Fear of failure is why Floyd Mayweather Jnr will never fight Manny Pacquaio

The sheer volume of articles which have inevitably surfaced about a potential Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao super fight since the Filipino announced his comeback, with a ruthlessly efficient performance against Brandon Rios.

The vast majority of them have only really catered for the two main topics of; who would win and will the fight happen.

However, I have read some fascinating articles which have covered the contentious issue of why the fight has yet to materialise, despite it being the most anticipated match up in decades.

But not many times can I recall Floyd Mayweather Jnr’s fear of failure cited as the force which has separated the two men up until now. Now let me state, categorically, that I do not think Floyd Mayweather is scared of Manny Pacquiao. He isn’t.

But, I think his fears of failure are far more rational where the 34 year old Filipino is concerned.

Mayweather has known, as early as 2008, that Manny Pacquiao is the only man capable of damaging his undefeated record. And I truly believe that he still recognises Pacquiao as the only viable threat to his legacy. Irrespective of what he says in public, privately he knows Pacquiao still possesses the devilment that could spell disaster for his undefeated record.

On the other hand, Floyd also knows he has the skills which could expose Pacquiao. He would quite rightly be regarded as a betting favourite, if not a racing certainty, if he was to finally face Pacquiao. But it is this tiny element of doubt, which I think transforms Mayweather’s fear of failure from being his most positive motivational tool into his most crippling insecurity, where Manny Pacquiao is concerned.

He wants to be remembered in history as the greatest boxer to ever lace up a pair of gloves, so must be absolutely terrified of tainting his legacy with a defeat. Pacquiao has no such worries.

On the contrary, he would probably approach the fight free of trepidation, seeking comfort in the fact that he has already battled back from adversity on numerous occasions.

A loss would be a disaster for Mayweather. From a sporting perspective, the historical significance would be akin to the falling of the Twin Towers.

Whilst for Pacquiao, it would merely merit a shrug of the shoulders and statement to the effect of, ‘sometimes in boxing you win, sometimes you lose’ issued with characteristic humility, of course.

For better or worse, his defensive flaws define him just as much as his devastating speed and power do. His exciting style means he will be a box office attraction until he retires. The flipside though, is that he will also remain vulnerable to defeat until that day.

In contrast, Mayweather is totally reliant on his aura of invincibility to sell fights. His unblemished ring credentials compensate for his cautious, and at times, pretty tiring performances in prize fights. After all, how many times have we heard boos reverberate around the arena in a Floyd Mayweather world title fight?

Now this has as much to do with his opponent’s inability to force Mayweather to actually throw punches in order to defend himself, as much as it owes to his, at times, conservative approach.

But the Mayweather hype machine would malfunction if he were to cede his crown as an unbeaten fighter.

Again, Pacquiao has no reasons to be plagued by such fears- he was brutally knocked out just last year, and is still suffering the backlash from boxing fans and commentators around the world.

One of Pacquiao’s most endearing qualities, and greatest glories, is how he rises every time he falls. He lost his unbeaten record many years ago, suffering two knockout losses in his homeland before he ever stepped foot onto American soil.

Then, after arriving in the USA like a storm across the pacific, he struck terror into his opponents until, in 2005, he was finally stopped in his tracks by Erik Morales, who threatened to derail his career by exposing him as a one handed brawler, who could be backed up by bigger men in the heavier weight classes.

After that sobering defeat, he went on a 15 fight, six year unbeaten streak, dispatching many of the top names in the sport including two knockouts victories to gain revenge over Morales, as well as scoring wins of over Hall of Fame candidates; Oscar De La Hoya, Juan Manuel Marquez, Marco Antonio Barrera, Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton and Shane Mosley.

However, his world once again came crumbling down when his face crashed onto the canvas after being viciously knocked unconscious by Juan Manuel Marquez in their 4th fight, which lest we forget, followed on from his controversial point’s loss to Timothy Bradley.

