“If I’m scared and I’m a coward, why do you guys want to see me fight?” Floyd Mayweather Jr.
By Alex P. Vidal
IT’S not a walk in the park for any prizefighter to accumulate an intimidating 47-0 ring ledger. Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s record is two wins shy of equaling heavyweight phenom Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 world record, or three wins away from eclipsing it.
Never mind the “low” 55.32 KO percentage.
He is undefeated, period. And Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. is the richest professional athlete in the world.
Mayweather, 38, goes to war, the most important and the biggest in his fistic career that began on October 11, 1996 with a two-round disposal over Roberto Apodaca, against the only man in the planet to win eight world crowns in eight divisions, Manny Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KOs), on May 2 in the gambling capital of the world.
Known for his scientific stance and style, Mayweather is considered by ring experts as “unhittable” or difficult to hit. Most of his KO victims capitulated in later rounds after wasting away so much energy and efforts trying to at least remove a speck of dust on his noggin.
Only Shane Mosley, Oscar De La Hoya, Saul Alvarez and Marcus Rene Maidana were able to give him hellish moments in the ring. A bronze medalist in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Mayweather Jr. has destroyed all the marquee names in the sport on his way to be billed as the best boxer pound-for-pound.
Probably the best defensive fighter in the world today, Mayweather is also known as a “relaxed and calm” gladiator. “Floyd Jr. doesn’t panic. I have trained him to focus on his every fight, to have grace under pressure and solve one problem after another in every round. I think that is his formula of success,” Floyd Sr. told this writer during a one-on-one conversation at the MGM Grand’s media center three years ago.
Floyd Sr., 63, himself a former world title contender, invented Mayweather’s much-vaunted shoulder rolling defense, which has become his performance trademark. “I haven’t seen a fighter in this generation who can outwit Floyd Jr. My son fights clean and finishes off his opponents with clean shots. His timing is always perfect,” added Floyd Sr., who retired on November 3, 1990 after absorbing a 10-round decision loss to Robert Turner where he was deducted with two points for excessive holding a rabbit-punching.
The father Mayweather had a 28-6-1 (17 KOs) record. His greatness as a potential world champion was blasted into smithereens when he was TKO’d in the 10th by Sugar Ray Leonard on September 9, 1978 in Rhode Island, USA.
He is the only Mayweather who hasn’t pocketed a world crown.
His younger brother, Roger, 53, once held the WBA super featherweight and WBC super lightweight titles and retired on May 8, 1999 by trouncing on points Javier Francisco Mendez.
Roger, who nearly risked his crown against Rolando “The Bad Boy from Dadiangas” Navarette in late 80’s (if Navarette did not lose by KO to Ramon Marchena in Mexico), had a record of 59-13 (35 KOs). Team Mayweather doesn’t consider Pacquiao, 36, as a threat to Floyd Jr.’s unbeaten record.
Mocking the Filipino congressman’s “recklessness” as the reason for his KO loss to Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012, Floyd Jr. foresees his “sure” victory in the colossal joint HBO and Showtime pay-per-view promotion that is expected to shatter all records in combat sports and the potential to earn $400 million.
Retirement may be far from the radar of both titans. Mayweather, who will go home with $120 million, is gunning to equal if not eclipse Marciano’s record, while Pacquiao, who will get at least $80 million, has contractual obligations to Bob Arum’s Top Rank until 2016.