3 More Rounds

MayDay: Mayweather is Money in the Bank

Photos: Tom Casino / Showtime

Photos: Tom Casino / Showtime

Hate him or love him but after seeing Floyd Mayweather perform last Saturday two things are still very obvious; one, the Las Vegas native is still the No. 1 fighter in the world and two, Mayweather has completed phase one in his attempt to come through on the proposed six-fight deal the fighter has with Showtime, a deal Mayweather himself is saying will end his career in the ring.

15,880 fans of the sport packed the MGM Grand Garden Arena for Mayweather’s second consecutive fight on Cinco De Mayo and watched as Mayweather dispatched of challenger Robert Guerrero in dominant fashion. After a few ‘feeler’ rounds, it was all ‘Money’ as the 36 year old fighter out-boxed and out-smarted his opponent en route to his 44th consecutive win in his undefeated career.

Reactions to the fight have been mixed, with some admiring the artistry of Mayweather’s defensive prowess and others wanting for more offense from the PFP king.

It’s a bit of a double edged sword, what transpired last weekend in the Mecca of boxing. On one hand, early in the fight you saw Mayweather standing in the pocket and pot-shotting with Guerrero as Guerrero tried to mug and maul early as well as trade with Mayweather. Money obliged many a time and landed more effectively and often than his opponent (with a reported 60% power connect rate), yet by the second half of the fight, the luster and excitement of Cinco De Mayo weekend began to be sucked out of the arena. I could hear comments near by of a fan who sought more entertainment out of his $600 dollar seat and at one point even said, “I miss Pacquiao.”

By the 11th and 12th frames, fans in loads began making their exit, from the cheap seats all the way down to the ringside area in what is reminiscent of an NBA game where one team is up 20 points and the outcome is obvious so fans leave.

Baseball great Frank Thomas, the ‘Big Hurt’, walked right by me and into the Las Vegas night by the end of the 10th round.

It really shouldn’t be like that in a sport where things can change with the throwing of a single punch, so it is understandable for hard ticket paying customers to gripe a bit at not seeing the most action out of their buck, especially when it is very probable to see the action they want when one of the fighters is a 7-1 underdog and is fully able to end things whenever compelled to step on the gas a bit. To Mayweather’s credit, he let his hands go a bit, especially the lead right hand; Mayweather just didn’t throw in combination and seemed content to coast through the last half of the fight.

Yet on the other side of the blade, you get to see complete mastery from an athlete who has completely dominated his profession both inside and outside of the ring. Mayweather is the best defensive fighter since Pernell Whitaker and debate will go on in later decades as to if Mayweather is the best defensive specialist to ever lace up gloves. Even more impressive is that Mayweather is still performing at the top level despite whispers that he had lost a step and got hit too much in his previous fight against Miguel Cotto.

001MayweathervsGuerreroIMG_1388Ring intelligence is just one of 793 things that Mayweather does right in the ring, and at this stage of his career, not much is going to change as he plays to his strengths and counters off of his opponents weaknesses. If it is slugging you want to see, watch Brandon Rios. If its showboat antics you want, watch Adrien Broner. If its expert counter-punching you like, watch Juan Manuel Marquez.

If you want to see a master of the ring, watch a Floyd Mayweather fight.

Everyone has their own forte how and in what manner they want to see a boxing fight unfold.

So buyer beware, and buyer, don’t complain if you get what you pay for.

ATMOSHPHERE

There was the typical buzz inside the MGM casino during fight night with fans donning TMT gear and pro Guerrero fans throwing out Mexican themed chants here and there, but it was like a vacuum had descended from above and taken the life out of the building midway through the fight. By the end, the Grand Garden Arena was a quarter empty as fans rushed to find entertainment elsewhere than the boxing match they were just at.

This was a stark contrast to the night of December 8 in the same very building when Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez linked up for their fourth bout. From the moment Marquez walked out into the crowd, it was immediately a ‘soccer game atmosphere’ with the pro-Marquez crowd so loud it was at times difficult to hear Hall of Famer Michael Buffer as well as the bell ring to start and end rounds.

There were multiple times when the crowd stood to appreciate the exchanges and when Marquez landed that counter right hand that was expertly called in advance by HBO’s Jim Lampley (one of the best calls ever in the sport, if you are asking me), boy, that place exploded! Tecate’ was thrown in the air and rained down shower-status as Marquez fans were shocked, excited, amazed and all kinds of other adjectives once JMM finally scored his redemption over the Pac Man.

The crowd at the MGM Grand on May 4 was not privy to the same excitement that took place six months earlier in December.

POST-FIGHT

After an unusually long wait for FMJ to come out to speak, in which Golden Boy Promotions head Richard Schaefer did a roll call of the nights fighters and even let Floyd Sr. ramble on for what seemed like forever, and a near fight almost broke out between Danny Garcia and Karim Mayfield, Mayweather emerged in a purple jumpsuit and gold studded ball cap to throw out the usual thank God and thank you networks/promoters spiel and spoke on reuniting with Floyd Sr. during training camp and that Sr. and Roger played well without “stepping on each others toes”. I spent a little time talking to a photographer friend about this subject just prior to the fight who saw time in the camps of both fighters while in Las Vegas and we agreed that due to Roger’s sugar diabetes battle, it would probably mean Sr. has the reins from here on out. We also brought up the fact that a fighter of Mayweather’s caliber hardly needs a trainer at all, anyways.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. v Robert GuerreroA bunch of softball Q’s were thrown at Mayweather during the press conference but Canelo Alvarez was brought up, to where Mayweather defiantly stated that he has never ducked any fighter but that he’s closer to 40 than he is 21. He talked about his right hand being tired from punching Robert Guerrero’s face flush anytime he wished to and that he plans on fighting in September, which would be the first time in over a decade in which he has fought within four months between bouts.

A writer friend of mine brought up the notion that tickets could be had for as much as half their cost for the fight and that the fight would tank when the PPV numbers came in, so how does Mayweather think that Showtime is going to be able to pay up what is supposedly the richest sports contract in history.

I pointed out to him that it is not any concern on Mayweather’s end where Showtime gets the money for his guarantee’s and threw out the famous saying, ‘f*ck you, pay me’. Mayweather cares not for the financial woes, if that is what to come and if Showtime ends up shelling out more than they get back, nor should he.

There was a noticeable lack of promotion in the lead up to this bout, which may continue throughout his six fight contract with the network. People can point blaming fingers at the No. 1 fighter in the world, but the reality is this: Floyd Mayweather is paid to fight.

And on Saturday night, hate him or love him, Mayweather brought the goods…

One Comment

  1. ed

    May 8, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    well wait till u see him in his next fight if he still cherry pick less skillfull opponents. Fans are already fed up with his boring style. He and his media cahoots put up a lot of hype on his fight to make it look competitive. Fans are now smarter, and they know when being rip off by a loudmouth ducker.

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