Mayweather Jnr, on the other hand, has never had to deal with adversity in his boxing career. No knockouts. No defeats. He barely ever loses rounds. But by engaging in conflict with Manny Pacquiao, he has everything to lose.

Even though he is probably 99% confident he would win, he cannot eliminate that 1% of doubt that he could lose.

So if the ‘Greatest Fight that Never Was’ remains just, then I feel Floyd Mayweather’s fear of failure will be among the most decisive factors which contrived to keep the two men apart.

Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao: The web of spin

In contemporary society, the mainstream media’s engine runs almost entirely from the fuel of the PR pump, which spins stories and set agendas to suit the capitalist desires of the political and corporate elite.

Unfortunately, this culture of spin has long since pervaded the sporting arena and is particularly prevalent in boxing.

Floyd Mayweather Jnr is one athlete who understands exactly how to use the intricate mechanism of the modern PR machine to send out dominant messages in the media. Given his intimate knowledge of the methods of the modern media and public relations business, it is no surprise that he is the highest paid sportsman on the planet.

In his latest classic piece of spin, Mayweather was able to both propose that Pacquaio could be his next opponent, whilst simultaneously saying just enough to subtly suggest that he will definitely not be.

As part of this public relation master class he also managed to make it look like it was entirely Manny Pacquaio’s shortcomings that were responsible for denying the world the fight we need to see.

“I’ve got nothing bad to say to Manny Pacquiao,” Mayweather said to Hustleboss.com.

“The guy is 1-2 in his last 3 fights. I wish him only the best. I don’t know which company he’s with. I’m only focused on Mayweather Promotions. My focus is on May 3rd. I don’t know who my opponent is. If it’s Pacquiao, it’s Pacquiao. If it’s Amir Khan, it’s Amir Khan.”

The fact that Mayweather even has the gall to suggest that Pacquaio’s recent record renders him unworthy of being his next opponent is totally embarrasing. It is pure pretence.

Any intelligent, impartial boxing fan should be insulted that he expects the boxing public to buy such blatant posturing as a legitimate excuse not to fight Pacquaio in the near future.

In the very same breath he fell through the trap door of contempt when he mentioned Amir Khan as his next potential opponent. For a boxer like Mayweather, who seemingly has such unshakeable principles with regards to his opponents and their recent records, how could he possibly begin to justify Amir Khan as his next challenger?

The Bolton boxer has lost two of his last four fights and both of his recent, unconvincing, comeback performances have been against anything but elite level fighters in the virtually unknown Carlos Molina and age ravaged Julio Diaz.

In stark contrast the legendary Filipino, and ‘Fighter of the Decade’, was knocked out by an expertly executed counter punch by Juan Manuel Marquez- a future Hall of Fame certainty.

And as everyone knows, despite getting the decision against Pacquiao, Timothy Bradley barely won a round and was comprehensively out boxed in his decision ‘victory’, which gifted him Pac-Mans WBO Welterweight world title.

But, in the interests of objectivity, Pacquiao was due a dubious decision against him as he was outclassed by Marquez in their 3rd fight, prior to the Bradley contest, yet still got the decision.

However, in his recent comeback the Filipinos flame burned as brightly as it has in years as he battered Brandan Rios in an utterly dominating, if not destructive, performance. Yet, many quickly tried to extinguish his fire by pouring cold water on claims that the old Pac Man has returned after his commanding victory.

They insist that Rios’ relentless pressure fighting style was made to order for him, a point to which I totally agree with. Moreover, the Manny Pacquaio of old is gone and will never return.

Like the immortal saying in Rocky III, Pacquaio lost his edge when he became too ‘civilised’.

The way he let Rios of the hook in round 12 proves conclusively that the once ruthlessly violent streak that possessed him has now been replaced by a statesmanlike compassion and remorse.

But what the nature of his performance also proved beyond doubt is that despite losing his malice, the ferocious power, frightening hand speed and spell binding ability to ring off blistering combinations remain intact.

So yes, the old Manny Pacquiao is dead. But the current incarnation of the Filipino congressman still has enough to crush Floyd Mayweather Jnr’s unbeaten boxing credentials.

