Speak out: Mayweather is an aging fighter-A A +A
Monday, August 26, 2013
Bernard Inocentes S. Garcia
BOXING is not a sport for old men. At 36, Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. is at the tail end of his career spanning 17 years, which started after he won a bronze medal in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
Despite his ring brilliance, the undefeated Mayweather, who has 44 wins and 26 knockouts, is another boxer fighting against time.
On Sept. 14, 2013, he’ll fight a much younger foe, 23-year old Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, for the super welterweight title at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, Nevada. The bout dubbed “The One” is a classic matchup between youth and time.
Some say the rugged Mexican is too young and too raw for the veteran champion.
Although undefeated with 42 wins and 30 KOs, Alvarez has not fought a fighter in the caliber of Mayweather.
True, he dominated Shane Mosley in 2012, but in that fight, Mosley was 41 and way past his prime. With a knockout percentage of 70 percent Alvarez, though, carries legitimate risk for the unbeaten champion.
Mayweather is favored to win against Alvarez and cruise to his 45th victory via unanimous decision. Expect fireworks in the fight with Alvarez hitting Mayweather with some solid shots, but the ever elusive “Money” can easily slip out of harm’s way.
Purists admire the defensive wizardry of Mayweather but most fans want to see him crushed. They want to see him staggering from a punch, holding on to the ropes, his face bloodied.
My father Antonio, a vocal, beer-drinking Pacquiao fan, craves for the day the self-styled villain falls down on the canvas, destroyed and beaten.
To see this changing of the guard in boxing is pure excitement. Is it possible?
The slick defensive fighter boasts of his undefeated record and calls himself the greatest in the history of the sport. Many have tried and all have fallen, he’d brag after every victory. But at 36, Mayweather’s fighting more against time than against his 23-year old opponent.
Rocky Marciano, the great heavyweight champion, was undefeated in 49 fights with 43 knockouts. In his time, he projected the power of youth: strong and indestructible.
But unlike Mayweather, Marciano retired at the top of his game at age 32.
Age is a crucial factor, and for some boxers, 36 has become a turning point. Ricardo Lopez and Joe Calzaghe, also undefeated, retired at age 36. Others like Muhammad Ali and Larry Holmes suffered unexpected losses at the same age as Mayweather now.
Mayweather knew the end is near. He’d just secured for himself a six-fight contract with Showtime at $250 million for the next 30 months. After disposing Robert Guerrero in May this year, he’d be fighting Alvarez next on Sept. 14th.
In his recent fights, although he’s remained a master tactician inside the ring, he didn’t move as much as before when he was younger. It was clear his legs were not as fast, and soon he’d get hit with a punch that would put him down. Mayweather is getting old.
In “The Old Man and the Sea”, the old fisherman Santiago struggled for three days against the biggest marlin he’s ever caught. The old man beat the fish but in the end lost it because he was too exhausted to protect it from the hungry sharks.
It’s hard to say Mayweather would lose against the youthful Alvarez. He might win but there are other sharks he has to fight. And the most dangerous of them is time.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 27, 2013.