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“30 Days in May:” The Ups and Downs of Floyd Mayweather

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Showtime cameras followed Floyd Mayweather between May 5 and August 5 last year, and caught the fighter battling himself, his out-of-the-ring demons, as he looked at a three months jail stint for having a fight with his ex. Mayweather was sentenced in December 2011 for a September 2010 incident involving the mother of three of his four kids and fight fans got to see him dealing with the looming incarceration up close and intimate, in an hour-long documentary called “30 Days in May.”

In the opening scene, we see Floyd enroute to jail, on June 1. He complains to a pal that people stab people and get similar time, and that there were no marks on his ex. “Sometimes shit happens,” he says, getting out of the ‘woe is me’ mode. Floyd heads into court, and he says that the time away will show him who’s really in his corner. We see him cuffed, and led out of court.

Floyd, doing a voiceover,  said he dreamed that he’d put butts in seats like Tyson, Ali, Sugar Ray. He gets his hands wrapped for the Miguel Cotto fight, does pads to get sweaty with Roger, heads into the ring. His pal 50 Cent’s face is blurred out, as he strolls to the ring holding Floyd’s belt. Did he not sign a release, or did Floyd ask for the blurrage as payback for their beef? We don’t know.

The cameras saw Floyd showering, and we saw his butt. He said he drank Mountain Dew after his win and he washed three or four times to make sure he didn’t have blood on him. Justin Bieber is seen chilling with Floyd’s kids, and then with the boxer. “This is the future of entertainment,” Floyd says, clapping Biebs.

Mayweather is asked postfight about a Pacquiao fight. He says he is his own boss and Pacman has a boss he answers to. Lamenting music, melancholic keyboards, play while Floyd heads to his pad. That musical tone hangs over basically the entire film, as the atmosphere isn’t electric, charged, upbeat.

He sits on a sofa, muses 26 days before jail. “it’s gonna be what it’s gonna be,” he says, his tightened face betraying an inner worry.

The family chows down, and we hear Floyd’s mom Deborah Sinclair talks about tough times growing up. She doesn’t like people mistaking his kindness for weakness, she says.

Mayweather says we do get wiser as we get older; I used to think that was a given, now I know better. It is implied that with him doing time at 35, this might not be the case for him, either.

We see stacks of green in the crib, and Hasim Rahman gushes about Money. They talk about who he’ll fight next, Andre Berto or Victor Ortiz. Floyd says he thought about being richer than The Jackson when he was little; I guess he did beat Marlon, Randy, Tito, and Jermain, and of course, stacks aren’t doing Michael any bit of good now.

He gets a mani and pedi and declares himself down to earth, getting zapped by a little Bravo style editing.

At the Mayweather Boxing Club, a cousin talks about growing up in Grand Rapids. A pal says that Floyd cares about training kids, and he “gives back.” The pal says the fighter is good for Vegas, for the economy, mainly.

“I don’t think I’m untouchable,” he admits. “I think I’m blessed.” He attends a Drake show and is mobbed by picture takers. “No one owes me nothing..but respect that’s all I ask. I’ve been good to this city…not good, great,” he says. He brings about a billion dollars in three days around fighttime, he supposes.

Floyd says there are a lot of leeches out there. He tells Drake to be true to himself, and thinks he can be a legend. He took his two boys and his daughter to see the entertainer and calls it a “great night.”

The boxer says that he’s often quiet. We see him watching a news story on his case, on his sentence being postponed. His missus, Miss Jackson, says she doesn’t talk much about the stint. “I know it’s on his mind,” she says. “I honestly don’t think he’s ready,” she says, haltingly, with refreshing candor. Being alone will be tough for him, she says, with him being a people pleaser.

He’s outgoing when more people are around, with them two, it’s mellow, she says. The stint could seem like “a lifetime” because he will be told what to do. He might chafe at being told what to do, she says. “I don’t know how well that’s gonna sit with Floyd,” she says. “I think this time might change some thing. I think it will make him listen to himself more.”