Floyd Mayweather Jnr knows this, and this why he will not fight Manny Pacquaio in the near future.

No amount of salacious spin should convince anyone in the boxing world otherwise

The road to redemption begins for Adrien Broner

The deafening silence from Adrien Broner in the wake of his humbling from Maidana has been drowned out by the din of rapturous applause which has greeted the ‘Problems’ first defeat. To say the boxing world has revelled in his adversity is an understatement.

The boxing press and public alike have gleefully announced his sobering defeat to Marcos Maidana as the death knell of career as an elite fighter in the welterweight divisions. And considering he will be unable to comfortably make the lightweight limit of 135lb, it is safe to assume that Adrien Broner is at a particularly precarious juncture in his young career.

But he remains defiant.

Finally Adrien Broner broke his silence and showed some signs of humility by personally issuing an apology for the way he tastelessly ran out of the ring after being badly beaten up and exposed by Marcos Maidana.

Broner said on his instagram “This is the face of a 3x world champion in 3 different weight divisions. I am a man and first of all I want to say I’m sorry for running out on all the fans after my fight.”

“That was wrong of me as a fighter. I want to congratulate team CHINO and I want to thank everybody that supported the fight. But I am not done. This is just a minor set-back for a major come back.#RematchTIME #TrueFIGHTER.”

However, to be fair to Broner, he did approach Maidana at the end of the fight, appearing to congratulate his counterpart on a career defining victory.

Still, a typhoon of negativity has threatened to engulf Broner, and he is still getting hit with flying debris as he sifts through the wreckage of his unbeaten ring resume. The groundswell of ill-will and animosity being directed to towards the former three-time world champion will force him to abandon his seemingly boundless arrogance and obnoxious demeanour. As I have already stated in a previous article, nobody is buying what Broner is selling any longer.

From the point of being exposed as being an entirely conquerable fighter, whose game is riddled with fundamental flaws, Broner’s veneer of invincibility has been totally eroded. Even before his humbling by Maidana, many fighters in the convoluted talent pool of the welterweight divisions, such as Kell Brook, had already dismissed the notion that he would be a force at 147 as pure fantasy.

Although Broner is in crisis, he is still unquestionably a world class operator. It is a true testament to his unlimited potential that his natural talent has taken him to the point where has won three world titles in three different divisions.

He now knows unequivocally that his natural talent has nothing left in the tank and cannot take him any further. He must now shoulder the burden and take responsibility for his talent by adding the further dimensions of hard work and dedication to his game or he will be risk becoming irrelevant in a prize fighting context- at least in the welterweight divisions.

But, the one by-product of his defeat to Marcos Maidana was that he did display the heart of a champion. On other hand, it is painfully apparent that he does not have the engine or the aggression of a truly elite fighter.

Perhaps a saving grace for Broner is that most of his flaws- in a boxing context, anyway- seem entirely fixable. Although his arrogance and lifestyle outside of the ring could be his Achilles Heel, he can still conceivably bounce back if he has the humility to realise that he must improve and adjust his fighting style.

Despite his obsessive and ultimately unsuccessful mimicry of Floyd Mayweather Jnr, Broner has neglected to copy the two fundamental cornerstone of his idols successful unbeaten career – hard work and dedication.

If he still has ambitions of taking over the mantle from Mayweather Jnr then the ‘Problem’ must be prepared to swallow his pride, re-dedicate himself to boxing and be malleable to change as the Road to Redemption is a long and arduous journey.

Fight fans, time to put your cards on the table: Is Adrien Broner willing and able to make a serious comeback and compete at Championship level in the welterweight divisions? And does he need Floyd Mayweather Snr in his corner to do so?

Where Does Gennady Golovkin Go Now?

Gennady Golokin, widely believed to be the best Middleweight in World, again enhanced his burgeoning reputation in the boxing world with his 15th straight knockout as Curtis Stevens retired on his stool in the 8th round of their world title fight last Saturday night at Madison Square Garden, New York, USA.

