That was the sound the zippers made, this past Saturday night, on the mouths of all of Floyd Mayweather’s detractors, this writer included.
Floyd “Money” Mayweather answered just about every question or criticism that has been leveled at him with a stellar performance against “Sugar” Shane Mosley and, like him or not, one has to give him props.
When Mosley caught Mayweather with an overhand right in the second round, buckling Floyd’s knees, there was probably little doubt that the fans who felt that Mayweather couldn’t beat a “legitimate” welterweight thought, “This is the fall of the mighty Mayweather!”
As Mosley moved in for the kill, Mayweather covered up, held and, as he got his legs back, unleashed a barrage of punches that backed off his opponent.
In the third round, Mosley, who had set up the right hand by jabbing to the body, bringing Floyd’s left hand down, abandoned that technique, primarily because Mayweather had figured him out. When Mosley went to jab to the body, Mayweather countered with right crosses that were finding their mark, leaving Shane with just one option; try and land a lucky shot that would rock Mayweather again.
That was not going to happen, especially in light of the fact that Mayweather did something that no one expected. He became the aggressor, the hunter. As the camera focused on Mosley at the end of the third round, one could see by the look on his face that the fight was over right then and there, which proved Floyd’s assertion that criticism of his fights being boring lies more with his opponents than it does with him.
And he has a valid point, because it’s hard to fight someone who doesn’t want to fight you back.
As you watched Mosley return to his corner at the end of the third, a strange phenomenon was happening that fans don’t get to see that often. “Sugar” Shane Mosley became 38-years-old right before our eyes.
As the fourth round began, it was obvious that winning was off the table in Shane’s mind.
For Mosley, surviving had become the soup du jour.
It was actually rather sad.
From that moment on, one of the most highly anticipated nights- and fights- in boxing belonged to Floyd “Money” Mayweather.
Interestingly enough, no sanctioning body trinkets were on the line because Mayweather refused to pay the WBA’s 3% sanctioning fee…and good for him!
When it comes to Floyd Mayweather, or Manny Pacquiao, for that matter, a trinket from some corrupt sanctioning body is useless and unnecessary, because when Mayweather asserts that he is the face of boxing, whether you like him or not, he’s absolutely right.
Mayweather doesn’t need the sanctioning bodies, they need him, and if they want him to fight for their belt, they should pay him 3%!
And that was evidenced by the plethora of “A”-list celebrities sitting at ringside. So many were in attendance that HBO made a point of letting us all know they were all there.
Some of the stars at ringside included Arnold Scwarzenneger, Will Smith, Eva Longoria Parker, Magic Johnson, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Wahlberg, Jamie Foxx, Mariah Carey and, never one to miss a photo op, Paris Hilton was there as well-and very likely not knowing why.
And wasn’t it really nice to see Michael J. Fox in attendance?
And that was just the Hollywood crowd.
From the boxing world, we had Mike Tyson, Tommy Hearns, “Sugar” Ray Leonard, and the biggest and nicest surprise of all, Muhammad Ali.
The magnitude of this event has been unseen since the times when those warriors were fighting.
And it wasn’t because Shane Mosley was there.
So what’s next for Mayweather? Who’s left if you think about it?
Of course, there is only one answer to that question, and that answer is Manny Pacquiao, who has steadfastly refused to submit to Mayweather’s demand that he undergo Olympic-style drug testing.
Top Rank head Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s promoter, has stated the Manny will only do what the ruling commission tells him he has to do, not what Mayweather dictates.
But is Mayweather being unreasonable, or has he touched upon something that every boxing commission should think about, especially Nevada, the commission that used to set the standard to be followed? Because after all the excuses that are, for the most part, silly, most people feel if you have nothing to hide, what’s the difference?
But let’s not forget that Bob Arum is, above all other things, a businessman. After Mayweather’s one-sided victory over Shane Mosley, rest assured there is a ton of money on the table, which puts Mayweather and Pacquiao on an inevitable collision course, much like Tommy Hearns and “Sugar” Ray Leonard were years ago.
Fans are not interested in watching either of them fight anyone else. They want to see them fight each other, and it will be, beyond question, the biggest money-making fight in boxing history.
But can Manny beat Floyd?
My man Marvin Banks looks at it this way, “Manny is a good fighter and he will have glimpses in the fight, but I think, ultimately, he will find out why Floyd is such a special, special fighter.”
And he may have a point.
Although Manny’s attack on Floyd will be relentless, Floyd is a master of landing short crisp punches inside wide looping shots, which Manny throws quite often.
Of course, the counterpoint is, if Pacquiao hurts Mayweather the way Mosley did, he’ll keep coming. He won’t get old like Mosley did, and he’ll never quit. And that could prove to be Floyd’s undoing.
It is a debate that will begin as soon as the fight is announced, and continue until it’s over.
Make no mistake, with that much money on the line, this fight gets made one way or another.
Now, all that being said, could someone please tell Floyd Mayweather to shut the hell up?
His pre-fight rant boasted that he’s better than both Muhammad Ali and “Sugar” Ray Robinson.
There’s no need to compare records, and there’s no need to compare quality of opponents.
Simply put, Floyd Mayweather praising Floyd Mayweather by trying to diminish the achievements of former champions is not going to endear him to anybody.
Floyd seems hell-bent in becoming this era’s version of the trash-talking Ali, and that’s fine, but he needs to take note that Ali never mocked a former champion or compared himself to them, unless he was fighting them.
Ali claimed to be “The Greatest,” and then went out and proved it. And it’s one of the many reasons that Muhammad Ali has transcended boxing, in and out of the ring.
Floyd Mayweather has impressed even his harshest critics with his performance Saturday night, and there is no need to ruin that by comparing himself to champions that have come before him.
So, is Floyd “Money” Mayweather better than both Ali and Robinson?
Probably not, but one can no longer deny that he is at least that good.