The Rogue Media Roundtable was founded on the premise that boxing’s media, on almost all levels, is a dung heap of a mess. So, we’ve assembled a crew of iconoclasts, savvy old-timers, and fearless writers to present thoughts and ideas rarely shared in the mainstream media.
Welcome to the counter-culture of boxing media…
Johnny Walker has been stalking the cyber-halls of the Internet for many a year, first as a Contributing Editor for the first successful online rock music zine, Addicted To Noise (1995-2001), later reinventing himself as a boxing writer publishing his screeds in such venues as Boxing Insider and The Boxing Tribune.
Underground Hardcore/Metal thriver and Ambassador Philip H. Anselmo, is a handsome devil who has single-handedly (via sips and sweeties) forgotten more about boxing than most have learned or experienced. Any argument with this statement is purely hogwash.
Hans Olson left the north, traveled south, and found a tiny house. He couldn’t help the way he felt. Is that really so strange?
Seriously, though, Hans is a freelance boxing writer who specializes in coverage of the thriving boxing scene in Quebec, Canada.
When he’s not busy being The Boxing Tribune’s resident snoop, Tim Harrison is likely punching fluffy kittens in the eye. Tim has also been a columnist at Fighthype.com
Ted Sares is a veteran fight writer, boxing historian and power-lifting senior citizen. He currently works at Boxing.com.
Paul Magno prides himself on being the turd in the punch bowl for buffet-diving boxing media shills. He’s also Editor-in-Chief at The Boxing Tribune and a Featured Writer for the Yahoo Contributor Network.
Charles Farrell has had a varied career, mostly moving between music and boxing. He has managed Leon Spinks, Mitch “Blood” Green, and Freddie Norwood, among others. As a pianist, he has played and recorded with Ornette Coleman and Evan Parker, among others. These days, he concentrates almost exclusively on music.
Alphonso Costello owns and operates the parody boxing site, Fight Club Writer, and is also a guest contributor to The Boxing Tribune. As a full member of The Sh-it List Makers Association of America (SMAA), Costello specializes in search engine-friendly Top 10 lists and raining on parades.
All Things Mayweather
Moderator: Saturday, May 4, Floyd Mayweather takes on Robert Guerrero in this first fight of his 6-fight Showtime deal. Mayweather is now the undisputed king of big money bouts and still the most divisive character in the sport. Above and beyond an actual prediction for the May 4 bout, what are your thoughts on Floyd Mayweather, both as a fighter and as a man? What will be the legacy left behind after he hangs up the gloves?
Charles Farrell: Mayweather is a very fine fighter. He would have performed well in any era. But an all-time great? Hardly. Ask yourself this: at welterweight, how would he have done against Emile Griffith, Luis Rodriguez, Ray Leonard, or Tommy Hearns? (I’m only going back as far as the 60s; it’s not worth bringing fighters like Ray Robinson into the conversation). This isn’t meant to denigrate him. He’s intelligent, well conditioned, defensively sound, and offensively creative. He has no particular weaknesses. And he’s an opportunist (this is meant as a compliment) in the ring: what he did to Victor Ortiz (who, storyline notwithstanding, is a softie) was a genuine thing of beauty. It made an emphatic point between a real fighter from a fake one.
As a man? The big answer is “who cares?” He’s a boor and a bore, a narcissist who, although moving close to the half a billion dollar earning mark, can think of nothing better to do in his free time than watch stupid movies, ride around in his house on a child’s scooter, get a pedicure, and spring for everyone’s meal at the Waffle House. Can anyone watch him doing those foolish things and envy him his life?
Ted Sares: A great fighter with a great pedigree, but one who has cherry picked by using long intervals of time between his fights while preserving his body with rigorous training. Up until now, he has been like a surgeon and depending on the patient; he will take out of his instrument box of considerable skills, the appropriate one to use.
He will also be known as the one who set the new business model in boxing: to wit, the most bangs for one buck.
Ike Williams he is not.
Philip Anselmo: Floyd Mayweather Jr. is a damn good fighter, perhaps the most gifted of the modern era. But also a fighter whose legacy could possibly be tarnished by not truly pushing himself by fighting semi-bigger, perceivably elite fighters a la Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns and Roberto Duran. Some will always argue that Floyd never signed-up for a fight that he had a real chance of losing, and I agree to a certain extent, although his beat-down of Diego Corrales (RIP) could make for an argument. But that fight was a long time ago.
Most “Great” boxers have tested the waters at higher weights, out of their comfort zone, to test their skills in an uncomfortable element to prove their greatness. And for some it has paid off, while others, perhaps not so much. Does that make Floyd un-great or merely smarter than the rest of the boxing media has perceived for not taking the risk of losing his undefeated record?