The 31 year old Kazakh, with a knockout percentage of 89%, the highest in middleweight history and most prolific among any active fighter in the sport once again gave a ruthlessly efficient display, stalking his prey relentlessly in a performance that probably had enough power and poise to put away any 160lb fighter on the planet.

The caveat of his devastating form though, is that there are no opponents of any real merit in the Middleweight division, titleholders such as Peter Qullin and Sergio Martinez, who are prepared to put it all on the line against him. He could potentially target the winner of Darren Barker vs Felix Strum, who fight on December 7th for Barker’s IBF strap. But again, it is highly debatable whether either man would relish the prospect of trying to tame ‘Triple G’ anytime soon.

He would be best to right now abandon his ambition of fighting the long-time 160lb lineal champion, Sergio Martinez. There is absolutely no chance, the aging and injury prone Argentine, will risk his WBC title or his reputation against Golovkin when he is being primed to face fan favourites Miguel Cotto and/or Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in 2014 in what would both be P-P-V smash hits, securing him career high pay days in the process.

To any boxer from 154-160lb- including Floyd Mayweather Jnr- Golovkin, who is a relative unknown to casual boxing fans after only making four appearances in front of American audiences, is the last fighter they want to face as he is the highest risk, yet least lucrative pugilist in the Pound for Pound rankings. Boxing is a business, where financial profit and politics pack the most powerful punch of all. The brutality of combat sports, which can threaten an athlete’s mortality at the top level, dictates that elite fighters can justifiably demand the biggest pay-cheque possible for the least potential for physical punishment.

And thus, I have grave fears that Golovkin will be; prevented from fulfilling his potential as a prize fighter, unable to unify the middleweight division and win the host of world titles his talent deserves because, he is simply too dangerous and cannot offer the sort of financial incentives the Cotto’s and Canelo’s, Mayweather’s or Manny Pacquaio’s of this world can. It really is a sad indictment of the rampant capitalist culture, in which the rapacious pursuit of financial profit renders sporting integrity, fairness and equality as a redundant currency in the world of boxing.

Another major problem he has is that he is already 31 years of age. It will take a marketing master class, and no small amount of time to promote his name to the masses and transform him from a much avoided, economical misfit cum knockout machine to the popular P-P-V star who gives his opponents a licence to print money.

So Golovkin, who is often referred to as the ‘most avoided man in boxing’ is set to remain just that until he is inevitably forced to move up to the Super Middleweight division.

On the evidence of his performance last Saturday, however, I strongly suspect that, unlike the middleweights, the likes of Carl Froch and Andre Ward will be far more willing to enter the ring, and able to contend with boxings new Knockout King.

Would Gennady Golovkin get a taste of his own medicine at Super Middleweight?

The undefeated Gennady Golovkin (28-0, 25KO) with a knockout percentage of 89%, the highest in middleweight history, and most prolific among any active fighter in the sport is often referred to as the ‘most avoided man in boxing’.

However, this may all soon change if he makes his proposed move up to the Super Middleweight.

Despite his overwhelming dominance against Curtis Stevens, which saw him land 49 percent of his power shots, Golovkin was caught on many occasions with quick and powerful counter punches from the challenger.  If he gifted the elite Super Middleweights such as Carl Froch and Andre Ward the same opportunities he offered Stevens he would surely pay a heavy price for his generosity.

For a moment, after Steven briefed rallied at the end of the 4th, landing several flush power shots right on the chin of Golovkin, much to the delight of the New York natives home crowd in Madison Square Garden’s theatre, I sensed there may have been a shock on the horizon.

But GGG quickly extinguished any fears of an upset by stalking Stevens remorselessly for the rest of the fight. The challenger, although not being hit with an abundance of clean shots, was forced into adopting a safety-first, cautious approach such was his suffocating pre-occupation with the punching power Golovkin possesses. Once the challenger conceded the centre of the ring to the champion- he was a lamb to the slaughter. Paradoxically, Golovkin’s predatory performance is exactly why I feel he will have serious problems asserting himself should he move up to Super Middleweight anytime soon.

