“Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you.” Walt Whitman
By Alex P. Vidal
BEFORE sports pundits changed his nom de guerre to “Money”, Floyd Mayweather Jr. was known as “Pretty Boy.”
He was the only professional fighter in the world who became a world champion on October 3, 1998 without suffering from a cut or a scar on his face.
He could give Wesley Snipes a run for his money if Mayweather (47-0, 26 KOs) entered Showbiz in Hollywood instead of prizefighting.
He was good at avoiding heavy blows and his pristine face was never reduced to crimson.
Fight fans initially suspected he was a boring fighter who just loved to showboat and use the bicycle inside the ring.
Mayweather, who narrowly lost of Bulgarian Serafim Todorov in the featherweight semifinal in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, grabbed his first world title on an 8thround TKO against Genaro Hernandez for the WBC super-featherweight crown in Las Vegas.
Before facing Hernandez, the names in the list of Mayweather’s victims were like passengers in an Amtrak trip to Chihuahua.
All patsies and taxi drivers disguised as rib crackers.
He was even paired against Jesus Chavez, a journeyman who only had a single win against 15 losses.
Mayweather tortured the southpaw Chavez en route to a 5th round TKO in Biloxi, Mississippi on July 12, 1997.
His real acid test was against Diego Corrales whom he blasted by TKO in 10 for the WBC super-featherweight diadem on January 20, 2001.
But it was Jose Luis Castillo who gave Mayweather some hellish moments in his career.
He outdueled Castillo via 12-round unanimous decision twice in as many encounters for the WBC lightweight title in 2002.
Another lefty, DeMarcus Corley, engaged him in an epic duel before winning by 12-round unanimous decision for the WBC light welterweight belt in Atlantic City, New Jersey on May 22, 2004.
Mayweather was still a “pretty boy” when he demolished world class fighters like Arturo Gatti, Sharmba Mitchell, Zab Judah, Carlos Manuel Baldomir, Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosley, and Victor Ortiz, Miguel Cotto, Robert Guerrero, Saul Alvarez, and Marcos Maidana.
When negotiations to fight Manny Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KOs) started to come into fruition, Mayweather became a “Money” or “Moneyweather.”
All that was needed to convince him to face Pacquiao in a fight dubbed as the richest-ever in the history of fight business, was to offer him a gargantuan paycheck and a hefty share in the pay-per-view.
After the smoke was settled, Mayweather has been guaranteed to run away with an astronomical 60-40 share after bringing every negotiator in the edge of his seat in the $300-million transaction.
On May 2, heavy underdog Pacquiao will try to change the moniker of the most loquacious American ringster to ever grace the pay-per-view (to be telecast jointly by the HBO and Showtime) radar from “pretty boy” to “ugly face”.
Some experts think Pacquiao can be the first-ever fighter to rearrange the face of the unbeaten American boxer whether the duel will end by knockout or on points.
With eight weeks of preparations, oddsmakers might make dramatic changes in their fearless forecasts.