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Dear Floyd Mayweather, Everything In Life Is Not A Fight…BORGES

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MayweatherMosleyDCPC_Fusco_2Floyd Mayweather, Jr. is a gifted fighter, perhaps the best boxer in the world today, but if he is ever going to succeed in a lasting way in his life it is time he learns a lesson that seems to have eluded his grasp for 34 years.

It is a simple lesson really but often the simplest things are the most difficult. Take boxing, for example. At its most elemental it is a simple thing, one man trying to overwhelm another by breaking his spirit and, at times, his face.

Yet Mayweather understands it is nowhere near as simple as that. Prize fighting is not just some savagely brutal exercise. If it is done the way he and the other great practitioners of the dark trade do it, it is a science. A.J. Liebling called it the sweet science but there is seldom anything sweet about it except when someone like Mayweather is performing it like an artist. They are the ones who make the difficult look easy, the complex look simple.

There is nothing simple about prize fighting but there is a simple answer to the problems Floyd Mayweather, Jr. keeps heaping upon himself. Seven words can explain it: everything in life is not a fight.

Until Mayweather grasps that as completely as he has the intricacies of prize fighting he will continue to make problems for himself when they are not necessary and eventually pay a high price for wrestling with the world in that way.

The latest and clearest example of this is his refusal last week to show up for a simple deposition hearing ordered by a judge in the defamation suit filed against him by Manny Pacquiao. Mayweather asked to postpone it for whatever reason, which was his right, but Federal Magistrate Judge Robert Johnston denied his request, which was his right.

The simple thing would have been for Mayweather to show up, listen to the surely irritating questions asked by Pacquiao’s attorney, Daniel Petrocelli, and reply as often as sensible “I do not recall.’’

As many a fallen politician, Archbishop of Boston and Mafia Don has proven you can’t get yourself in much legal trouble saying “I don’t recall,’’ especially if you really do recall.

However, because he is, for the moment, young and rich and talented, Mayweather has come to believe the normal rules of society don’t apply. What would be a tragedy is if someone who frankly has always seemed to be a fragile kid in need of a hug from the first time I met him when he was an amateur kid hoping to make the U.S. Olympic team (which he did), blows up his life because he can’t learn the simplest thing: that life is not always a fight.

Life is a struggle. Life is filled with pain and disappointment and sometimes tragedy. On that level life is a fight. But every day does not need to be a fight nor can every problem be ignored or lashed out at.

Sometimes, just as in the ring, you need to slip the punches, not take them flush. Sometimes you need to retreat to get your equilibrium back. Sometimes you need to recognize where you are weak to become strong.

Mayweather has been in self-imposed exile from the one thing he has full control of – his ability to box – for nearly a year and a half. That is a waste of talent and earning power.

It is a result of personal choice and personal problems, some of which have him looking at possibly ending up in jail – which is not where he belongs or where he will best serve himself, his family or society.

Yet if he doesn’t wake up and learn to respect his enemy – which at the moment is the way he too often conducts his life outside the ring – he will end up someplace he should not be.

When a judge exercises his legal right to deny your request, whether you think it fair or not, the answer is not to act like a child and refuse to show up, as if you’re entitled to do whatever you want. As in boxing, the rules apply even to the most talented among us some times and this is one of those times.

Pacquiao’s defamation suit is not like dealing with some business opportunity where everyone involved is willing to kiss your ass in hopes of making money off you. This was a judge saying “No, I will not postpone this deposition hearing. Attend and answer the questions or say you don’t recall but be there.’’

Naturally, Petrocelli has gone on a PR campaign, claiming “he is just dodging his deposition because he’s afraid to testify.’’

He may be but what’s more likely is he simply didn’t like being told what to do and figured he’d defy authority because the rules don’t apply to Money Mayweather. Well, as Mike Tyson and Rep. Anthony Weiner and Bernie Madoff and the Catholic Church and an endless parade of people who thought they had become bullet proof because they were wealthy or talented or smart or revered found out, just when you least think the rules apply to you any more someone comes along and shows you they do.

Often it takes a while and many times innocent people get hurt along the way but eventually, if you keep treating your daily life as if it’s a fight or a reality show someone takes you down. Usually it’s yourself, which is the saddest part of what’s been going on with Floyd Mayweather, Jr. for some time.

As talented as he is, and until someone proves otherwise I believe he’s the most talented fighter of his generation, he cannot go undefeated in life if he makes every day a fight. Why he chose to defy a simple court order to appear at a deposition hearing resulting from things he allegedly said or implied about Pacquiao only he knows.

What I know is that if he doesn’t come to learn – and accept – the simplest fact of life – which is that if you make every day a fight one day you will lose and lose big – how it’s going to end for him is clear. It will end badly and he will have only himself to blame.

Not his enablers, who are many. Himself.

Recently Mayweather’s associates at Golden Boy Promotions, Richard Schaefer and Oscar De La Hoya, did a wise and simple thing. Instead of continuing to battle Pacquiao and his promoter, Bob Arum, over the issue of whether or not Pacquiao used performance enhancing drugs they did what a smart fighter like Mayweather has done so many times in the ring. They slipped the punches.

“Richard Schaefer and Oscar de la Hoya, on behalf of themselves and Golden Boy Promotions, wish to make it crystal clear that we never intended to claim that Manny Pacquiao has used or is using any performance enhancing drugs, and further state that we do not have any evidence whatsoever of such use,’’ they said in a statement that followed a twittered apology from De La Hoya to Arum and Pacquiao from a rehab center where he was wrestling with his own demons.

“Manny Pacquiao is one of the greatest fighters of all time, and we apologize if anyone construed our prior remarks as in any way claiming or even suggesting that Manny uses or has used performance enhancing drugs.”

Almost immediately Arum and Pacquiao accepted the apology and ended the lawsuit against them. The wise fighter – and there is no one wiser than Mayweather inside the ring – knows when the best course is to spin away.

That’s what Floyd Mayweather, Jr. needs to do now. Spin away from unneeded trouble. Attend the deposition hearing, issue the same kind of vague apology and suggest whatever differences exist between him and Pacquiao be settled in the ring.

That is the one place where every day is a fight. To continue to make every day outside the ring one too is a choice that no one who makes it can survive.

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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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