He talks about who is around him, friends, staff. Fifteen days before jail, he talks about hookups. He likens girls to cars, and says he can take care of a bunch of cars at the same time. Miss Jackson says she lets him be him, and that’s cool.

Floyd says people judge without knowing him. He goes on a radio show, in Atlanta, and they marvel over his husky bodyguard. They ask about his “vacation” coming up. He says he will turn the negative into a positive and live in the moment.

He hits a strip club, and throws cash at girl’s bum. In a hotel room, Floyd dances and half naked and fully naked ladies prance about. He poses and makes muscles while hotties grind around him. Pal Jackie Long says he hooks his pals up with trips, and lots of goodies. We see Floyd’s closet, and he has tons of clothes.

In another hotel room, after clubbing, Floyd and the gang chills. “If you smoke marijuana, just don’t do it around me,” he says. He doesn’t drink, he says, and that’s why he’s lasted so long, he says. “Why shouldn’t I have fun,” he asks. “I play hard, I’m going to work harder, so, I like to play.”

He says when the party fades, he’s still comfortable.

Ten days before jail, he is seen. Mom says “he’s learning.”

He is seen with Bieber, during his daughter’s birthday bash. Then he plays some blackjack and cashes in chips. A guy comes up to him and asks, “Can you punch my wife in the face?” and he grimaces, as he’s exiting a casino.

Floyd is now in the weight room. Then, in a pool, Floyd says HBO is “foul.” He says he is seen like a prostitute, and knows he will get dumped when he’s not fresh.

He’s the most powerful person in boxing, he says, as we see him on D day, the night he’s headed to Clark County Detention. He juggles some bill stacks, goofs around, and a pal says that Floyd seems fine with doing the stint.

Uncle Roger says he is sort of unclear on what happened to land Floyd in jail. The sun rises, and Floyd says maybe he’s getting punished for something else he’s done in his life. He gets his head shaved and rails against his sentence. He says he won’t be rude in jail, and will conduct himself “like a gentleman.” Miss Jackson says Floyd didn’t do the crime and shouldn’t do the time. “How can a lie get so far,” she says. Do they not like him, maybe because he’s black and successful? “I think, is that really what it is?”

He hands out cash to a few folks, and is in a car, headed to the pokey. Being black, rich and outspoken means there are three strikes against him in the court, he says. He says the charges are trumped up, and in cuffs, is ushered to the pen.

Miss Jackson says she thought maybe he’d get a slap on the wrist, like Lindsay Lohan. We hear a TV news show talking about his lawyers’ appeal to soften his time, because he complained about the conditions. Another pal says the charges weren’t righteous.

We see a local NBC report talking about his release, which came a month early.

He says he didn’t care about money in the pen, he just cared about being free, about walking in the park. He said he asked every night to be let out. “I got through it,” he said. He exits the center, and hugs his pals and kids. He drives away, a camera in the back seat. “That was the best night of my life,” he says, better than winning a title. “You can’t stop me,” he repeats, jacked up, while driving home. He insists he’s a different person, but he says he got madder and madder in jail. “Mentally I’m effed up from the situation,” he said.

He gets a pedi, chows, and rails still about the stint. He doesn’t care about the backlash, he says. “Tough times don’t last, tough people do,” he says.

My takeaways: Props to Showtime for getting all this material. I don’t believe it changed how I see Floyd much if at all. He didn’t show a much softer side, let down the guard, admit to fears and insecurities. He did admit that he prayed to get out of jail, but we knew with his request for better conditions that he wasn’t caring for the term. We knew he didn’t agree with the sentence and that all along, he’s protested that his ex didn’t have any marks on her, and that the absence of marks indicates an absence of guilt. The biggest helping of candor came from Miss Jackson, who admitted she didn’t know if he was ready to be away from the adoring posse, in a place where he wasn’t in control. I’d be curious to know how he reacted to her candor. My wife took in some of the material, pronounced Floyd a not nice word, and left the room. I think that’s sort of mission accomplished for him; he’s a button pusher, and when he fights Robert Guerrero next month, my wife will be watching, rooting for Guerrero to lay some humility on Mayweather.