His legacy after boxing as a person is still up for debate. If he continues to spend reckless amounts of cash on frivolous crap just because “he can”, financially, his life after boxing could be challenging to say the least. Especially when his invented middle name is “Money”, and his ego is fed by the standard of owning said ‘money’. Take the TRUE capital out of Floyd’s bank account, and his ego follows. And I may be way off base here (or maybe not), but Floyd’s family, particularly his senior parental figures, have not shown, publicly at least, to be a very good role models. Therefore Floyd could end up either doing the opposite of his up-bringers and be a great father to his children, or he could repeat their mistakes 10-fold. Time will tell.
And Floyd still has time to “fix” his public image a la Mike Tyson. If Floyd one day decided to behave in a humble manner, his youthful ultra-braggart-villian-type ways would/could be forgiven. And I believe Floyd has the smarts to do just that. But will he? That remains to be seen.
As for his upcoming fight with Robert Guerrero, I see Floyd dominating, and perhaps stopping Robert in the later rounds. An upset for “The Ghost” is not necessarily impossible, but it’s damn-near close.
Sares: Changing his image will be a monster step in improving his legacy.
Farrell: I’m trying to see a way that Guerrero can even be competitive, and just can’t come up with one. I know he’s going to be energetic and will push the fight, but that’s not the kind of thing that’s likely to bother Floyd. Guerrero didn’t entirely dominate Andre Berto (who barely qualifies as a beginner at the main event level), which isn’t a good sign for his chances against a genuinely elite fighter. I can picture this being one of those fights where Robert doesn’t even quite recognize how badly he’s being beaten until the 8th or 9th round, at which point he’ll be seriously busted up, and suddenly will run out of options.
Once again, I can completely agree with your scenario Charles.
I see Robert coming forward all night, eating leather, then the toll will tell later.
Sares: Ray Mancini scoped this one out pretty good when he said The Ghost needs to use volume punching and incoming pressure to test Floyd’s legs. Back him up against the ropes. A shot Cotto showed the blueprint. The Ghost is not shot. I see him having a chance here—more so than any of Floyd’s opponents since I don’t know when.
I also see an intangible problem with Guerrero in that he has been attending a lot of events including a brief stay in a NYC jail. Floyd is always focused like a laser.
Tim Harrison: Mayweather is a guy who’s put together a near-perfect blend of skill and natural gifts. He’s visibly slowing down but isn’t losing much because of his dedication to his craft and he doesn’t rely wholly on his athleticism (like Roy Jones, who fell right off the cliff).
My live boxing viewing experience (not counting YouTube and ESPN Classic) dates only back to 1986 or so (don’t knock me…I’m only 32) and I can only really say he’d have been a competitive fighter in the
general weight divisions with the 4 horsemen: Hearns, Hagler, Leonard and Duran. But he’d probably walk away with 5 or 6 losses if he fought each guy twice.
Like Charles said, his KO of Victor Ortiz showed the difference between a real fighter and a wannabe. When it came time to pay the balance on the headbutts all Vic wanted to do was hug and kiss…Mayweather had other ideas in mind. I think he is a real fighter despite the public’s perception of him as purely a businessman cherry picking his way through life. Fighting is all he’s ever known
and all he’s ever done.
That said, Guerrero is in a world of shit on May 4. Yeah, he busted up Andre Berto, but let’s not pretend that’s some huge accomplishment. This is going to be like beating on the kid with the bad limp and stutter and calling out the toughest kid at school and thinking it’ll be the same outcome.
As far as legacy goes, this fight resembles the legacy he’ll leave behind as a fighter. No one will remember the young Mayweather calling guys out and looking for fights; they’ll remember the semi-retired Mayweather being called out by anyone within 30 pounds of him, while he sits back and picks the lucky lottery winner. As a man I doubt he’ll ever live down the domestic abuse rap. That looks like it’s going to stick like glue.
Anselmo: [Getting back to Guerrero] That airport incident was DUMB.
And yep, an unneeded distraction leading up to the biggest fight of his friggin’ career.
I do have a confession though….
I almost ALWAYS pull for the underdog in most sporting events (can you tell I’m a Saints fan?), so I hope Robert wins, flat out. I just don’t see it happening technically, despite all the heart and “want to” in the world.
Harrison: Very dumb. Why didn’t anyone tell him that you can hire bodyguards to carry those things?
