March 30, 2007

Golden Boy vs. Pretty Boy Who Will Be The Man?

By Greg Goodrich
Boxing Press Editor in Chief

Part Two: The Stats of Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

Floyd Mayweather, Jr. (37-09, 24 KO’s) was born February 24, 1977 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He now resides in Las Vegas, Nevada. He stands 5’8, has a reach of 72 inches: and at 30, is physically in his prime.

Floyd ‘Pretty Boy’ May-weather, Jr. is of course the son of former welterweight contender Floyd ‘Joy’ Mayweather, Sr. (29-6-1). He is most recognized for being stopped by ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard (TKO 10) in September 1978, as well as his training of Oscar de la Hoya from 2002-2007. Mayweather, Jr. is also the nephew to uncle Roger ‘the Black Mamba’ Mayweather (59-13), former WBA, WBC and IBO Jr. Lightweight champion (in addition to the IBO and IBA Welterweight titles).

The other fighting Mayweather is Jeff ‘Jazzy’ Mayweather (32-10-5), a former IBO Jr. Lightweight titlist and contender. However, Mayweather, Jr. is the most famous of all ‘the fighting Mayweathers,’ being the most accomplished of the four. Suffice it to say, he has been born and bred to box. His career has been nothing short of astounding, insofar as it relates to meteoric rise to the top ‘pound for pound’ status in boxing today.

Mayweather, Jr. turned pro on October 11, 1996 against Roberto Apodaca, winning by 2nd round TKO. After 17 fights against largely non-descript foes, Mayweather, Jr. climbed through the ropes in October 1998 to face Genaro Hernandez for the WBC Jr. Lightweight title. Hernandez was 38-1-1 at the time, having only lost to Oscar de la Hoya, and having drawn with Raul Perez.

In spectacular fashion, May-weather, Jr. overwhelmed the much more experienced fight-er, and laid claim to his first world title with an 8th round TKO. His first title defense was successful, and ended in a 2nd round stoppage. Ironically enough, Mayweather, Jr. continued to defend his title but was failing to impress many in boxing circles. The knock against him was he had ‘two little hands of plaster’ instead of devastating, power punching like Roberto ‘Hands of Stone’ Duran.

In perhaps the first tactical mismatch of his career, Mayweather, Jr. next faced long time journeyman Emanual Augustus in a non-title, lightweight exploratory bout. Though ‘Pretty Boy’ won the bout by 9th round TKO, his victory was anything but pretty, and it was very obvious he still was not ‘the man’. He still had not faced any undefeated titlists in his own weight class, such as Joel Cassamayor (who had held the WBA title), nor Acelino Freitas (who was the WBO kingpin), or even Diego Corrales (the IBF champ). That all changed in January 2001. How fitting that the next stage of Mayweather, Jr.’s career would begin in earnest as the first big fight of a new year.

While everyone knew that Corrales had given up his IBF title to face Mayweather, Jr. instead of another bogus, mandatory title mismatch, many ‘in the know’ made Corrales a prohibitive favorite due to his size, reach and power advantages over Mayweather, Jr. In shocking fashion, Mayweath-er, Jr. battered, hammered and pummeled his much bigger foe.

Floyd kept fighting, and continued to dominate, successfully defending his title for the 7th and 8th times consecutively against future champions Carlos Hernandez (W12) and

Jesus Chavez (TKO 9) respectively. Nonetheless, Mayweather, Jr. still had not beaten either Cassamayor or Freitas, but he had something bigger and better in mind. He was about to move up in weight again and meet, beat and then defeat reigning and defending WBC/World Lightweight champion Jose Luis Castillo.

In April 2002, something happened to ‘the Pretty Boy’ that had never happened in his professional career. Another fighter stood up to him, forced him to fight a different fight and actually convinced many a ringside participant and much of press row that he had won against Mayweather, Jr. After twelve extremely close and effectually competitive rounds, Floyd Mayweather, Jr. was announced the victor and new WBC Lightweight champion by ridiculously wide, unanimous decision scores of 116-111 and 115-111 (twice).

Though I won’t go so far as to say that Castillo was rob-bed, this fight definitely could have gone either way.

In January 2005, Mayweather, Jr. once again started the year off in a new weight class, though far from the bout that fight fans were clamoring for and craving. He easily dispatched of Henry Bruseles (TKO 8) and this win at 140 pounds set the stage for his title challenge of WBC Jr. Welterweight champion Arturo ‘Thunder’ Gatti.

In June 2005, Mayweather, Jr. became a three-division boxing champion by stopping a game but out-gunned Gatti, winning by 6th round TKO. 

Rather than defending his newest WBC title, May-weather, Jr. decided to once again move up in weight and fight former champion Sharmba Mitchell in a non-title 147 pound fight.

In this particular bout, Mayweather, Jr. actually outboxed the boxer, and once again won a one-sided bout that he totally dominated, by 6th round TKO. Thus, the stage was set for Floyd Mayweather, Jr.’s second grudge bout against long time friend and latest truculent foe Zabdiel Judah, the ‘technical’ IBF Welterweight champion who had just lost his WBC and IBA Welterweight titles to Carlos Baldomir. In a bout that largely exposed Mayweather, Jr.’s weaknesses (and laid the perfect blue print of how to defeat him, if meshed with Cast-illo’s performance in their first bout), ’Pretty Boy’ became a four-weight boxing champion by official scores of 119-109, 117-111 and 116-112.

What was not so ‘unanimous’ about this unanimous decision victory was whether Mayweather, Jr. should have ever been in the ring with Judah in the first place. Coupled with the fact was Mayweather, Jr.’s trainer Roger, entering the ring during the 10th round. He caused a melee of historic proportions (rivaled only by the Bowe-Golota I riot in New York). If the actual rules of the Nevada State Athletic Commission were followed (that supposedly govern the sport of boxing under their auspices), then Mayweather, Jr. should have lost this bout via disqualification. Nonetheless, Mayweather, Jr. did the right thing and signed to fight the real World Welterweight champion of the world, Carlos Baldomir.

In November 2006, Floyd entered the ring against the strongest, biggest and toughest fighter that he had ever faced. Though Baldomir was no Castillo in regards to skill and  punching fluidity, he had won his title the old fashioned way... he earned it... in the ring. Oh what a noble aspiration for all boxing champions in the world! After twelve one-sided rounds, Floyd Mayweather, Jr. was announced the winner by unanimous decision scores of 118-110 and 120-108 (twice). In just ten years and one month, Mayweather, Jr. had won titles in four different weight classes, beating at least three World champions in the process. The only thing that could have been more impressive would have been victories over ‘Sugar’ Shane Mosley at 135 and Ricky ‘Hitman’ Hatton at 140.

Floyd Mayweather, Jr. is the former WBC Jr. Lightweight, Lightweight, Jr. Welterweight and Welterweight champion, in addition to the former IBF and present IBO/IBA Welterweight champion. He has won four WBC titles, in four separate weight classes. He has made 12 successful title defenses, and has undertaken 4 non-title bouts during reigns in respective divisions. May-weather, Jr. has defeated 10 former and/or current world champions in his illustrious career.

Part Three to Follow: Similarities of Oscar de la Hoya and Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

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