The best, Martinez and Chavez Jr., fought the best on this night, Sept. 15, and on the weekend before, when Ward beat Dawson. Yet we are going on three years of being unable to get Mayweather and Pacquiao to get a deal done. How much of the boxing public is past the point of caring? (Hogan)
On Saturday night September 8th, the best Super-middleweight in the world, Andre Ward 26-0 (14), defended his WBA/WBC Super middleweight title against WBC light heavyweight title holder Chad Dawson 31-2 (17), the perceived best light heavyweight fighter-boxer in the sport. Both Ward and Dawson are close to or at their physical prime.
Dawson, the 175 pound fighter, proposed the idea of dropping down to 168 to challenge for Ward's titles. Ward willingly obliged and for a change the boxing world witnessed two young outstanding fighters with a lot to lose face each other in a career defining bout. Both were endlessly lauded for taking that risk and challenge.
Although the fight was one-sided after the second round in Ward's favor via his 10th round stoppage, it's hard to picture any other fighter out there weighing between 168-175 pounds handling Dawson as completely and thoroughly as Ward did. Now Ward is the new darling of boxing and Dawson still has his light heavyweight belt and can rebound from the disappointing defeat to Ward.
This past Saturday night September 15th, the two best (aside from Gennady Golovkin) and highest profile middleweights in the world, Sergio Martinez 50-2-2 (28) and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr 46-1-1 (32) met in a much anticipated showdown. And like Ward-Dawson, the Martinez-Chavez clash was one-sided (in favor of Martinez via unanimous decision). Also like Ward-Dawson, Martinez-Chavez was a bout between two fighters who appeared to be peaking and half of the drama despite the fight being one sided was seeing the best of the best share the same ring.
Granted the fights turned out to be borderline mismatches. But do you really care when the best fighters in the respective same divisions are confronting each other? Ward emerged as perhaps the most complete fighter in professional boxing and Martinez proved that he is the man in the middleweight division until he is defeated. Sure, skeptics might say Dawson was weakened by draining down to 168 and Chavez is more tough than good and was tailor made for Martinez stylistically. The point is, going into the two bouts a terrific case was framed by all the supposed experts that Ward and Dawson never faced an opponent as good the other and ditto for Martinez and Chavez.
Looking back it wasn't all that hard to get Ward and Dawson and Martinez and Chavez into the ring, was it? Yet there's a looming match up out there that has been brewing for over three years and yet the two combatants seem to act as if the other doesn't even exist. Yes, I'm talking about the two best fighters in one of boxing's glamor divisions, welterweights Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.
After seeing Ward-Dawson and Martinez-Chavez put it on the line for about 1/15th of what Floyd and Manny will gross when they meet, don't they look really small now for stringing the public along. They do in my eyes and they have long before September 8th and 15th. It's a joke that neither Mayweather or Pacquiao haven't pushed harder to make the match between them by now. And what's really pathetic is they're still probably gonna fight and because of the names Mayweather and Pacquiao, every boxing fan on the planet will do everything in their power to make sure they are there to see it.
It's sad that we saw Ward-Dawson and Martinez-Chavez before we did Mayweather-Pacquiao, who should've fought in the late Spring of 2010. I hope most fans are seeing it the way I do -- and that is Ward is on the verge of passing Mayweather as boxing's most complete fighter and Martinez looked better in his last outing than Pacquiao did in his.
I could care less how much fighters are paid and believe they deserve all they can get. However, when one thinks about the money that Floyd and Manny can make if they fight, and the fact that they still can't agree to face each other in a career defining bout, it would be sweet justice if the fight ended up being a financial bust when it does take place because boxing fans are tired of being gouged and seen as a tool. Of course we know that won't be the case.
When all is said and done, boxing may be more star driven, but it's fights between the best of the best that really make it drama filled and compelling. The four fighters mentioned above fought every fighter who was a supposed threat to them and then faced each other. Whereas Mayweather has virtually faced every fighter who was a threat to him since moving up to welterweight when they were past their prime, and no, Zab Judah wasn't seen as anything more than a stern challenge and no one thought he'd beat Mayweather. Keep it close for a while, sure, but not win the fight.
As for Pacquiao, he hasn't looked good in his last three fights and hasn't won by stoppage in five fights. Some believe he is 0-2 in his last two bouts against Juan Manuel Marquez and Timothy Bradley, or at best 1-1. Either way, he's on the decline both emotionally and physically.
Yet the boxing world is still holding it's breath to see Mayweather-Pacquiao. And just like the World in which we occupy - the boxing World is upside down too. I wonder if matches like Ward-Dawson and Martinez-Chavez (and a lot of the fights that Golden Boy put together underneath Alvarez-Lopez) will push Mayweather-Pacquiao out of the limelight once and for all. Boxing should move on because Floyd and Manny have passed their expiration date.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com
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