Since recently moving to Dubai from my native Scotland, it has become increasingly difficult to stick to my diet of watching live boxing on a weekly basis. This is due mostly to the time difference between Dubai and America which dictates I must stay up all night to ensure I do not miss the action from across the Atlantic.
So I embarked on another of my nicotine and caffeine fuelled all nighters as I eagerly anticipated the Marquez and Alvarado encounter, my appetite already whetted from watching the British fight card in Cardiff, Wales which took place earlier in the evening.
In the interim few hours I went through my familiar routine of watching the HBO Boxing Greatest Hits compilations on You Tube. As usual I watched Manny Pacquiao’s as although I have committed every minute of the video to memory, his awe-inspiring performances never cease to amaze me. However, after becoming enthused by the recent incarnation of Floyd Mayweather and his more exciting, crowd pleasing style he has showcased in his last few fights I decided to watch his Greatest Hits as well. I have only watched once or twice before because, for the most part it is fair to say that I do not find his counter punching fighting style to be particularly aesthetically pleasing.
However, after watching a lot of archive footage, it soon became apparent that while Mayweather’s defensive mastery means he may not be as exciting as Manny Pacquiao, his rise through the weight classes to become a multi weight world champion in such a short space of time is as equally as impressive as the thrilling sequence of fights which saw Manny Pacquiao reign supreme all the way from super bantamweight (122lb) to light middleweight (154lb) from 2003 to 2010.
As fate would have it, after I finished watching Floyd Mayweather’s amazing career highlights compilation I stumbled across an interview featuring Floyd Mayweather Sr. After hearing Mayweather Sr struggle to speak in coherent sentences I was struck by a Eureka moment. The main reason Mayweather will not fight Manny Pacquiao is because he is a second generation fighter who is all too aware of how the brutality of boxing can leave such an indelible imprint on fighters after they retire from the sport.
Floyd Mayweather has, the vast majority of his career, obviously made such a conscious effort to have a conservative fighting style and carefully pick his opponents in order to avoid history repeating itself. Both his father and Uncle Roger are constant reminders of just how brutal the sport of boxing is and how damage suffered in your career can define your life in retirement. In short, he does not want to end up encountering the same problems such as slurred speech that plague his father and his uncle Roger in retirement.
Quite rightly so, and for this reason fights fans should not criticize his fighting style again.
The video footage- I have included the link- of Erik Morales and Manny Pacquiao’s second fight provide irrefutable evidence that Mayweather loves exciting, give and take battles between fighters who are prepared to put it all on line- guys who really ‘give the fans what they want to see’. So blown away by the epic action was Mayweather, at the end of the bout he actually jumps on top of his seat and applauds wildly at the efforts of those two great warriors.
Yet although Mayweather has the tools to employ such belligerent tactics, he is reticent to adopt such an aggressive strategy himself because he knows just how permanent the damage suffered by a career defined by hellacious wars can be. Like Mayweather, his Uncle Roger and father were classy technicians themselves but still, they suffer irreversible and permanent speech problems.
However his reticence to fight Manny Pacquiao is not without reason.
Mayweather has witnessed first-hand some of the distressing physical damage Manny Pacquiao has caused to men much bigger than himself, and obviously wonders about the mental toll this seemingly superficial and temporary physical damage will have later on the life of some previous Pacquiao opponents.
Despite being in his autumn years and suffering from a slight recession in power, Pacquiao has lost none of his speed, and has actually become a far more accurate and precise puncher as his career has progressed.
Add in his undiminished ability to ring off 10 punch plus combinations for the duration of a 12 round fight and the risk of suffering brain damage is a very real possibility for Pacquiao opponents. Mayweather knows that he would be able to hold his own against Pacquiao and repel a lot of his relentless attacks with his now trademarked shoulder roll technique. He also has unshakeable confidence in the conviction that he would be able to pepper the Filipino with hundreds of precision counter punches, right hand leads and left hooks.
However, Mayweather, especially at his advanced age, is also painstakingly aware that Manny Pacquiao would penetrate his defence and land of hundreds of surgically accurate punches on him as well.
It is a certainty that both men would bear the brunt of blunt force physical trauma if they were to face each other. The inevitability of heavy, perhaps lasting, physical punishment even in victory for Mayweather, is enough to turn him his attention away from a fight with Manny Pacquiao.
In facing Pacquiao, the risk far outweighs the reward for Floyd, and concerns about his long term health will always prevail. Floyd Mayweather cannot be blamed for the wanting to preserve his health. As he has already stated, ‘Money means nothing when you must walk with a limp for the rest your life’. Wiser words have never been said by the articulate and intelligent Floyd Mayweather.
He only has to take one look at his father, and a cursory glance at his uncle, to realise that fighting someone with the prowess of Pacquiao is a bad idea- no matter how many hundreds of millions are on the table.
The slurred speech of his father Floyd Snr and his uncle Roger will talk far more loudly than the lavish amounts of money on offer in any discussion about a potential fight with Manny Pacquiao.
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