Your thoughts, readers?

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In Dismantling Povetkin, Joshua Recaptured His Swag among the Heavyweights

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He was in against a very crafty and experienced opponent in former WBA titlist Alexander Povetkin 34-2 (24). And although he was troubled by the dangerous Russian fighting small as he tried to inch his way in and time him, AJ adjusted well and started to take the initiative and dropped and stopped Povetkin in the seventh round, retaining his WBA, WBO, and IBF heavyweight titles and thus becoming the first fighter to ever stop Povetkin, something Wladimir Klitschko failed to do.

During the fight AJ was forced back. He had to adapt to Povetkin making him punch down and that caused him to be a little tentative, especially after being bloodied from a broken nose in the first round. And early on, AJ was a little confused and busy trying to keep Povetkin occupied from outside so he couldn’t get in on him. His most effective weapon in doing such was his left jab, delivered to the head or body, although the fight really turned when he began putting his one-two together. Then after a fairly evenly-paced bout, AJ slowed some with the hope it would lure Povetkin to close in a little harder, and he did.

As Povetkin, who came to fight, became more assertive, he became more vulnerable. AJ found the openings for his big right hand and left hook. With the first really solid right hand that bounced off his chin, Povetkin buckled and instinctively went back. Joshua pursued him and then, with near Joe Louis-like accuracy, put his right hands and hooks together, along with a beautiful right to the body in the middle of the assault and finished his game opponent.

Once again it was shown that trading with AJ is almost certain suicide. Povetkin was in great shape and would’ve been a handful for any other heavyweight in the world because he no doubt brought his A-game. Sometimes it takes AJ a little while to get going, and if you don’t do anything to bother him or wake him up, he doesn’t fight with the urgency of a “Smokin” Joe Frazier. However, when you wake him up and force him to cut loose, he’s so dangerous that he doesn’t need too many clean shots to end it. And making Joshua more lethal is that he has both short and inside power in both hands.

After months of hearing how Povetkin was the most serious threat to Joshua, that’s now finished business. Prior to the bout The Ring magazine rated the top six heavyweights in the world as follows…..Joshua, Wilder, Povetkin, Ortiz, Whyte and Parker, in that order. Now Joshua is 3-0 (2) versus Povetkin, Whyte and Parker which squashes the narrative that he has fought weaker opposition than WBC title holder Deontay Wilder 40-0 (39) who has only faced Ortiz among the top six.

Today, the most widely levied criticism of any elite fighter is that he didn’t fight the best man or men in his division. Fighters can’t control who their contemporaries are but they can control fighting the best of their era. Rocky Marciano’s era wasn’t stellar, but he fought every top fighter who was in line to challenge him. Floyd Mayweather fought in a stout era – the difference is an overwhelming majority of his bouts with big name opponents were strategically manipulated so that he faced them on the downside of their career – and that’s a fact, not a theory.

Forty years after his last victory in a title fight, Muhammad Ali is respected and revered as a fighter even by those who don’t claim to be a fan of his. Why? He wasn’t the most fundamental boxer in heavyweight history nor was he the biggest puncher, and not all of his fights were edge of your seat exciting. The thing that’s often cited as to why he was a marvel is that he fought the best of the best during one of the deepest eras in heavyweight history. There were a few times between 1975-77 that he held a win over every fighter ranked among The Ring magazine’s top-10. Sure he fought a few Brian London’s and Jean Pierre Coopman’s, but London was encompassed by Sonny Liston and Ernie Terrell during the 1960s and Coopman by Joe Frazier and Ken Norton during the 1970s.

