Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for a Floyd Mayweather Jr boxing match. And love it or hate it that means that boxing discussion over the next few months is going to be dominated by talk of him, his career, his opponents, his personal life, his place in history, his matchmaking and pretty much anything else both his “haters” and “fanboys” can think of to say about him. Opinion is certainly polarized; to some he’s the greatest of all time, a masterful boxer better than any to come before him who has never ducked or avoided anyone. To others he is a sham, a fraud, a boxer who cherry picks overmatched opponents, ducks anyone who may be a danger to him and who wins matches by running from his opposition. It’s easy to get lost in the chaos of a discussion about Mayweather Jr so below are a series of pointers on how to navigate a discussion about Mayweather without looking like a fanboy, hater or fool.
On a separate forum a discussion once arose about who was the “manliest man in boxing”. You can guess the names that were involved… the hard hitting, chain smoking, beer drinking, wildly (but incredibly non-politically correct) entertaining Ricardo Mayorga. The hard hitting brawler Marcos Maidana. The tough, uncompromising former marine Ken Norton. The wonderfully moustached original heavyweight champion John L Sullivan. I even put forward my own suggestion, one of my favourite boxers of all time, Daniil Peretyatko (and after seeing this photo of sheer unbridled masculinity at it rawest I don’t see how many can disagree). And then someone joking put forward Paulie Malignaggi as a suggestion and got a couple of laughs.
I sat there and I thought about it. And then I thought about it some more.
And now I think Paulie Malignaggi may be the manliest man in boxing…
After Miguel Cotto’s impressive win over Delvin Rodriguez I speculated that his next bout would be a contest with either Mexican superstar Saul Alvarez or 160lbs ruler Sergio Martinez. Over the past few days the news that has come out appears to indicate that Martinez and Cotto will match up when Martinez returns from his injury enforced layoff.
So Team Cotto likes the fight, but what about Martinez and his handlers? Count him in, adviser Sampson Lewkowicz told ESPN.com on Monday. He said Martinez definitely wants the fight.
“I won’t negotiate the fight through the press, that’s not good,” he said. “So the only thing is that Sergio will accept the fight because he wants to fight the best and Miguel Cotto is one of the best. There is no question about it, and it would be a competitive fight. We’d love it. We have a Plan B, but Plan A is definitely Cotto.”
The timing of having the fight in June works well for Martinez, Lewkowicz said. Martinez is recovering from knee surgery and is expected to be able to fight by April, but he would happily wait until June, Lewkowicz said.
Yep, he still has it.
Miguel Cotto, now under the auspices of Freddie Roach, delivered what I guess you have to consider a “vintage” performance as he blasted out the normally durable Delvin Rodriguez in three one-sided rounds.
The bout was all Cotto from the bell. Before the contest Rodriguez had said that he needed to stand his ground and hurt Cotto with something if he wanted to win the bout but he never got a chance. Cotto came out, aggresively closed the distance behind his jab and then started to batter Rodriguez to the head and body, notably with his fabled left hook. There was no point where Rodriguez was able to get his own game… be it using his speed or jab from the outside or his ability to come forward and set a high pace… going. If over recent years Cotto has come to resemble a boxer/puncher working behind his excellent jab this was a throwback to the Cotto who thrilled us all at 140lbs, a relentless pressure fighter who pushes opponents to the ropes and then takes them apart.
The finish came early in the third, a Cotto right hand to the body blocked by Rodriguez’s left arm as Rodriguez missed a right hand counter which left his chin exposed. Rodriguez immediately tried to fire back with his left hook but Cotto threw his own… and trying to go hook-for-hook with Cotto is a mistake for any boxer, especially when their chin is still in the air. Cotto’s landed first and demolished Rodriguez, leaving the Danbury, Connecticut helpless as he slid towards the floor, the referee mercifully stepping in.
And the results are in: click here for the results and analysis
Miguel Cotto is 32 years old.
He has a professional record of 37-4 and has held world titles in three different weight classes. He has at various times been seen as the best 140, 147 and 154lbs boxer in the world and even today, coming off two losses RING magazine (although the reputation of the Bible of Boxing has taken a battering in recent years) still rank him as the fourth best boxer in the world at his new home of 154lbs. By any measure that is an impressive record and at 32 the man is still in his physical prime.
So why was it that when I started thinking about how to open this piece I considered a somewhat trite “one last punch before dying” style sentence? Why was I thinking about viewing this bout as Cotto’s version of Dylan Thomas’ “Do not go gentle into that good night” full of lines about how Cotto would rage against the dying of the light? How this was one last act of defiance?