Sunday, March 28, 2010

“Floyd is Afraid to Fight Manny”

My good friend, Engr. Samson Tiukinhoy, texted to share his daughter’s (Dr. Susan Tiukinhoy) first hand conversation with George Foreman in a Houston elevator. Recognizing big George, Dr. Susan asked what he thinks of a fight between Manny and Floyd. The fearsome heavyweight champion of the world replied, “Floyd is afraid to fight Manny”.

Foreman knows first hand what happens when a fighter fears his opponent. The fighter who fears loses the fight even before the first bell rings. Ken Norton couldn’t look straight at George’s eyes and just bowed his head as the referee was giving the pre-fight instructions. The fight for the heavyweight championship was held on 26 March 1974 in Caracas, Venezuela. Muhammad Ali sat at ringside as a fight commentator.

George was undefeated when Norton was shoved forward to fight him after scoring a win over the great Ali. Norton couldn’t shake off his mind Foreman’s fearsome reputation of being a big puncher with a frightening KO record. George knocked down Norton’s good friend, Joe Frazier, six times before stopping him in the 2nd round to wrest the heavyweight championship of the world. Foreman and Norton were about the same size but George knocked down Norton three times in the second round to end the fight. Muhammad Ali identified the cause of Norton’s loss. Norton was scared of Foreman.

George’s observation on Floyd vs. Manny he shared with Dr. Susan confirms Floyd Mayweather Sr.’s own fear for little Floyd which the Sr. showed as he tried to identify the kind of performing enhancing drugs (PED) he accused Manny of taking. Who wouldn’t fear the Pacman who comes from a country whose World War II guerillas have a reputation of continuously charging forward despite facing a barrage of gunfire? If no gunfire could stop a guerilla from charging forward, how much less could Floyd’s brittle bare hands stop a such PED enhanced Manny who already has that reputed habit in the ring of always charging forward?

With little Floyd’s ability to come up with excuses for the fight not to happen, the Floyd-Manny fight may never happen. No disrespect intended for Shane Mosley, but Floyd is just too slick and too good for Shane to handle come May 1. Floyd’s been there facing a fighter many thought had a good chance to beat him. Diego Corrales, Jose Luis Castillo, Ricky Hatton, Oscar dela Hoya, to name them who had names in the fight game. Floyd didn’t fear them and he beat them all.

But Manny Pacquiao is different. He retired the 6 weight division champion Oscar giving him no round of 8, bulldozed Hatton in 2, and ate the best Miguel Cotto could dish out while still asking for more. It was the legitimate welterweight Cotto who said “no more” by dancing away from the charging Manny until what has become a mere semblance of a fight was mercifully stopped just before the end of the 12th round.

When Manny’s charging forward could not be stopped with a legitimate welterweight champion firepower, Manny must really be somebody no other else is. All these did not escape the Floyd Mayweather camp’s attention and Floyd Jr. himself despite his claims of intentionally not viewing Manny’s fights.

Floyd Jr. already has the advantages of size, reach and maybe his defensive skills and accurate counter punching. But what can these do to a fighter who “punches very hard” according to Marco Antonio Barrera, is “so fast” according to David Diaz, smiles after a great round of skirmish with his opponent in some of his good fights, and seems to be more motivated to charge further forward when hit and bloodied?

The over US$40 million guaranteed purse couldn’t make Floyd fight after Manny’s beat up of Miguel Cotto. With Manny’s recent shut out of Joshua Clottey who had the advantages of size, reach, a tight defense, and with a reputation of not having really been overwhelmed by fighters his size, Floyd will come up with even more excuses for the fight not to happen.

If he beats Mosley and the PPV buys outnumber the Pacquiao-Clottey number, expect Floyd to no longer agree to a 50-50 purse split. “Negotiations” will go nowhere as it did before. The Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight, which all and sundry want to see, will not happen.

And the reason is as what George Foreman told Dr. Susan, “Floyd is afraid to Fight Manny”.

Author: Epifanio M. Almeda

Freddie Roach talks Mayweather-Mosley, drug testing, and more with Jim Rome

In a recent edition of Jim Rome is Burning, world renown trainer Freddie Roach dropped by to discuss a myriad of topics ranging from his own career as a fighter, his fighter Manny Pacquiao’s bout with Joshua Clottey, the upcoming Floyd Mayweather-Shane Mosley bout and more.

Roach also went in depth about the recent Olympic style drug testing fiasco that prevented a Pacquiao-Mayweather bout from ever becoming a reality. Mayweather insisted that both fighters should have put themselves through a strenuous testing process which including blood testing but the two men were unable to come to terms. During the interview Roach went in depth about Pacquiao’s mental state following giving blood and how it affects him.