Anthony Joshua hasn’t yet sniffed the greatness of Ali on many levels, but he is on the same trajectory in regards to meeting and defeating the best of his generation. By the end of this month, the WBC heavyweight title fight between Deontay Wilder and former champ Tyson Fury will likely become official with them meeting in early December. And regardless of who wins, Joshua, if he really wants to etch a great legacy, must pressure the winner to meet him in their next bout. In addition to that, he must tell his brain, aka Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn, to forget about winning the purse war if it is the only stumbling block. If the winner of Wilder-Fury is impressive, he will have earned a 50-50 split.

During the faux negotiations between the Joshua and Wilder camps this past summer the purse split was the focal point. And prior to the prospect of Wilder and Fury meeting, Joshua clearly held the better hand based on his resume and owning three titles to Wilder’s single title.  But the Wilder-Fury winner will have closed the gap and Joshua needs to be next while the fighters are at or near their prime. The fact is Joshua versus the Wilder/Fury winner will be the most widely anticipated fight in the heavyweight division since Lewis-Tyson and maybe even since Tyson-Holyfield I. The onus is on the fighters to make it happen and they both have the clout to make sure it does, especially Joshua.

Interviewed in the ring after dispatching Povetkin, AJ said it didn’t matter to him who he fought next as long as it’s Wilder or Fury, but it was obvious that he preferred Wilder. A lot depends on how Wilder fares with Fury, but until then, here’s what we know…..Alexander Povetkin and Luis Ortiz are about on the same level; having never faced each other, it’s a tossup as to who’d win. Both Joshua and Wilder scored impressive stoppages over Povetkin and Ortiz respectively…AJ needed seven rounds and Deontay needed ten rounds. During his bout with Ortiz, Wilder was knocked around the ring and had to endure a few big exchanges, some of which he came out second-best. Wilder was also nearly stopped in the seventh round but battled back, summoning great courage and reserve to win a fight he was losing. Against Povetkin, Joshua was more troubled than he was beaten up. And once he found his range and pace and began putting his punches together, the fight ultimately ended when AJ got off with his best stuff. In essence, Joshua was more impressive against Povetkin and had fewer close calls than did Wilder against Ortiz.

Between now and the time Wilder fights Tyson Fury, it’ll be debated as to who was more impressive – Joshua against Povetkin or Wilder against Ortiz; the answer is clearly Joshua for the reasons stated. Moreover, when analyzing a fight, A + B doesn’t equal C. Joshua will be favored over either Wilder or Fury, but probably along the line of 7-5 and nothing will change that.

The thing that emerged from Joshua dismantling Povetkin is that AJ recaptured some of the limelight and swag he ceded to Wilder this past March. AJ is again the fighter to beat in the heavyweight division and will probably get the bigger purse split regardless of whether he faces Wilder and Fury.

That said, he better not let the fight fall through over it!

Between 1977 and 1982, Frank Lotierzo had over 50 fights in the middleweight division. He trained at Joe Frazier’s gym in Philadelphia under the tutelage of the legendary George Benton. Before joining The Sweet Science his work appeared in several prominent newsstand and digital boxing magazines and he hosted “Toe-to-Toe” on ESPN Radio. Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@gmail.com

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Tanaka vs. Kimora: A Monday Morning Treat For Serious Fight Fans

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Kosei Tanaka was just 4-0 the first time he was appraised on The Sweet Science back in 2015; the question then was, is Tanaka the world’s brightest boxing prospect? The question now is whether or not Tanaka is about to add a strap at a third weight to an already glittering career that has seen him annex belts at 105 and 108lbs in just his first eight fights.

Now 11-0 with seven knockouts he prepares, this coming Monday, to duel Sho Kimura in Nagoya, Japan and with a lot more than just the WBO trinket on the line.

Hearts and minds, as always, translate into dollars and yen. The winner of this all-Japanese contest will find himself buoyed in fame, glory and gold in his home country, which also happens to be one of the few places on the planet where a boxer can collect a small fortune without ever leaving his native shores. Should the winner dare to dream a wider dream, then that too can be facilitated by the win.  Even fistic denizens of boxing strongholds in Japan and Britain feel a shiver run down their spines when the words “Las Vegas headliner” are whispered into their ear.

