This past Tuesday night Floyd Mayweather Jr. was a guest on the HBO talk show "Joe Buck Live." Floyd wasn't on the set long before the topic of discussion turned to his upcoming fight with WBO welterweight title holder Manny Pacquiao. During the show Mayweather was very much at ease and and sure of himself. He didn't dismiss Pacquiao as an opponent unless you consider him stating the fact that Pacquiao has already been knocked out and outboxed during his career by opponents who aren't in his league as fighter; I don't.
Mayweather, who is usually boring as the humble and nice guy and is unlikable as a bad guy, was extremely measured as he conversed with Buck and retired New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan and actor Mark Wahlberg, who both happen to be pretty big boxing fans who have followed Floyd's career with interest.
It's been said here that Mayweather is a little overrated and his resume doesn't measure up to past greats like Roberto Duran, Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns, especially his welterweight tenure. But saying he doesn't measure up to them is not the same as dismissing his ability as a fighter. Mayweather is a great fighter and is one of the smartest and most in- control-of-himself fighters you'll ever see in the ring. Nobody understands their opponents' strengths and makes them have to fight to their weakness as good as Floyd, at least nobody who's currently active.
During his career Mayweather has smartly picked his spots in regards to the opponents he's fought. His legacy will be that he's undefeated more than anything else if in fact he does manage to retire without a single defeat. And that'll help him when he's compared to other past greats when he's matched up with them historically. The mindset of some will be since he never lost he probably would've figured out a way to win versus whoever the past great is he's being matched up with hypothetically.
Since the emergence of Manny Pacquiao some have implied that Mayweather literally fears Pacquiao, a thought that's not endorsed here. Floyd fears losing because he knows it would really be a devastating blow to his career and legacy. But he doesn't actually fear Manny Pacquiao or Shane Mosley for that matter, at least not in the sense that he's actually concerned about getting beat up or knocked out.
If you saw Mayweather's appearance on "Joe Buck Live" you couldn't help but come away thinking that Floyd is already in fight mode and that he is supremely confident that he'll beat Pacquiao when they meet. Instead of him sitting there and trying to justify why he should be the favorite and that him winning is a forgone conclusion, his demeanor was that of someone who knew something that no one else knows.
Floyd has never appeared in public more confident talking about an upcoming fight than he did a few nights back on "Joe Buck Live." The version of Mayweather who will show up to fight Manny Pacquiao hopefully on March 13, 2010, will be better prepared for the fight than any other bout of his career. After observing Mayweather's deportment this week in front of a live audience, it's clear that he knows exactly what he has to do to come out on top against Pacquiao when they meet next year.
I came away from watching Mayweather thinking that as good as Pacquiao looked against Miguel Cotto last month, it would be a huge mistake to sell Floyd short and write off his chances of outboxing Pacquiao for the better part of the 12-rounds the bout is scheduled for.
To anyone who thinks Floyd Mayweather will enter the ring against Manny Pacquiao with the slightest bit of trepidation as to whether he believes he's the greater fighter and will be victorious, you're mistaken.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com