Saturday’s big winners, losers each have different paths to travel
By: Mike Sloan: It’s been a few days since the events inside the MGM Grand unfolded. The world knows by now that Floyd Mayweather worked harder than he ever had in his life to secure a victory over Miguel Cotto and Shane Mosley was beaten up soundly by the young, undefeated Saul Alvarez. Most inside the sport think they know what the best options are for each of the four main event fighters, but not everything in boxing goes as planned.
For starters, it’s obvious that the world’s greatest boxer, Floyd Mayweather, won’t be hanging around the sport he loves for much longer. He said after his win over Cotto that he expects to fight until he’s about 38, but at the end of the post-fight press conference, he intimated that unless his next opponent is Manny Pacquiao, there’s really no point in continuing. At the moment when Mayweather walked away from the dais, it was both visible and audible that he briefly held back tears.
Is it plausible that Mayweather, the box office blockbuster who generates tens of millions of dollars each time he risks his life, could walk away from boxing for good if the mega fight with “Pac Man” never materializes?
He’s hinted at permanent retirement for years and actually walked away from hand-to-hand combat after eradicating the short-lived legend of Carlos Baldomir. Obviously he came back to boxing, but Floyd has made it abundantly clear that he wants to live the rest of his life with his family, with his mind and bearings in check. Staying around for too long to appease the critics or his checkbook would be foolhardy considering how many of yesterday’s great (and obscure) fighters have suffered brain injuries.
Naturally the world covets a Mayweather-Pacquiao showdown more than anything else. That fight alone would break every fathomable record the sport has ever seen and, if done right, could generate so much more interest in a sport that is slowly becoming more and more a niche avenue of entertainment. Mayweather needs not to retire because his events are usually so much fun, what with all the pre-hype build-up and all. Plus, like in the minds of those who love pure boxing, watching Mayweather’s immeasurable skillset on display is the most dynamic aspect of this great sport. Like Pernell Whitaker, his talents will be sorely missed when he steps away for good.
However, blame shouldn’t be cast toward Mayweather if he does choose to walk away from boxing provided the Pacquiao fight never occurs. There’s much blame to give to various parties, but if Mayweather never dukes it out with the popular Filipino, who is there really for him to fight? And, more importantly, who would be available to not only give him a tough fight but also have a moderate chance of beating him?
Sergio Martinez has always had trouble with movers and he’d be out-boxed. “Canelo” Alvarez is still too green and though his future is so bright he needs to wear shades, his defense – or lack thereof – would be exploited. Timothy Bradley is intriguing but he’s just not on Floyd’s level. Andre Ward is three weight classes too big and anybody below welterweight are either too tiny or too inexperienced. The only possibility is Pacquiao and that fight will (hopefully) happen on Cinco de Mayo weekend 2013. If Floyd trounces him in the manner that the author of this piece believes, he’ll ride off into the sunset with a perfect record and as one of the greatest this sport has ever seen.
As for Cotto, he still has quite a bit of fight left. His loss to Pacquiao aside, Mayweather was really the only other person to beat the Puerto Rican, and Cotto fought Floyd better than anybody else thus far. True, Mayweather’s fights with Oscar de la Hoya and Jose Luis Castillo (the first one) were very close and competitive, but neither made Floyd fight the way Cotto did on Saturday. Yes, Cotto lost but he didn’t take the hellacious type of beating like he did against Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito, who later was found to have loaded gloves, making his entire career suspicious. And speaking of how Margarito does anybody remember when was the guy to beat Mayweather and how he was the best at 147? Funny how things eventually unfolded.
Cotto has nothing to be ashamed of and he’ll find himself in the middle of several more sizeable fights in the future. Whether it be against Pacquiao again, or Mayweather a second time, or someone else at or around the junior middleweight limit, his fights will continue to be big events. His career is not over and he is far from shot; he just happened to lose to the best fighter of this era.
On the flip side, the same can’t be said for 40-year old “Sugar” Shane Mosley, who got his rear end handed to him by Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. Mosley has lost badly before but never has he taken the sort of savage beating dished out by young Canelo. Mosley was hurt repeatedly and at several points in the contest it wouldn’t have been inconceivable had trainer Naazim Richardson cut his losses and rescued his battered fighter.
In fact, looking at the fight again, Richardsonshould have thrown in the towel because Mosley had no prayer against Alvarez late in the fight. That “puncher’s chance” or “lucky shot” most boxing writers typically refer to is virtually non-existent and almost never happens (doubters of that fact, please look it up). It was never going to happen against Alvarez and he should have been saved three or four rounds of unnecessary punishment. Hopefully Mosley does the right thing and finally hangs up his gloves for good. He’s a shot fighter and he’s got his sons with which to spend the rest of his life. He should be able to enjoy it and actually know what’s going on around him.
And if Shane tries to come back one more time, there needs to be a team of people who actually care about him to prevent this. It’s unclear if it is because his nose has been broken so many times and his nasal cavities are crushed, but it sounded before the fight like he’s already started slurring his words. Hopefully all parties involved (we’re looking at you,Texas, and other states with lousy commissions) prevent Mosley from making a living as a prize fighter.
To close it out, how great is Alvarez going to be? He’s got the looks, the skills, the charisma; he’s got it all. He’s crude, still, but he’s only a kid at 21-years of age. He’s got plenty of time to blossom into the full-fledged second coming of Julio Cesar Chavez thatMexicohas been dying for ever since “J C Superstar” lost his skills to Father Time. Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales and the Brothers Marquez (Juan Manuel and Rafael) all came close, but only Canelo has that ultra rare “it” quality that not even Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. possesses.
On the flip side, expect Alvarez to steadily improve upon his outings and take on tougher competition in due time. With that said, don’t be surprised to see Canelo still toppling quality fighters who are not among the elite; that part will come once he has someone with at least a modicum of his popularity. For the time being, any real threat to Canelo’s marketing appeal will be looked over if it’s in the form of a worthy, credible opponent who has not been promoted properly.
Will Alvarez eventually lock horns with Mayweather? It’s unlikely due to age and weight differences. However, an appealing matchup is Carlos Quintana, a man who indirectly called out Alvarez prior to dismantling DeAndre Latimore on Saturday. Cotto and Alvarez both have seemingly endless options in terms of opponents, but Mayweather truly only has one. Mosley realistically only has one option as well, but it’s not against someone like Pacquiao; it’s against himself and that option is to finally retire.
You can also contactMike Sloanat www.facebook.com/mikesloan19 or follow him on Twitter @mikesloan19
May 9, 2012