The best 168lb fighters will not be bullied onto the ropes in the same manner Stevens was. Hence, Golovkin will be forced to stand in the centre of the ring and trade a lot more, a tactic he may not be overly keen to employ when faced with the awesome power of Carl Froch, or the unerring accuracy of Andre Ward.

And if the likes of Froch and Ward were able to find the target with a similar frequency as Stevens, then Golovkin could suddenly be in big trouble for the 1st time in his career. Some people will look at the punch connect stats for Stevens (97) and view it as a pretty paltry return. But on closer inspection you will see he only actually threw 303 blows, which equates to an impressive connect percentage of 32%.

It is a cast iron guarantee that both Ward’s and especially Froch’s superior punch resistance- in comparison to Middleweights- would mean their own offensive instincts would not be overly compromised due to their concerns about the power Golovkin carries. Consequently, his opponents at Super Middleweight would not have such a conservative punch output. They would far likely throw 100’s more punches than his current opponents do. And if the stats in the Stevens fight are an even vaguely accurate indicator, then Golovkin could suddenly have to absorb an additional 100 punches per fight – a lot of them power shots- from men who are taller, bigger and stronger than he is.

In such a scenario I suspect that Golvokin, the hunter, would become the hunted. It would be role reversal as he would be the man who is forced onto the back foot, bullied onto the ropes, and at risk of being beaten up by bigger fighters.

Like I said before, the best Super Middleweights will be confident their chin can hold Golovkins shots, and will have just as much conviction that they can bang with the big punching Kazakh in the heat of battle.

Conversely, Golovkin’s pristine professional record and great amateur pedigree allied to his illustrious boxing education, suggests he has the capacity to adjust his style in order to cope with the far more formidable challenges he would face in the 168lb weight class.

But he must take his medicine and carefully consider his next course of action or he could run a real risk of tasting his own medicine in the near future. Because, one certainty at Super Middleweight is that the result of his fights would be far more uncertain than the four-gone conclusions they are at Middleweight.

Now is the time for Kell Brook to shine

The English poet, Edward Young, is said to have been the first man to use the now famous proverb ‘Procrastination is the Thief of Time’.

Ironically enough, the first time I was exposed to this message was when I was about 8 years old, and it was painted in big, black, bold letters on a wall across a bridge in my native Johnstone, in the West Coast of Scotland – which is not exactly a breeding ground for thought provoking street art rich in wisdom.

For some reason I was instantly struck by the peculiarly out of place eloquence of the graffiti and I instinctively knew it would be the first and last time I would see such a sight in my hometown. Intrigued, I immediately went home and asked my mother what the message meant.

She told me, “It means you must not waste time thinking about things instead of actually doing them”

Sadly, it wasn’t until last October that I finally began to appreciate the importance of this proverb- as I belatedly began trying to do something about my ambition of being a sports writer by actually beginning to write. In the last year, the words have finally begun to flow and it has been a liberating experience.

I wonder if Kell Brook has had a similar, but far more profound epiphany in the last 12 months.

After nine years as a professional, which have, at times, been punctuated by tales of poor conditioning and more than a few false dawns, the penny has finally dropped.

Now, one of Sheffield’s favourite sons seems dedicated to realising his dreams of becoming a World Champion.

The turning point in the narrative seems to have come in the aftermath of his 1st fight with Carson Jones when, after suffering a few scares throughout the fight, he awoke to the sobering reality that in order to achieve his ambitions of global recognition: he would have to adhere to the standards set by elite level boxers in terms of preparation and physical conditioning.

Despite amassing a perfect record of 31 wins from 31 contests, the latest protégé rolling off the production line of boxers made in Sheffield, Brook has not faced many opponents of a world class pedigree like his long time adversary and fellow Englishman, Amir Khan has in his career.

But timing is all important. And if I could time my entrance into the fray of sports writing as perfectly as Kell Brook seems to have timed his rise to prominence in prize fighting contention then I will not go far wrong.