Roach is going to be in Las Vegas the weekend of April 10th to oversee the 4th professional fight of his latest prospect, Lightweight Jose Benavidez and the following month he has a huge assignment as his charge Amir Khan will be defending his WBA belt against Paulie Malignaggi in New York. As far as Roach’s future with Pacquiao it is still uncertain as to what will happen as the WBO Welterweight champion has been talking retirement amidst an upcoming political push.

In his own words this is what Roach had to say about everything, from his relationship with Pacquiao, thoughts on Mayweather and Mosley, and more…

Reflecting on his time in Dallas during Pacquiao’s victory over Joshua Clottey… “Great audience, great venue. Cowboys Stadium was the part of the trip probably. The thing was that I told Jerry Jones he had a lot of guts for building that place. I asked him ‘how are you going to pay for it?’. Pacquiao fought a good fight and he did what he was supposed to do. He won every round. I like Joshua Clottey, he’s a real nice guy and a real gentleman, but you have the world title in front of you maybe once in a lifetime and you have to die trying to win that. He was just content with going to distance. I think once he realized how fast Pacquiao was in the first round he just didn’t want to get knocked out and just wanted to go the distance.”

Pacquiao playing around with the two-handed punch… “I did have a concern because he does like to play a little bit and he did play when he did the double punch. He’s always told me that he wanted to do that at least once in the fight and I told him ‘Don’t do it!’. He laughed and he had a big smile on his face and I said ‘The sonofagum did it’. He wanted to get that out of his system I hope.”

His relationship with Manny Pacquiao… “The thing is that I don’t hang out with him and don’t go out to socialize with him too much. I want to keep that separation between trainer and fighter. I learned once in my life when I got to close to my fighter and we became friends and I told him to do something and he laughed and not take me seriously. [That was] my first champion Virgil Hill. I told him ‘I mean it, get to work’. But we became too close and it affected our working relationship.”

Putting his foot down… “The thing is that I do have to put my foot down sometimes. In the last camp he came to the gym and everyone was tired and sleep and I asked them what was wrong. He said that they were singing karaoke until 2 AM. I got the bunch together and I told them all off and I told them we were here for a fight and we were here for training camp. I said curfew is at 9 o’clock and I said to head security ‘What were you doing?’ and he said ‘I was signing’. I just said ‘Oh my god’. [Pacquiao] was very quiet for two days. He iced me for two days. It worked itself out. I heard that he was more interested in finding who ratted him out.”

Does Roach believe Mayweather vs. Pacquiao will ever happen? “I believe so. The thing is, Mayweather is a good fighter and I just believe he came up with these excuses because he wasn’t ready for Pacquiao yet. He only had one fight in two years and I think he needed more time. He’s got another fight coming up of course and after that all of the rust will be gone if he beats Mosley. He’s in a tough fight though. The thing is Shane has a little bit of trouble for boxers and I think it’s a good fight for Mayweather. I think he will win on points. Then he will be sharp and ready for a guy like Pacquiao.”

His thoughts on drug testing… “The thing is that we have never flunked a test before. We have tested before and after every fight. If we were on steroids we wouldn’t pass. It’s not like there isn’t testing and it’s not like they just test you some times. If you are in a title fight they test you every time and the commission has been doing that for a long time. The Olympic style drug testing they couldn’t guarantee that they wouldn’t do it the day before the fight. That’s an issue because Manny Pacquiao doesn’t like giving blood. I told him that that they can do urine, saliva, hair test, and any test in the world that would show exactly the same thing as blood. You see when he gets cut he doesn’t handle it well. He doesn’t like blood. I would but the thing is that everyone knows that he blames when he lost to Morales the first time because he had to give blood the day before the fight. I lose him for about three days. He’s not as strong. I’m not sure about that. He just feels that it’s in his head that it affects him for like three days and then he starts feeling better after that.”

His thoughts on Mayweather’s mission to clean up the sport… “I think that Mayweather is going to let the commission do their job just as they always do. He said that he wants to clean the sport up but I don’t think steroids are that used in boxing to be honest. It’s part of our life and the society that we live in today. Again, let the commission do their job and we aren’t going to let Mayweather run the show, that’s for sure. That’s giving the first two rounds away. Why would I do that? The next thing you know he’ll be saying we are fighting with 16 ounce gloves or in two minute rounds. We’re going to go with what the commission says and I’m sure there is going to be a tradeoff between Manny dropping the lawsuit and him dropping the drug test.”

