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Is Mayweather Fooling Us? Or Just Himself?

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Last Friday there was an article posted on abc-cbnnews.com stating that Floyd Mayweather Jr. turned down a $50 million dollar purse guarantee to fight boxing's most popular and pound-for-pound best fighter, Manny Pacquiao. This is according to Pacquiao's adviser Michael Koncz. Since the supposed $50 million dollar offer has exploded in the media and digested by fight fans, it's also been reported that Mayweather has said it'll take a $100 million dollar guarantee for him to get in the ring with Pacquiao. If the $50 million dollar offer is legit, and I'm not sure I believe that it is, it would be more money than Mayweather grossed in his two fights with Oscar De La Hoya (2007) and Shane Mosley (2010) combined.

The money being thrown around at Floyd, again, if one believes the numbers are true, are ridiculous. What's even more ridiculous is Mayweather turning that much money down. How could a guy who's a borderline all time great who after 15 years as a pro and 41 fights and still lacks a career defining win, be so condescending? 

Since he's become a public figure there are two things Mayweather loves to brag about – his money and his legacy. Most objective and sophisticated boxing fans know his legacy is hollow and he's more remembered for who he didn't fight than who he did. And if the recent news is true that he really does owe the IRS close to four million dollars, his money is apparently also a myth. If Floyd thinks swapping punches with Pacquiao is overwhelming, his other opponent, the IRS, is a much badder foe. Especially now being that the United States is broke and has hired a plethora of agents to try catch up and settle with all entities who owe Uncle Sam a substantial sum of dead presidents.

One would think Mayweather couldn't get into the ring soon enough with Pacquiao (For the record I would favor Mayweather to defeat Pacquiao if they fight this year). Think about it, if Floyd beat Pacquiao he'd finally have a legitimate claim as to being one of the greats. In other words, people like myself could no longer say who did he beat. Finally, I'd have to acknowledge that Mayweather did beat a great fighter who wasn't dead on arrival the night he fought him. And let's face it, beating one truly great fighter elevates his legacy a lot more than never beating or facing one.

For years Mayweather has conned the public into believing that his wealth rivals Oscar De La Hoya's and his legacy rivals Sugar Ray Leonard's. Which of course both claims if taken seriously are preposterous. And the reason that Floyd can get over and string the public along is because a majority of boxing writers and fans actually believe what fighters and promoters say. This is assuming Floyd really does see both as con jobs, and that he's working on the theory that if you say something long enough, people will fall for it. And this kind of mass hysteria is what drives the purses of fights way up.

But maybe that's not what's happening here. Maybe Floyd really believes the things he tells people and passes along to the media. I can see where an undefeated fighter who's faced decent to good opposition in an era with few all-time greats can start to believe his own press clippings. After all, greatness is largely subjective. But money is money: it is what it is. And if Floyd Mayweather honestly believes that a.) he's been offered $50 million for thirty six minutes of work, and b.) it's not enough money, he's moved from being either con man or someone who's slightly deluded over the line into being 100% certifiably nuts.

However, Mayweather understands the inner and outter workings of professional boxing better than any fighter around today with the exception of Bernard Hopkins. Nobody, I mean nobody is close to Hopkins in that regard, and the fact that he's much less marketable than Mayweather makes his success even that much more astounding.

As for Mayweather, he's mastered the game of stringing the sport along as to his importance and relevance in it. He really hasn't made one misstep yet. He's wealthy and has a sizable percentage of the boxing public convinced that he's an undisputed all-time great despite the overall body of work not being there. But even at that he still must fight and beat Pacquiao. Because if they never do confront each other in the ring, Pacquiao will be the default winner simply due to the fact that everybody who's honest with themself knows it's Floyd's reluctance that's holding the fight up. Pacquiao is acknowledged as the more willing fighter interested in settling who's really the better man and fighter. On top of that Pacquiao's legacy is greater and further cemented than Mayweather's. Pacquiao's career wouldn't take much of a hit if he lost a decision to Mayweather. Whereas Mayweather's legacy would be greatly diminished if he lost to Pacquiao.

As of this writing Pacquiao-Mayweather would be off the chart huge in anticipation and hype. However, the sand is slowly slipping through the hour glass. In less than a month Pacquiao will have officially stopped Shane Mosley and the drumbeat for Pacquiao-Mayweather will be ignited once again. And this is when the fight should finally become a reality. In what can only be described as the ideal setting, Manny and Floyd would meet in November of this year with both of them having defeated Shane Mosley in their last bout.

Floyd should count his blessings and keep his fingers crossed that Mosley doesn't get lucky and upset Pacquiao early next month. Because Mayweather winning by default over Pacquiao won't cut it or enhance his legacy to where he thinks or tries to convince us it ranks in comparison to some of the greatest of the greats in fistic history.

Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com

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2015 Fight of the Year – Francisco Vargas vs Takashi Miura

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The WBC World Super Featherweight title bout between Francisco Vargas and Takashi Miura came on one of the biggest boxing stages of 2015, as the bout served as the HBO pay-per-view’s co-main event on November 21st, in support of Miguel Cotto vs Saul Alvarez.