Hans Olson: I think that Floyd Mayweather is the greatest fighter of his generation. As a fighter, I too believe that he would compete in any era. Of course, in today’s era where every fighter’s career and choices therein can be analyzed to death on internet forms, Floyd has been a target. In one way, it could be unfair. Imagine how much Sugar Ray Leonard would have been destroyed on the web for some of his career choices early on? We also don’t know how many fights could have been made back in the day…or even more details about those fights. I guess what I’m getting that is that a lot of Floyd’s detractors will point to his business moves, and define his career by that. I think we can only judge him by what he’s done inside the ring. Wins over Diego, Oscar, Hatton, etc, etc…we can go on and on and on…
Sorry this isn’t quite as focused…but I’ll say that if only judging Floyd as a fighter…he’s second to none. His “character” that he portrays? I mean…it can be laughable….but people seem to eat it up. I’ve talked to a lot of folks who know Floyd and say he’s a cool dude…much different than his “heel” persona…
Then again, there are others that say he can be a nasty fellow to be around…so I think the truth lies somewhere in between…But I don’t know him, so…I don’t know.
And who can argue with his business moves?
As far as Guerrerro…I think Floyd will batter the proud Mexican-American…possibly stopping him late…but more likely out-pointing him soundly.
I also don’t think Floyd has slowed down as much as people say…if anything, I’ve been impressed with his recent run.
One other thing that’s underrated about Floyd is his chin. The shots Mosley hit him with would have ended most others. I’ve never bought into the idea that Floyd can’t take a punch.
Sares: Nobody ever said boxers were necessarily smart outside of the ring. You get guys like the Klits, Chris Byrd and GGG but those are not the norm.
Anselmo: Yea Ted, but it SEEMS like Robert IS one of the smarter guys… that’s why it’s somewhat surprising, and a letdown.
But (and believe me from experience), mistakes are part of everyone’s life…
And you know this.
Hopefully the airport thing is just a blip on the radar for Guerrero…
Sares: The airport thing was part of a preparation for some show or promotion so he will get off, but if you get caught with a gun in NY or MA, it’s generally zero tolerance and one year mandatory. The moron who told him to pack should be sent to Bellevue
Farrell: I’ve been around thousands of boxers, and I wouldn’t say that, on the whole, they’re either much dumber or much smarter than most other people. What they do tend to be is incredibly naive about business (and, often, about the way that the world works). Most of them have lousy educations (or no educations), and that might make them seem less intelligent than they actually are. Two of the world champions I managed were illiterate. It goes without saying that, in certain circumstances, that put them at a decided disadvantage. But one of them is one of the smartest people I know.
Olson: I think fighters are just wired differently…
The idea of having or not having intelligence is strange to begin with. A lot of what shapes your intellect comes from your desire to learn and find knowledge on the things that inspire you.
The greatest talents in our world are not well-rounded individuals.
I’m horrible with business and money myself…if I was a fighter I’d be in trouble.
But growing up…my family didn’t have much money, and I basically have zero financial literacy. I have no savings, no retirement…I couldn’t tell you the first thing about stocks and investments.
I also can’t be the alpha-male social dude either…
So it’s hard for me to criticize a fighter’s intellect.
Good/bad decisions are often the result of circumstance…and your intellect can’t necessarily control circumstance…
Farrell: I agree that circumstances play an enormous part in how someone’s life with shape itself. And, that being the case, in how they’ll be perceived by those around them.
But I’m interested in your statement about fighters being wired differently, Hans. In what sense would you say that’s the case?
Sares: Hmmm. I’m not at all saying they are dumb. Not by a loooong shot, but many only know boxing and that puts them at a disadvantage in the outside world. Boxers are the most gentle people I know, but I do think they lack a lot of external information which is not to say they are not innately bright. Roy Jones probably is pretty bright. Paulie M might be both. Toney might not be. It’s a tricky discussion and I’m in no way insulting boxers because I am all about supporting them and always have been.
Now then, what the Ghost did was just plain stupid. You do not take a gun or switchblade knife with you to an airport. If you know what is going on in the outside world, you know not to do that.
But like I said, he will get a pass. Maybe smart was not a good choice of words.
Olson: I think that to be a fighter on the professional level…your entire being is wired differently.
In a sport where you could die between the ropes, there’s a level of commitment and danger all fighters have and embrace.
Normal humans can’t do what combat sport athletes do.
Some fight out of necessity, some don’t…but they all fight a lot of inner battles that few professions offer. And then you have extreme cases of dudes who lose it…dudes like Edwin Valero, Ike Ibeabuchi, Carlos Monzon, etc…
On a side note…I still think Valero was killed in his cell by corrupt ass cops…just saying…
Sares: I have written extensively on Edwin. Lots of research. I loved him in the ring. Very sad tale of how a combination of things can lead to disaster despite warning signs all over the place.