His own career and knowing when to call it a day… “Eddie Futch, my coach, told me to retire five fights before I did. I fought five more times and I lost four of the five so he’s probably right. I might not have Parkinson’s disease if I did. I was just really frustrated. I put my whole life into it and I wanted to be a world champion. I cried that day when he told me it was over and it was just hard to realize that. It’s hard to swallow. It’s something I chose and something I did but I am happy.”

Author: Chris Robinson


Mosley-Mayweather: Preliminary Perspective

Back in 2006, I wrote that Sugar Shane Mosley's savage KO of Fernando Vargas II was evidence that like a perfect storm, everything was coming together......just the right things in the mix and with just the right timing for him to fight Floyd Mayweather. Team Mosley was running on all cylinders and it seemed unlikely for anyone to slow it down. But that was then and this is now.

Since then, Floyd (now 40-0) has vanquished Carlos Manuel Baldomir, decisioned Oscar De La Hoya, waxed Ricky Hatton, and dominated Juan Manuel Marquez. Mosley has beaten Luis Collazo in a fight where Collazo suffered a fractured left thumb during the second round. He then lost to Miguel Cotto, but came back to beat clownish Ricardo Mayorga in a fight that was extremely close on the score cards until Mosley's spectacular left hook knock out at the very end which sent Mayorga to Matador Dreamland.

Sure, against Collazo, Sugar Shane (46-5) showed a display of effective jabs and great hand speed, once again using feints, quickness, and crafty head and body movement that served him so well in his wins against Oscar De La Hoya and especially Fernando Vargas. But Collazo is not Mayweather, and Vargas had taken brutal beatings at the hands of De La Hoya and Trinidad by the time he met Mosley.

Curiously, Mosley lost two to the "Viper" getting beat up in one, while Mayorga beat Forrest twice. But then Mayorga, an "old" 34, got starched convincingly by De La Hoya who Mosley "beat" twice. Of course, that was then and this is now and a lot has changed.

Shane's demolition of Antonio Margarito in January 2009 raised everyone's eyebrows. However, one theory that has not been given much traction (and one to which I partially subscribe) is that Tony may have been so discombobulated by pre-fight events, that he simply was there for the taking. Whatever the case, Mosley made the most of it and destroyed the disgraced "Tijuana Tornado." Interestingly. Mosley likely did not even get hit flush in that fight, but then, neither did Mayweather against Marquez.

The Age Factor

However, Sugar Shane is getting a bit long in the tooth and his considerable skills are in jeopardy of eroding. Age has a way of impacting speed, quickness, hand-eye coordination, movement, and putting punches together. Moreover, the fact he has fought tougher opponents than Mayweather (Vargas twice, Winky Wright twice, De La Hoya twice, Vernon Forrest twice, Jesse James Leija, John John Molina, Philip Holiday, Collazo, Mayorga, Margarito, among others), is not necessarily an advantage at this point. The reputation for never having ducked an opponent can back fire and render a boxer's body old overnight. That said and notwithstanding the Margorito beat down, I no longer believe Mosley is at the top of his game and I'm betting the ingredients for the perfect storm that once existed have now dissipated to the point where the momentum is clearly in favor of the man with the heavyweight ego.

Fighters like "Pretty Boy," don't come around very often. He uses old school stuff, but he does it so subtly, he is seldom given proper credit for it. As I have said before, he just might be too good for his own good. His use of shoulder rolls, feints, parrying, upward jabbing, giving angles, counter punching, crossover defense, strategic lateral movement, and deflecting punches is all part of the old school mix. So is his mastery of the basics...the three levels of defense, slipping punches, and fighting off the jab. If a purist is one who appreciates the technical aspects of the Sweet Science, Floyd Mayweather Junior is a purist's delight. His fights with Phillip N'dou and Juan Manuel Marquez showcased these attributes to a tee.

However, if one definition of "Old School" is that it combines the aforementioned with a violent dimension (one that reflects a boxer's propensity to engage in a pier six street brawl), then Floyd may be somewhat lacking. Aside from his give and take with Emanuel Augustus, we have not yet seen Floyd be required to demonstrate this dimension. However, his blow-outs of the late Diego Corrales and Arturo Gatti suggest he may be capable of the same kind of mayhem Mosley showed against Margorito, but I doubt he can do that to Mosley.

While I intend to break down this fight far more definitively as we get closer to May 1, my tentative feeling at this point is that a well-rested Floyd Mayweather Junior will dominate Sugar Shane Mosley over 12 rounds and cop a unanimous decision.

Author: Bad Left Hook


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