If Mayweather Really Wants High Praise, Do Something Only Duran Did...LOTIERZO
|Written by Frank Lotierzo|
|Monday, 09 January 2012 12:38|
Isn't it great to see how welterweight title holder Floyd Mayweather 42-0 (26) has been granted a postponement in serving his three month jail sentence for his battery conviction, which was supposed to begin on January 6, 2012? Mayweather's delayed jail term will have to wait for him to pick up another easy payday on May 5th before he can take up residence at the cross-bar hotel for a few months.
What's even more astonishing is, Mayweather's May 5 opponent hasn't even been named yet, though we did just get word from Raymond Markarian that it looks like Robert Guerrero will get the nod. The only thing we know for sure is that it won't be against another welterweight title holder, Manny Pacquiao 54-3-2 (38). Yes, even as of this writing and despite it being almost two years past the date when it should've happened a fight between Pacquiao and Mayweather is still the biggest and most anticipated fight that can be made in combat sports. And everyone knows, or should know, that the hard truth is the fight hasn't been realized yet because Mayweather hasn't seen enough slippage in Pacquiao. I for one certainly have and don't harbor any reservation in saying that Mayweather will outbox Pacquiao on his way to a non-controversial decision when they fight. However, Mayweather isn't quite there yet, although he's getting closer.
Here's a novel idea and challenging task for Mayweather, something that would even shut up his sternest critics if he were successful...Challenge WBC middleweight title holder Sergio Martinez 48-2-1 (27), who's perceived as the best middleweight fighter in boxing, to a non-catch-weight title bout.
Only one lightweight champion has ever won a middleweight title – Roberto Duran. Henry Armstrong came close but drew with Ceferino Garcia, a fighter he had previously beaten.
Mayweather has been a prohibitive favorite in all of his fights since turning pro. Moving up and taking a shot at a fighter who is not a sure thing would enhance his argument and legitimacy for being an all time great. Even if a fight with Pacquiao came off Mayweather would still be the odds-on favorite to win. Mayweather has been criticized for handpicking opponents. Here is an opportunity to fight an opponent who has a legitimate chance to beat him and would likely be favored over him. And if he lost, but was competitive, he'd gain fans and his legacy wouldn't take a hit.
A number of lightweights have won welterweight titles but only one has won a middleweight title. This is so because of the added strength, size and power of the 160 pound class. Mayweather, fighting at 154, likely walks around near the middleweight limit. If Mayweather is concerned about his historical legacy then fighting for the middleweight title and winning it could cement his career.
Had Roy Jones retired after winning the WBA heavyweight title from John Ruiz he would likely be considered a legit top 10 p4p great and some may have argued, wrongly, that he was in the league with Sugar Ray Robinson. Right now Mayweather has no such marks on his resume to argue he belongs in the same conversation as true all time greats like Robinson, Harry Greb, Sam Langford, Henry Armstrong, Sugar Ray Leonard or Roberto Duran. He needs a win that can validate his legacy.
A fight with Martinez would be easy to put together as long as Mayweather isn't a thug about it. Granted, he's the draw and deserves the lion's share of the purse, but he can't dictate the terms like he has in everyone of his previous 42 professional fights. He needs the fight for his legacy more than Martinez does. And that's because nobody views Martinez as a potential all time great like they do Mayweather. Beating Mayweather would glean Sergio some high praise and attention along with his biggest payday, but nobody, I mean nobody would be saying Martinez is the next Carlos Monzon because he beat Floyd Mayweather. On the other hand, if Mayweather beat the best middleweight in boxing, even his staunchest critics would have to bow their heads to him.
Actually, if Mayweather fought and defeated Martinez, he wouldn't have to fight Pacquiao. By taking out the bigger and more formidable Martinez, no one would question who's the better fighter between Floyd and Manny if they never fought. Mayweather would be the default winner, something he's never been adverse to being.
Yeah, in a perfect world the above sounds really intriguing and would no doubt captivate the boxing world. But the combination between the business of boxing and Mayweather's reluctance to take part in a fight in which everything isn't tilted in his favor will prevent it from ever being realized. What we'll see instead is, quite soon Mayweather will announce that he's fighting an opponent who despite a solid resume, lacks the size, experience or world class skill set to really challenge him, let alone beat him.
Some of this is in part due to the fact that Mayweather is so good in the ring while at the same time too reluctant to really fight the best opposition when they're at the top of their game and available. That's been documented throughout his stellar career. However, at this time there's really only two legitimate challenges out there for him, Manny Pacquiao and Sergio Martinez. If Floyd fights anyone other than one of them in his next fight, don't waste your money on it.
Happy New Year boxing fans! The year 2012 will play out with the same predicted results as 2011, 2010, 2009 etc when it comes to the matchmaking strategy of Floyd Mayweather, the best pound-for-pound fighter in boxing. Who, ironically wouldn't be in all that much over his head if he in fact did step up and fought Sergio Martinez in a legitimate middleweight title bout with no catch-weight stipulation. It's not like Martinez is even close to being what anyone would perceive as a big middleweight himself.
Roberto Duran had no reservation getting in the ring with a prime Marvin Hagler or a big middleweight like Iran Barkley. Go ahead Floyd, try to equal Duran's feat of being the only lightweight title holder to win a middleweight title.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com