The favored man among the hardcore in the west is Tanaka. He is still very young at just twenty-three years old and is slick and quick, what the west expects of a Japanese force. Interestingly enough, however, the Japanese seem to be leaning towards Kimura: older, at twenty-nine, armed with a superb work-rate, good power, limited technique but the conqueror of Chinese superstar Shiming Zou who he stopped in the summer of 2017. Zou may have had his bubble burst by the Thai brawler Amnat Ruenroeng in 2015, but it was Kimura who sent him stumbling into retirement and at a time when the talk was of China stealing Japan’s thunder as boxing’s home in the east.

Kimura was indeed impressive that night in Shanghai. He maintained pressure with wonderful variety, eschewing the jab, perhaps, for spells, but filling those gaps with an assortment of wonderful punches, most of all his body attack, which was persistent, withering, and apparently went unscored by two of the three judges who somehow had the Chinese ahead at the time of the eleventh round stoppage. Zou had shown a skill for flurrying while fleeing and Kimura had shown him how to fight.

Now a strapholder at 112lbs, Kimura staged two defenses in the following twelve months. The first was against Toshiyuki Igarashi, the man who beat Sonny Boy Jaro, the man who had beaten the superb champion Pongsaklek Wonjongkam before a softer fight against Froilan Saludar. He won both by stoppage.

Kimura, then, rather came from nowhere but made the most of his arrival. What he displayed in all three of these fights was a determination to offer pressure and footwork educated enough to do it while taking many fewer steps than his harried opponent. A tad overrated as a puncher, I suspect, he places himself in hitting position often enough that his default fight plan – chase, harass, throw – makes him capable of hurting his opponents by way of persistence and pressure.

He left Zou, Igarashi and Saludar, broken in his wake.

In short, he is the type of opponent Kosei Tanaka has been waiting for.

There have been calls for Tanaka to be considered a pound-for-pound talent should he overcome Kimura this Monday. I understand the impulse. Tanaka, were he to triumph, would become a three-weight world champion and he hails from a boxing territory which has little direct control over the meaningful pound-for-pound lists, if such a statement is not a contradiction in terms.

In short, it is felt he would be undervalued.

Tempering these calls is the fact that he has never beaten a divisional number one and that Kimura would be, by far, the best opponent he would have bested, and the most proven. Some Tanaka opponents have come good after he defeated them, some were ranked in the lower reaches of their respective divisional top tens when he matched them, but none are scalps as impressive as those dangled by the likes of Errol Spence or Anthony Joshua, who populate the nine, ten and eleven spots in reputable lists.

But this is neither here nor there; the key is not what Kimura does not represent, it is what he does represent. He is the best that Tanaka has met and, I would argue, the first truly elite fighter that Tanaka has met. He is the litmus test and he is one with a stylistic advantage.

Tanaka can punch. Here we will find out whether or not he punches hard enough to keep Kimura off him. Personally, I doubt it and that means that Kimura is going to hand him a serious gut check.

Interestingly, it will not be Tanaka’s first. The first time I wrote about him I stressed that his chin was essentially untested. That is no longer true. Tanaka, who is reasonably sound defensively, can be lazy in minding himself and foolish in pursuing the attack.

Thai puncher Rangsan Chayanram checked him in 2017, delivering a serious eye injury among other ignominies before succumbing in nine; puncher Angel Acosta, a ranked fighter if not a great one, hit and hurt Tanaka repeatedly late in their 2017 contest. If Tanaka has been learning these lessons, expectations concerning his potential may be realized. If he is not, he will fall short. Kimura is the man to test him.

Kimura’s experience and seemingly limitless twelve-round stamina are to be pitted against Tanaka’s skill, proven heart and taut footwork. It sees a superior technician – Tanaka – who has shown a propensity for being drawn into a cruder fighter’s wheelhouse matching an aggressive stalker – Kimura – who specializes in drawing technically superior foes into knockdown-drag-out scraps.