Ike was/is a loon because anyone who rapes a prostitute has to be pretty loony. Yet I understand he earned a degree in prison. Go figure
Monzon was wired differently for sure. Playboy outside of the ring who played with the Jet Set and beast inside the ring. His attitude towards women was, how shall we say, situational and selective,
Paul Magno: Getting back to Mayweather, though….Hans touched on this a bit, but his biggest shortcoming has been the lack of a proper public relations person. During the whole Mayweather-Pacquiao debacle, Mayweather got eaten alive and, perhaps, permanently labeled as a coward, ducker, cherry-picker….In reality, I think Team Pacquiao actually had more to do with that fight not happening than Mayweather…Arum owned the media during those 2-3 years and benefited greatly from painting Manny as the hero and Mayweather as the cad.
Mayweather would’ve had trouble against the all-time greats, but he’s owning this era because he’s technically so good and has such good ring smarts…A guy like Victor Ortiz would’ve been a light snack for the old-timers..He’s so full of technical mistakes and mental hang-ups…These days, though, he can make it to be a legitimate Top 3 or 4 guy. In terms of ring work, Mayweather is the last of a dying breed– A guy who understands the subtleties of the sport.
As far as legacy, Mayweather is the role model for many a young fighter these days. And I’m not talking about Adrien Broner’s rip job…Mayweather may be the first fighter, ever, who has full control over his career on all levels…And don’t think that this kind of control is not feared and despised by the old school promoters and managers…It’s the reason, IMO, Arum would never actually sit down with Al Haymon, Mayweather, and Pacquiao to talk the big fight…He’d have to explain why Mayweather gets a $40 million check at the end of the evening and Pacquiao has his money filtered through so many different channels before getting half as much…
Olson: Agreed 10000% Paul.
Manny was able to hide behind the “I just do what my promoter tells me” excuse.
Arum has ripped off more fighters than Don King.
The fact is, the wealthiest guys in the sport today are Floyd, the J-Bros, and David Haye.
A common trend with all? They are their own bosses at this stage.
Farrell: “Mayweather would’ve had trouble against the all-time greats, but he’s owning this era because he’s technically so good and has such good ring smarts.”
That summarizes is nicely, I think. The smallish things he can’t do (and they really are smallish) would be exploited by great (and even very good) fighters from vibrant eras. Contemporary guys can’t even see the chinks in his armor, let alone exploit them. And I suppose an argument can be made that, in tougher times, the quick study Mayweather might have learned a lot of what he’d need to know in order to thrive in the upper echelon. He wouldn’t be able to do that without taking some losses though.
Farrell: I’m having trouble with this notion of “legacy” as it pertains to a fighter’s non-boxing biography. Personally, I think that Floyd Mayweather is a jerk. But it doesn’t bother me that he is. If his ring performances warranted it (they don’t), that’s all I’d need to classify him as an all-time great. Why does a fighter have to be a role model or even just exemplary citizen to totally establish to his legacy? Among this group, who cares? And why do you?
As an adjunct to the question: Ted, you mentioned Mayweather not being an Ike Williams. I vehemently second that. But we know that Ike did business numerous times during his career (as did Willie Pep, Abe Attell, Sonny Liston, and countless other all-timers). I see no reason to penalize any of these guys historically for having thrown fights. Don’t we have to view fighters within their cultural context?
Ted Sares: As for a boxing legacy, I am one of the very few who looks at a fighter’s entire body of work, not just his prime stuff. That’s why I was a great fan of Eider Jofre. Don’t get me wrong, however, prime is most important and I know I would lose the debate on this.
Farrell: It breaks my heart how inexcusably overlooked Eder Jofre is.
I agree that you’ve got to look at a fighter’s whole career, maybe making some provisions for the Duran/Holmes post-50 exceptions. Or guys like Ezzard Charles or Emile Griffith who, once they were shot, were really shot.
Anselmo: Points taken, but Paul ASKED for these type questions…
A boxer is a boxer, whether he’s a good person or not, so I’m clear on that end.
Harrison: Most of us who aren’t bitter, sniping wannabes can separate a fighter’s personal life from what he does in the ring. As it pertains to this topic I think we can all agree that Mayweather is probably the best of this era who’d have been less stellar in past eras (or something to that effect), and what he does outside of the ring is about as important as a milk shake.
Judging a fighter’s legacy by what he does outside if the ring is done on a sliding scale anyways. Lots of guys get a free pass while some guys get a cyber-colonoscopy from some failed actor dabbling in erotic poetry.
