Floyd Mayweather Jr, A Sore Winner

By Michael Katz


Floyd Mayweather Jr, A Sore Winner

They may not have been crocodile tears that Floyd Mayweather Jr. was shedding after he left no doubt as to his superiority over the likes of Carlos Baldomir. I believe they were genuine - not a negotiating ploy for Oscar de la Hoya, not a calculated cry for respect from Larry Merchant. No, these were not crocodile tears. Just a crock.

He was hurting. Not just the hand - I'm not sure he knows his left from his right, he said it was his right hand that was injured around the sixth round, but he wasn't throwing left hands after about the fourth except for some flickering jabs - but his pride. People got up and left the Mandalay Bay Arena rather than watch the stagnant, one-sided performance by boxing's best practitioner. Merchant bringing it up didn't help the ego, either.

Maybe Mayweather didn't see Tiger Woods leaving early, as if he were just playing through. Maybe he didn't see the other "A" List celebs, like Charles Barkley, cut and run. But you can bet he heard the boos.

This is a proud man and as a boxer he has a lot to be proud of. But he thinks the game is simply "hit and not get hit." It's more. The CompuBox stats showed that Baldomir's slow and wide lunges - can't really call them punches - landed only 79 of 670 times, a pathetic 12 percent. In 11 of the 12 rounds, the Argentine without means landed punches in single digits. But Mayweather, while scoring at 43 percent, threw only 458 punches for the entire fight, or 38.2 a round. Now that's really pathetic.

He seemed to be leaning away from Baldomir every time he threw, too, ready to hit and not get hit. He'd make Baldomir miss, counter once and be gone. There were no combinations. And I'm talking from the start, not after any hand injury.

It was a frightened performance against an incredibly low risk opponent. Baldomir has no power, his punches can be seen from the Hubble telescope and yet Mayweather refused to engage.

Yes, he is the best of his generation, but his lack of popularity can be attributed in no small ways to his big mouth, which insists he is the best of any generation.

"I don't understand why everybody criticizes me for saying that I am the best," he said after wiping the tears from his eyes with a towel. "I am the best and people get mad or offended when I compare me to Muhammad Ali or Sugar Ray Robinson. But when they said they were the best, everybody agreed and rated them the best."

Yeah, I get mad and offended. I watched Robinson live. I knew Ali. And believe me, son, you're not one of them. Hell, after watching your performance against Baldomir, I was thinking Mark Breland would have knocked your ass out. Marlon Starling would have beaten you - he beat your father twice and your father would have knocked out Baldomir.

You tell Sugar Ray Leonard he wouldn't be top ten today. Where do you think Baldomir would have been rated in the days of Leonard, Thomas Hearns, Roberto Duran, Wilfred Benitez, Carlos Palomino, Harold Weston Jr. and on and on? He wouldn't have still been selling feather dusters on the streets of Santa Fe, Argentina.

Baldomir couldn't sell tickets for his welterweight defense against the best in the game. The announced crowd was 9,427, but earlier Saturday, members of the Nevada State Athletic Commission were guessing that, with a walkup, the paid crowd might hit 7,000. Mandalay Bay employees were given cut-rate discounts to help paper the house.

You could almost hear the channel changing all across the land as this $50 pay-per-view ripoff never developed into a fight, which was to be expected considering Baldomir's talents. For HBO to charge $50 for this crap should be criminal. But it needed to get the money to afford Mayweather's $8 million guarantee and Baldomir's $1.6 million payday. There was no money to spend on an undercard. Say what you will about Don King, but even without Mike Tyson he would put on those endless all-star shows featuring Julio Cesar Chavez, a heavyweight title fight or two, defenses against real contenders by Felix Trinidad Jr., Terry Norris, Ricardo Lopez, the latest meeting of Azumah Nelson and Jesse James Leija. Dan Goossen, Mayweather's hired promoter, could afford only Orlando Salido upsetting Robert Guerrero.

There is no denying Mayweather's great skills. For a man to win every round, and what the hell was Judge Paul Smith of Vegas watching to give Baldomir two rounds, and still disappoint takes enormous talent. He must have gotten straight "A's" at Roy Jones Jr. University.

I don't buy his one more and I'm done retirement speech. Nor do I buy Oscar de la Hoya's crap about taking his offer to fight Mayweather off the table. My gut feeling is that Oscar, who has learned quickly how to play this promoter game, does not want to seem overanxious about making a fight he suddenly sees himself with a great chance of winning. This is no Chicken. He is a fox.

Said Mayweather, who isn't as dumb as he sometimes sounds, "I think he'll get in the ring with me after tonight."

Mayweather said de la Hoya "wouldn't beat me in a million lifetimes." That's what I thought, too, before Mayweather's performance last Saturday night. Now I'm not so sure that de la Hoya couldn't walk through Mayweather's punches and land a few of his own. Mayweather's defense is great, but so is Oscar's left hand.

I'd still lean towards Mayweather, whose chin I believe can withstand a couple of solid de la Hoya hooks. But suddenly I'm anxious to see this fight. If they both retire afterwards, fine. Boxing has survived the retirements of Ali and Robinson.