It is framed both as a fight that is likely to finish a future pound-for-pounder’s education and a fight where a young pretender is found out by a grizzled veteran.

Best of all, it is a fight that fight fans can watch for free, simply by clicking here.  The Asian Boxing website has secured exclusive international rights to the fight and will broadcasting it, free of charge, to anyone with an internet connection. As can be seen here, the fight is due to start at 4pm Japanese time.

All the reader has to do is find out what that means for timing in their own corner of the globe and a potential fight of the year will unfold before his or her eyes free of charge.

World class boxing being broadcast for free and including two of the best below 115lbs; a stylistic crossroads contest that opens up the on-ramp to pound-for-pound recognition for at least one of the combatants – on a Monday.  All facts worth keeping in mind the next time that someone tells you boxing’s prime was any number of decades ago.

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Fast Results From London: Joshua Takes Out Povetkin in the 7th

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UK sporting

It was a very wet night at Wembley Stadium, but the dampness didn’t diminish the enthusiasm of the crowd which welcomed UK sporting hero Anthony Joshua into the ring with a thunderous ovation. And Joshua didn’t disappoint. After six relatively even rounds, he found his range in the seventh and became the first man to stop Alexander Povetkin. A three punch combo that began with an overhand right sent Povetkin sprawling into the ropes. The Russian beat the count, but Joshua smelled blood and as soon as the ref allowed the proceedings to continue he moved in for the kill. The official time was 1:59.

Povetkin started fast and in the eyes of many observers won the first three rounds. A sharp right hand in the waning seconds of round one reddened Joshua’s nose which leaked blood in the next round. The tide began to turn in round four when Povetkin suffered a cut above his left eye.

Povetkin (now 34-2), was the lighter man by 23 pounds. Joshua had a four inch height advantage and a seven inch reach advantage. And it mattered greatly that AJ was the younger man by 10-plus years. Povetkin wasn’t intimidated by Joshua and had several good moments but, at age 39, his reflexes betrayed him once the fight had crossed the midpoint.

Joshua, who owns three of the four meaningful heavyweight title belts, improved to 22-0 with his 21st stoppage. His next fight is penciled in for April 13 of next year against an opponent to be determined. His promoter Eddie Hearn has reserved that date at Wembley Stadium.

Other Bouts

In a 12-round lightweight bout, Joshua’s Olympic Games teammate and fellow gold medalist Luke Campbell (19-2) avenged the first loss of his career with a unanimous decision (119-109, 118-111,116-112) over France’s Yvan Mendy (40-5-1). This was Campbell’s second start since coming up short in a bid for Jorge Linares’s lightweight title and his first fight under his new trainer Shane McGuigan.

In their first meeting in December of 2015 at London’s O2 Arena, Mendy won a split decision that should have been unanimous. Campbell insisted that he had improved greatly in the interim and tonight’s fight bore witness. However, he needs to develop a harder punch to rank among the top lightweights in the world, a list headed by Mikey Garcia. As this fight was framed as a WBC title eliminator, Campbell is next in line to meet Garcia, but Mikey has indicated that he will pursue bigger game.

Lawrence Okolie, a 2016 Olympian who trains with Anthony Joshua, won a Lonsdale belt in only his 10th pro start with a 12-round decision over defending BBBofC cruiserweight champion Matty Askin in a messy fight. The undefeated Okolie had a point deducted in round five for leading with his head and had two more points deducted for holding, but banked enough rounds to get the nod on all three cards: 116-110, 114-112, and 114-113. Askin, who declined to 23-4-1, had won five straight heading in.

A 10-round heavyweight match between Sergey Kuzmin (13-0, 1 NC) and David Price (22-6) ended suddenly when Price retired on his stool after four relatively even rounds. The six-foot-eight, china-chinned Price claimed to have aggravated a biceps tear.

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