But like Kell Brook, I face a convoluted talent pool- where competition is rife. The Welterweight division in which he campaigns is comfortably the most fiercely contested weight class in boxing.

Any top 10 list of 147lb fighters issued by the various sanctioning bodies illustrates the embarrassment of riches in the division, and highlights the magnitude of the challenges which Kell will have to overcome to conquer the division and be crowned World Champion.

Judging by his confident comments in the wake of his demolition job of former WBA Welterweight Champion, Vyacheslav Senchenko, which has secured him a shot at the winner of Devon Alexander vs Shawn Porter, for the formers IBF title, Brook clearly feels he is on cusp of gate crashing the top table of the Champions elect.

He issued a statement of his intent to Sky Sports when he said: “I want to be in those massive fights. After that performance I belong at the top level. I am happy now and injury free. I’ve had some bad times and I hated boxing with my injuries. I couldn’t train. The opportunity was there and (because of injury) I was heart broken. I’m on to another chapter now though and I’ve come back with a bang,”

Brook has had to deal with his fair share of pain before sampling the sweet taste of pleasure. But, in order to avoid any more upset he must seize the initiative, act on his ambition and strike whilst the iron is hot so as to avoid the prospect of procrastination stealing his time.

 

 

Is Julio Cesar Chavez the marquee name Gennady Golovkin needs?

WBA Middleweight Champion, Gennady Golovkin’s impressive eighth-round stoppage of Curtis Stevens on HBO drew the third-largest audience for a boxing match on cable in 2013. According to Nielsen Media Research, it averaged 1.41 million viewers.

Unsurprisingly, fans favourite Miguel Cottos comeback performance, a 3rd round TKO victory Delvin Rodriguez, takes top stop after attracting an average viewership of 1.555 million viewers. In second place, is another fighter with a fanatical fan following- Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr, whose controversial victory over Bryan Vera yielded average viewing figures of 1.416 million.

Incidentally, Chavez Jnr  is a name which is perennially in the hat of potential opponents for Golovkin, whose devastating form in 2013 – 4 straight stoppage victories- has earned him the moniker of ‘most avoided man in boxing’.

The seemingly negative correlation between the risk of physical punishment and reward of financial profit when fighting Gennady Golovkin explains the aversion of his fellow middleweight titleholders to engage in combat with the 31 year old, Kazakh, who has knocked out his last 15 opponents.

However, there soon may not be such an imbalance in the relationship between the risk and reward of facing Golovkin- as the recent figures prove that he is gaining greater popularity and entering into the public consciousness of American network televisions audiences. Third place in the viewing rankings is no mean feat, especially considering his contest with Stevens was only his 4th fight in on American soil, after making his US debut on September, 2012.

What Golovkin needs, is a major scalp- a popular fighter with a great fanbase, who will help raise his profile and popularity among the boxing television audiences in America.

If HBO’s viewing figures are an accurate indication, then Chavez is that opponent.

And although Chavez is not the unification bout he craves, he would be a notable feather on his cap that offers maximum exposure by virtue of his famous fighting name and loyal fan base.

If Chavez is to be one of ‘GGG’s opponents in 2014, his profile will rise precipitously in the United States. If he were to knock him out, the rise would be meteoric.

Golovkins promoter, K2 Promotions supremo, Tom Loeffler, has recently expressed his desire to make the fight happen. Loeffler stated to ESPN, “Longer-range, Gennady has always wanted to fight [Sergio] Martinez, Chavez Jr. Chavez says he can’t make 160 pounds anymore, which is fine. We would fight him at 168 if that’s what he wants. Gennady believes he is the best middleweight champion right now and he wants to prove it.”

Statements like that, allied to Golovkins announcement that he plans to replicate his fight schedule in 2013 by again fighting four times in the coming year, are clear statements of his intentions to make 2014 the year her breaks into boxing superstardom.

If he manages to entice the likes of Chavez Jnr into the ring, then it is a safe bet that Golovkin will scale new heights in the sport of boxing in 2014.