I think Mayweather has more trouble with Sugar Shane Mosley than with de la Hoya. There is a lot of unfinished business out there for him. If he beats de la Hoya, he would become the Man. Mosley beat the Man, twice, but didn't become the Man because de la Hoya did not leave. If Mayweather sends de la Hoya to sunny Puerto Rican retirement, then he becomes the Main Man in the game and there are all sorts of big fights for him - Mosley, Antonio Margarito (if he gets by Joshua Clottey and then Paul Williams and after watching Williams pound poor Santos Pakau and get more winded with each punch, I like Margarito to make it safely through), Ricky Hatton, the winner of Miguel Cotto-Carlos Quintana, Cory Spinks, Kermit Cintron and the cast of  "Flags of Our Fathers."

He pouted like a spoiled kid at the post-fight press conference. He entered wearing a black pin-striped suit that would have done any godfather proud. Even with a pink shirt, he was less garish than his ringwalk costume. He came in like a centurion, carried upright on a wooden platform and wearing green plastic armor that looked like a Batman costume gone moldy.

"One more fight, that's it for me," he said, turning away from the crowd of a few reporters and many sicko-fans, and he started to cry.

The HBO suits were able to check their emotions, but underneath, I'm sure they were crying, too. "One more fight and then I'm through," Mayweather insisted. "I don't need boxing. I'm not in this sport for the money, I'm in this sport for the legacy."

He's been talking about retiring ever since the fire went out. He is tired of the criticism, tired of hurting his hands, tired of listening to fools castigate him for "ducking" Margarito. He's going to take his ball and go home.

Yeah. He'll cut and run, leaving his legacy in the air. Sure.

OUTHOUSE: Ivaylo Gotzev, the manager of Sergei Liahkovich, for demanding a rematch with Shannon Briggs because the bell didn't ring to signify the end of the 12th and final round with the deposed WBO heavyweight title-holder on the scorer's table outside the ropes. Gotzev argues that had the bell rung, Referee Bobby Ferrara would not have had to stop the fight and could have given Liahkovich 20 seconds to get back in the Chase Field ring in Phoenix. Ferrara stopped the bout at what was announced as 2:59 of the round because the White Wolf would have been unable to continue. Gotzev says that the bout was really stopped at 3:07, so if his guy could have gotten back into the ring, there was no reason to halt the bout. This would have given Briggs a 10-7 round, enough to even up the scoring on two cards that had Liahkovich ahead 106-103 after 11 of the most boring rounds in heavyweight history, and put the New Yorker up on the third card. The majority draw would have kept the title with Liahkovich. Okay, I hear Gotzev arguing for his guy, that's what managers are supposed to do. He gets the OUTHOUSE for suggesting an immediate rematch. No, please, a thousand times No. Once was enough for these stiffs….Briggs, who could barely breathe throughout the so-called fight, recouperated afterwards to shout, "Brownsville, we back." He's no Mike Tyson or Riddick Bowe, but he is a nice guy who has not been jailed for hurting women….The result strengthens my answer when I am asked who of the four world heavyweight champions is the best? The answer is (e) None of the above….It was a cheap date for Don King, who paid Briggs only $400,000 and Liahkovich $746,000. The promoter couldn't afford much more. He put up more than 20,000 seats at the Diamondbacks' home park, but as of Thursday, I am told, there were less than 1,000 tickets sold. There was a lot of paper in the house Saturday night.

PENTHOUSE: Orlando Salido, another journeyman who knocked off the over-rated fighter in Robert Guerrero. When guys like Guerrero and Baldomir are world "champions," you know the game is in big trouble. But the flip side is that earnest competitors like Salido and Baldomire get to make a buck in this dirty business.

DISS AND THAT: Roy Jones Jr. decided a $500,000 guarantee was not enough to face Manny Siaca on Dec. 9 in Philadelphia and so that fight's off. Maybe this news should be in the PENTHOUSE. Maybe, after his last appearance in Boise, Idaho, Jones wanted a step up in venue….No one but HBO seems to be promoting the Wladimir Klitschko-Calvin Brock heavyweight "title" bout this Saturday at Madison Square Garden. But Johnny Bos says "New York is still a heavyweight town, remember Kirk Johnson and Vitali Klitschko drew 12,000 in a (2003) blizzard."….The roast to raise money for the Bosman has been switched from Nov. 10, erev Wladimir-Brock, to Nov. 17 (see Mike Marley piece on BoxingTalk.com.). Marley has to be in Texas Nov. 10 for the captivating Evander Holyfield-Fres Oquendo match so a lot of out-of-towners are not going to be in Gotham when the dinner, to raise money for the ailing (physically and financially) guru. Only 200 places will be available at the Waterfront Crab House, a few minutes across the bridge from Manhattan in Long Island City, so get your checks in now. One seat is $250, a table of ten goes for $2,000. All checks must be made out to Johnny Bos Roast and sent to Mike Marley at 250 West 100th Street, Suite 1102, New York, NY 10025. It's a fantastic chance to rub elbows with the guy who should be the first federal boxing commissioner, if there has to be one….The things you can discover in press kits: Paul Williams listed under "hobbies/interest" that "I shoot my guns. I love to shoot my guns. A Glock 40 caliber and an AR15. That's one of my hobbies right there. Otherwise, outdoor stuff." I take it that he shoots his guns indoors. And, under "most embarrassing moment," undefeated heavyweight Chris Arreola, who stopped previously undefeated Damian Wills on the undercard, said it was the crappy time when he was 11 and couldn't hold it in while running for a bathroom in full sight of his friends. Under the same heading, the Ghostbuster, new IBFelons featherweight champion Orlando Salido said after losing his previous title chance to Juan Manuel Marquez, he was arrested for stealing cars in Mexico. "It postponed his next fight because he was in jail for six months."


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