with all these accomplishments at hand there is still something missing from Mayweather’s resume and his detractors will tell you (of which I am one) that, although he is supremely talented , he has never faced tough opposition at 147. His latest win over Juan Manuel Marquez only provides more fodder for this argument.

Catchweight bouts are now a reality in boxing more than ever. And why not? For it allows fighters more divisional freedom and would help to negate natural weight advantages. For the bout against Lightweight king Marquez, the weight limit was set at 144. This would mean that Marquez would be jummping up 9 pounds (from 135 when the reality is that Marquez is a 130 pounder) whilst Mayweather would only have to drop three. Money May was completely disrespectful in not even trying to make the weight limit after weighing in at 146. As if the deck wasn’t already stacked against Marquez, Floyd showed the world that he is almost unwilling to take on a competitive opponent at 147. Don’t believe me? Then why has he absolutely refused to fight Cotto, Margarito or Mosley? Even after Mosley publicly challenged him Mayweather didn’t want it. Mosley is the recognized CHAMPION of your division. Isn’t that the aim of any sport? Become the champion?? So when the champ calls you out and you don’t want it then what does it say about you really?! Yes. Yes. Sugar Shane probably could have handled it a little more respectfully. However the point is still completely valid.

In fact, name ONE decent welterweight Mayweather has fought?

Hatton? Blown up (and limited with no chin) 140 pounder.
De La Hoya? Fight was at 154. Money May wins a split decision over someone past his prime who had been dominated more convincingly by Sugar Shane.
Sharmba Mitchell? Another 140 pounder with no real notable wins

Money May’s only real 147 pound wins were over Zab Judah and Carlos Baldomir, neither of which are particularly impressive…well, not impressive enough to call yourself the top welterweight on their basis. Judah even knocked him down (although unofficially). Yes he did. Look. At 50 seconds in. The decision here was also controversial as, after a Judah low blow, Roger Mayweather (Floyd’s uncle) stepped in the ring and choked Judah unconscious. 3 minutes in. An act which cost him 200K and effectively barred him from working a corner again.

The issue here is, that although Mayweather has had some fantastic performances from Super Feather to Light Welter, he has only been impressive against naturally smaller opponents at 147. He beat up Corrales at 130, and Castillo (although most felt ‘El Terrible’ won their second stoush) at 135 and then went on to top do what Pacquiao did to De La Hoya to Arturo Gatti. If he is not gonna fight the top tier at the weight then why even bother campaigning at it? The disappointing thing is that we know the answer to this….

Mosley has continually (and publicly) been calling him out for years. Yes. Money May did also call out Sugar Shane. But, when faced with the reality of facing him, Mayweather is surprisingly quiet. Not only Mosley, but Mayweather has turned down offers to fight most, if not all, of the 147 pound class. Even an $8 million offer to fight Margarito in 2006 (which was pre-Cotto).

Regardless of his claims to the contrary, his comeback is clearly about money. The whole of Mayweather-Marquez 24/7 was Money “making it rain” and claiming that everything was “straight paid for” despite evidence to the contrary.

Who are you fooling really?

Don’t get me wrong, his fight against Marquez was a superb display and ranks as compubox’s most onesided beatdown with Floyd connecting 59% of his punches compared to Marquez 12%. Unbelievable.

But hearing him play the race card and showing his opponent and the boxing fraternity disrespect by not even trying to make weight is deplorable. Why should someone be able to brag after stacking the deck so considerably in their favour?

Is this blog biased? You’re damned right it is!! But only because I believe in boxing as a sport. You fight to be the champion and, although it is a product of the professional era, rising to the top should be paramount. I’m just sick of seeing Mayweather hand pick inoffensive opponents then act like he is the best fighter in the game.

Others fighters may lose, but at least they fight everyone.