Rating Mayweather’s performance
Appeal Sports Writer
According to fightnews.com, following his 12-round unanimous decision victory over world welterweight champion Carlos Baldomir on Saturday, reigning pound-for-pound king “Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather said he’ll fight once more and retire.
Apparently Mayweather was still smarting after an interview with know-it-all HBO commentator/critic Larry Merchant, who felt it was his duty to tell Mayweather how boring he was and how the crowd was booing because he didn’t knock out the overmatched Baldomir.
At the post-fight news conference, Mayweather, now 37-0 with 24 knockouts, broke down in tears when he announced his decision to hopefully fight Oscar De La Hoya and then get out of the sport. In the same breath he bemoaned how people keep placing him behind Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Robinson when they mentioned all-time great boxers.
Then there was the matter of Mayweather re-injuring his fragile right hand in the sixth round.
In short, it sounds like it’s time to invoke Shakespeare (much ado about nothing) or call the crew from “The Contender” and have them put together a docudrama on Mayweather’s plight.
Dan Goossen, Mayweather’s promoter, sounded Tuesday like he’d choose Shakespeare.
“I felt up till the time Floyd hurt his hand, it was a special performance,” Goossen said in a telefonic interview. “The fans were applauding and cheering both his offense and defense.”
It’s true that Baldomir, who had handily defeated the slick and talented Zab Judah and tough-as-nails Arturo Gatti, couldn’t have connected with Mayweather if he were in a broom closet.
But HBO unofficial fight judge Harold Lederman had a different perception of how special Mayweather’s performance was.
“It was a little boring and there was some booing – everyone heard it,” Lederman said Tuesday from his day job at a pharmacy in New York. “In the 10th round (middleweight contender) Winky Wright got up and left and (former basketball star) Charles Barkley walked out.”
But before labeling Lederman as a Mayweather detractor, hold up.
“Floyd Mayweather is the best fighter in the world today,” Lederman said. “Baldomir couldn’t have hit him if he had a tennis racket.”
Goossen said he understood if some were left underwhelmed, but that they should look at the whole picture.
“Once he hurt his hand, he still put on a superb display of talent,” Goossen said. “It’s like when a home-run hitter wins the game with a single: It’s not as dramatic as if he hit one out. (Baldomir) wasn’t able to lay a glove on Floyd. Floyd was peppering him from every angle.”
One would expect Goossen to stick up for his fighter, but Lederman, who has no financial interest in Mayweather, can be more objective. That said, he said Mayweather’s hand injury wasn’t a convenient excuse for “Pretty Boy’s” lack of apparent pop.
Lederman said a fairly new rule enforced only in the state of Nevada has handicapped Mayweather. Until recently fighters 154 pounds and heavier wore 10-ounce gloves, while fighters 147 or less wore 8-ounce gloves.
“Nevada killed him,” Lederman said of the glove rule. “When he was wearing 8-ounce gloves, Floyd wore the Winning boxing glove, which is made for guys with bad hands. All the padding is in the front and is worn for more protection.
“For this fight, Floyd wore Grant gloves. Their 10-ounce gloves are so huge in front that they’re like pillows.”
The bigger gloves served to reduce Mayweather’s power while the difference in brand contributed to Mayweather’s injury.
So it’s quite ironic that Wright, not exactly known for being a whirling dervish in the ring, and Barkley, a chunky, lazy player on the basketball court, would leave a fight because they either felt Mayweather was boring or wasn’t trying hard enough.
It’s also illuminating when it comes to getting a rare glimpse into the mind of the somewhat aloof Mayweather, who a few weeks ago on fightnews.com said he wanted to fight for 10 more years and on Saturday night was talking retirement.
“We have another fight penciled in for Floyd on February 24th,” Goossen said. “We’re meeting early next week, when we can speak more intelligently.”
Goossen also addressed some comments made by De La Hoya to fightnews.com. De La Hoya said, among other things, he didn’t see the fight and that he was removing from the table his decision to fight Mayweather in his own final fight sometime next year.
“It has come to light that (De La Hoya) did see the fight,” Goossen said. “Why he tells people he didn’t makes no sense. It puts a cloud on anything else that comes out of his mouth.”
Such as De La Hoya’s assertion that Mayweather wasn’t worthy of being in the same ring as him.
“Floyd made $8 million for this fight,” Goossen said. “Oscar De La Hoya says that Floyd doesn’t have anybody on his resume (worthy enough to merit fighting De La Hoya). Floyd has blossomed into his own stardom.”
Goossen said it isn’t fair to compare Mayweather to Robinson, Ali and other greats.
“Once you start comparing people, you get into endless battle of varying opinions,” Goossen said. “Floyd has to be on the top of the list of the most talented fighters ever. You can place him in a great lot.”
“Punchers (like Rocky Marciano and Robinson) are more exciting (fighters),” Lederman said, “but, pound-for-pound, Floyd is the top guy (today). You can’t take it away from him.”
Unless you’re De La Hoya, who will have to take the pound-for-pound crown from Mayweather in the ring and not in the media.