Miura entered the fight with a (29-2-2) record and he was making the fifth defense of his world title, while Vargas entered the fight with an undefeated mark of (22-0-1) in what was his first world title fight. Both men had a reputation for all-out fighting, with Miura especially earning high praise for his title defense in Mexico where he defeated Sergio Thompson in a fiercely contested battle.

The fight started out hotly contested, and the intensity never let up. Vargas seemed to win the first two rounds, but by the fourth round, Miura seemed to pull ahead, scoring a knock-down and fighting with a lot of confidence. After brawling the first four rounds, Miura appeared to settle into a more technical approach. Rounds 5 and 6 saw the pendulum swing back towards Vargas, as he withstood Miura’s rush to open the fifth round and the sixth round saw both men exchanging hard punches.

The big swinging continued, and though Vargas likely edged Miura in rounds 5 and 6, Vargas’ face was cut in at least two spots and Miura started to assert himself again in rounds 7 and 8. Miura was beginning to grow in confidence while it appeared that Vargas was beginning to slow down, and Miura appeared to hurt Vargas at the end of the 8th round.

Vargas turned the tide again at the start of the ninth round, scoring a knock down with an uppercut and a straight right hand that took Miura’s legs and sent him to the canvas. Purely on instinct, Miura got back up and continued to fight, but Vargas was landing frequently and with force. Referee Tony Weeks stepped in to stop the fight at the halfway point of round 9 as Miura was sustaining a barrage of punches.

Miura still had a minute and a half to survive if he was going to get out of the round, and it was clear that he was not going to stop fighting.

A back and forth battle of wills between two world championship level fighters, Takashi Miura versus “El Bandido” Vargas wins the 2015 Fight of the Year.

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Jan 9 in Germany – Feigenbutz and De Carolis To Settle Score

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This coming Saturday, January 9th, the stage is set at the Baden Arena in Offenburg, Germany for a re-match between Vincent Feigenbutz and Giovanni De Carolis. The highly anticipated re-match is set to air on SAT.1 in Germany, and Feigenbutz will once again be defending his GBU and interim WBA World titles at Super Middleweight.

The first meeting between the two was less than three months ago, on October 17th and that meeting saw Feigenbutz controversially edge De Carolis on the judge’s cards by scores of (115-113, 114-113 and 115-113). De Carolis scored a flash knock down in the opening round, and he appeared to outbox Feigenbutz in the early going, but the 20 year old German champion came on in the later rounds.

The first bout is described as one of the most crowd-pleasing bouts of the year in Germany, and De Carolis and many observers felt that the Italian had done enough to win.

De Carolis told German language website RAN.DE that he was more prepared for the re-match, and that due to the arrogance Feigenbutz displayed in the aftermath of the first fight, he was confident that he had won over some of the audience. Though De Carolis fell short of predicting victory, he promised a re-vamped strategy tailored to what he has learned about Feigenbutz, whom he termed immature and inexperienced.

The stage is set for Feigenbutz vs De Carolis 2, this Saturday January 9th in Offenburg, Germany. If you can get to the live event do it, if not you have SAT.1 in Germany airing the fights, and The Boxing Channel right back here for full results.

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2015 Knock Out of the Year – Saul Alvarez KO’s James Kirkland

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On May 9th of 2015, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez delivered a resonant knock-out of James Kirkland on HBO that wins the 2015 KO of the Year.

The knock-out itself came in the third round, after slightly more than two minutes of action. The end came when Alvarez delivered a single, big right hand that caught Kirkland on the jaw and left him flat on his back after spinning to the canvas.Alvarez was clearly the big star heading into the fight. The fight was telecast by HBO for free just one week after the controversial and disappointing Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao fight, and Alvarez was under pressure to deliver the type of finish that people were going to talk about. Kirkland was happy to oblige Alvarez, taking it right to Alvarez from the start. Kirkland’s aggression saw him appear to land blows that troubled the young Mexican in the early going. Alvarez played good defense, and he floored Kirkland in the first round, displaying his power and his technique in knocking down an aggressive opponent.

However, Kirkland kept coming at Alvarez and the fight entered the third round with both men working hard and the feeling that the fight would not go the distance. Kirkland continued to move forward, keeping “Canelo” against the ropes and scoring points with a barrage of punches while looking for an opening.

At around the two minute mark, Alvarez landed an uppercut that sent Kirkland to the canvas again. Kirkland got up, but it was clear that he did not have his legs under him. Kirkland was going to try to survive the round, but Alvarez had an opportunity to close out the fight. The question was would he take it?

Alvarez closed in on Kirkland, putting his opponent’s back to the ropes. Kirkland was hurt, but he was still dangerous, pawing with punches and loading up for one big shot.

But it was the big shot “Canelo” threw that ended the night. Kirkland never saw it coming, as he was loading up with a huge right hand of his own. The right Alvarez threw cracked Kirkland in the jaw, and his eyes went blank. His big right hand whizzed harmlessly over the head of a ducking Alvarez, providing the momentum for the spin that left Kirkland prone on the canvas.

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez went on to defeat Miguel Cotto in his second fight of 2015 and he is clearly one of boxing’s biggest stars heading into 2016. On May 9th Alvarez added another reel to his highlight film when he knocked out James Kirkland with the 2015 “Knock Out of the Year”.

Photo by naoki fukuda

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