Mayweather vs. U

April 06, 2007 | Thyrl Nelson

It seems that Floyd Mayweather Jr. may have finally met his match. I am not talking about Oscar De La Hoya, against whom Mayweather will match up on May 5th. Although De La Hoya is likely to provide Mayweather with his best test in a while, possibly ever, Mayweather may have bitten off more than he could chew when he decided to call out Chuck Liddell and the entire UFC.

Who can blame Mayweather for believing that he could win this fight too? This is a guy who has been talking about beating Rocky Marciano’s record since his win total was down in the single digits. It could be said that Mayweather has never even been tested en route to his current 37-0 record, and at this point in his career is more dominant than ever. It’s safe to say that right now, the only guy capable of derailing the Mayweather juggernaut is Mayweather himself.

Throughout his career, Mayweather has made of habit of being very bold and cocky, and then backing it up. Personally, Floyd has lost some of his luster with me, as a young fighter he was no less cocky, but seemed to be more respectful his opponents and the sport in general. More recently Mayweather has turned into, at least from my perspective, a self-promoting, studio gangster much like the Chiefs’ Larry Johnson. He is however, the best thing going in a sport, which has clearly lost its luster too.

Mayweather probably didn’t give a second thought to calling out the UFC in his recent press conference, he is used to talking trash in front of the microphones, and love him or hate him, people pay to see him backup what he says, and usually he always delivers. But this may be a battle that he has lost already.

Who could blame Floyd for being a little bit upset? He was at one time considered the pound-for-pound, best fighter on the planet. With the recent rise in popularity of the UFC, Floyd is now simply the pound for pound
best boxer on the planet, because the UFC is ripe with guys that would punish Floyd, absolutely punish him in a fight. And the rise in popularity of mixed martial arts and specifically the UFC is a serious threat to boxing.

This is on my mind tonight due to the live UFC event that was on Thursday, followed by the series premier of the hit UFC reality series “The Ultimate Fighter 5”. This time around the tournament is made up of all
lightweights (under 155 lbs.), a division that the UFC did away with and is now bringing back. To date, the series has produced a number of real stars, and the sport is in constant evolution. “Styles make fights” is a boxing adage, but there are so many more styles in mixed martial arts than in boxing, it gives that
phrase an entirely new meaning.

For me personally, I will never stop watching boxing. In fact, the boxing matches are pretty much the only reason that I keep HBO and Showtime. With that said, at $50 a pop, I rarely splurge on a boxing pay per view. Especially when the match will be on HBO or Showtime the following week. I have grown used to watching boxing matches on tape and already knowing who wins. I never miss a UFC pay per view, for $40 or even $50 I know that I am bound to get my money’s worth and see five to eight exciting matches. And it is after all the pay per view money that these guys are ultimately competing for. With the MLB package at $40 per month and one UFC pay per view per month at $40, I just can’t bring myself to spend $50 on boxing too. Especially when I can get the 2 premium channels for $25 per month, get the boxing matches a week after they actually fight, and the other programming that’s on those channels too. My wife who is also a big boxing fan has been successfully able to avoid finding out who wins the fights during the week most times, so to her they are just as exciting as if they were live anyway.

Boxing has been slowly dieing for a long time now, the UFC didn’t cause it but they certainly are accelerating it, so I can’t blame Mayweather for being defensive. But for him to say that he’d like to see Chuck Liddell beat a good heavyweight is funny all by itself. I’d like to see anybody beat a good heavyweight. I’d like to see Chuck Liddell try to beat a fire-breathing dragon too. In fact a dragon would probably be easier to find than a good heavyweight.

I’d like to see Chuck Liddell box against a heavyweight too. It would be interesting to see how his punch looks in a bigger glove. Liddell is a guy that it took me a long time to come around to. Other fighters in the UFC like Matt Hughes or Rich Franklin seemed more impressive, but Chuck just continues to knock guys out. I’ve seen him knock guys out going backward, and after seeing Randy Couture come out of retirement and take apart Tim Sylvia for the UFC Heavyweight championship, it makes what Chuck Liddell did to Couture at light heavyweight even more impressive. One thing is for sure, as UFC President Dana White said, Chuck would do a lot better against most heavyweights in a boxing match than any of them could do to him in the octagon. I’d like to see Mayweather square off with George St. Pierre in a boxing match too, these guys do take some punches in 4 oz. Gloves. But an MMA match between a UFC fighter and a boxer would probably be over very quickly.

Boxing is still the sweet science, and I’ll always watch. My wife will force me to watch it if I didn’t want to anyway, seriously. But with the UFC’s recent acquisition of their biggest rival, and the new crop of talent being infused through the buyout as well as the talent being discovered on the reality show, they may already have boxing in the rearview mirror. The UFC providing a single sanctioning body insures that fans will continue to get the matches that they want to see, and the nature of the sport will keep it interesting because upsets are likely when different styles collide and one fighter imposes his “bread and butter” on another. Whereas boxing has become boring, devoid of talent, in most cases predictable, in some cases downright shady, and most of the time it takes years before fans get to see the fights that they really want to see.

I’d say Mayweather has lots reasons to be defensive, but going on the offense this week was misguided at best. What he did was draw additional attention to an opponent that is already beating him everywhere that it counts. He certainly got himself some much needed publicity, but may have taken on more than he can handle at this point. After all, he at least insinuated that his company, Mayweather promotions could produce a good heavyweight. That’s going to be a tall task all by itself.

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