Magno: Yeah, one of my pet peeves is that “He’s a bad guy outside the ring, let’s piss on his ring legacy” mentality….If we want to go there, we might as well trash most of our boxing heroes…This is not a business for boy scouts…
Tim…Failed actor dabbling in erotic poetry…who could that be? LOL…Maybe the guy who got poked in the chest by Floyd one time and now has a 5-year vendetta in progress?
Sares: For me, if the way the guy acts outside of the ring transitions into the ring—Mitch Green maybe—then I might hesitate and have a cyber-colonoscopy. This rarely happens, however, so Camacho can rape and plunder as long as he was ok in the ring, which he was.
More later on this point. Norman Mailer was an asshole’s asshole as a person, but he wrote quite well.
But this topic may soon morph to trash talk.
Magno: Oh you guys didn’t know…I’m the asshole of assholes…Trash talk is right up my alley…(Laughs)
Johnny Walker: Floyd Mayweather? He’s OK to watch. Another little guy, so he doesn’t really excite me, but he’s alright. The whole contrived Pacman vs Floyd thing never interested me in the least, really,
As a personality, the whole “Money” Mayweather persona I find to be a perfect reflection of the vapid stage of late capitalism where are now in. Ali was lionized for his political stances; Floyd is just interested in showing off his collection of cars.
I guess he’s leaving it to Pacquiao and Vitali Klitschko to worry about politics. And Vitali is taking on Putin indirectly, which could be more dangerous than anything he does in the ring.
If we follow Norman O. Brown’s ideas re the relationship between money and shit, we could Floyd and his constant physical playing with money as equal to a child playing with his poop in the toilet.
“Perhaps Jesus does smile on wealth, in spite of his sandals. The Calvinists thought worldly success a mark of the elect, and made hoarding a virtue. “Anal.” The fecal, excremental nature of money was analyzed by Norman O. Brown:
Until the advent of psychoanalysis and its doctrine of the anal character of money, the profoundest insights into the nature of the money complex had to be expressed through the medium of myth-in modern time the myth of the Devil. The Devil, we said in our chapter on Luther, is the lineal descendant of the Trickster in primitive mythologies; the evolution of the Trickster, through such intermediary figures as the classical Hermes, into the Christian Devil reflects the history of anality.
–Norman O. Brown, Life Against Death, p.301
“My grandmother, a woman who always liked to carry a wad of bills, taught me that money was dirty and that you had to wash your hands after counting it. Which is really pretty obvious.”
Alphonso Costello: Floyd’s legacy will change as time passes. Much like a crappy President is viewed favorably years after leaving office, people will view Floyd in a much better light once he retires 20 years from now people will lookup his record and opponents on boxrec and say “this guy was the greatest of all-time!” That’s if he retires with his much beloved undefeated record intact.
Farrell: Except that (maybe), unlike looking up the records of the past greats on Boxrec.com, there’ll be complete video footage of Floyd’s entire career to help or hinder his case. And if you wind up looking through his fights, it’ll become immediately apparent that, although he was a hell of a fighter, he was nowhere close to being the greatest of all time. Of course, I’d also argue that if all you had to go by was his Boxrec.com record, you’d probably be able to read into it closely and figure out that there was nothing in there that elevated him to all-time level status.
If it sounds like I’m being too tough on Floyd, I want to emphasize how terrific a fighter I think he is. I’ve got nothing but good things to say about what he’s done in the ring. But picture Mickey Walker in the opposite corner, and try to imagine what would happen to Mayweather once the bell rang.
Magno: But then there’s the point you made earlier, Charles…Mayweather is a born fighter and has superior ring intellect. It’s quite possible that Mayweather “back in time” would’ve been that much better, that much sharper from dealing with these all-around more complete fighters…In the here and now, he’s the best until proven otherwise….I don’t think Guerrero will be the man to end his reign, but I do think he’s going to be a lot more of a problem than the “experts” believe.
Olson: Agreed Paul.
I think Floyd “back in time” beats most of the old timers…
Farrell: Yes, as I tried to say, it’s very possible that Mayweather would have grown commensurately with the talent he had to face in tougher times. It’s a shame we’ll never know. But the Floyd Mayweather we see in his current iteration would have lost to a lot of welterweights from the past.
I’m still not coming up with reasons why Guerrero will give Mayweather much of a fight.
Sares: Like a Kentucky Derby horse, he has pure pedigree. I also think Gurrero will be a lot more of a problem than the “FULL experts” believe.
If he beats the Ghost, Canelo, and then reaches 50-0, he would have a rare legacy.
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