by Cliff Rold
The Welterweight Champion of the World remains as he ever was. Floyd Mayweather is approaching the 15th anniversary of his first world title win at Jr. Lightweight. By the time that date arrives, October 3 to be exact, we may already have seen Mayweather notch his 45th victory.
Will it be against one of Golden Boy’s deep stable of talents at 140 and 147 lbs.? Will he step up to 154 lbs. for the third time and go after Canelo Alvarez?
It will be the hottest question among fans, admirers, detractors, press, pundits, and in the business corridors of the sport. September, if Mayweather truly elects to return then, will be here soon and the next round of promotion won’t be long in coming.
Floyd Mayweather is the straw that stirs the drink.
Robert Guerrero got a swig on Saturday night.
Let’s go to the report card.
Pre-Fight: Speed – Mayweather A-; Guerrero B+/Post: A; B
Pre-Fight: Power – Mayweather B+; Guerrero B/Post: B+; B
Pre-Fight: Defense – Mayweather A; Guerrero B-/Post: A; C+
Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Mayweather A; Guerrero A/Post: A; B
Guerrero came out in the first few rounds looking for a fight. He found it and his reaction was telling. There came a point where the bell rang, it might have been the fourth, and Guerrero headed to the corner with a look on his face that said, ‘Oh man, this is going to be a long night.’ The expression remained for most of the fight.
It’s not that he ever quit, that he ever stopped trying to find a big shot to turn things around. It was that he never let it all hang out. Mayweather took some of Guerrero’s stuff early, and then he took it away and hit him back hard. Guerrero, who typically throws punches in bunches all night, holstered his guns for long stretches because the bullets coming back were finding the mark.
It was nothing new. Floyd fights often go this way. He makes good, solid fighters look ordinary. He’s great at what he does. That’s what great ones do. Like the child prodigy in the film “Searching for Bobby Fischer,” Mayweather sees the board without pieces on it.
If some of this seems overly effusive, fair enough. Guerrero was a decided underdog and beating him in and of itself isn’t a historic accomplishment. However, at 36, Mayweather maintains a level of excellence against legitimate contenders that merits praise.
Sugar Ray Leonard was shot at 34. Pernell Whitaker’s last great performance came against Oscar De La Hoya at 33. Roy Jones was counting sheep against Antonio Tarver at 34. Of active fighters in the last twenty years, only Bernard Hopkins was still fighting at a level commensurate to Mayweather at age 36.
And Hopkins was just really arriving at that age. Mayweather is going on 15 years as one of the very best in the world at any weight. There is no one, not even Alvarez, from 154 lbs. on down who really looks like a threat to beat him. It’s remarkable stuff.
There will be those who still begrudge the lack of a Manny Pacquiao fight and, yes, that would have been a hell of a threat around March 2010. It’s a shame that Pacquiao and Top Rank appeared to kill the negotiations on that fight then and a shame that Mayweather never seemed interested in a serious negotiation again after that.
But we can only deal with the world we’re living in now. That moment is gone. In this moment, Mayweather remains.
We await his next move.
Report Card Picks 2013: 16-13
And now, without further ado and after a month without them, a ratings update is in order.
Here are some of the key changes.
Middleweight: Murray, on the strength of his draw with Felix Sturm and coin flip battle with Martinez moves up. Given the controversial circumstances surrounding the Sam Soliman drug test, he remains in the ratings despite having his win over Felix Sturm converted to a “No Contest.” The situation will be monitored for further clarification. Former titlist Dmitry Pirog reached a year of inactivity without a fight scheduled and is removed from the top ten. On the strength of two wins over former titlists Sergio Mora and Sergiy Dzinziruk, Brian Vera enters the top ten for the first time.
Jr. Middleweight: On the strength of his win over Austin Trout, and Floyd Mayweather’s limited resume in the 154 lb. class, Canelo Alvarez rises to the top spot. Mayweather could have been removed but extra time is allotted to see what his next move will be after Guerrero. James Kirkland exits for inactivity.
Jr. Welterweight: With alls signs pointing to Juan Manuel Marquez staying at Welterweight, and nothing pointing to him fighting again at 140 lbs., Marquez is removed. Terrence Crawford enters the top ten.
Featherweight: Abner Mares enters the top ten off his win over Daniel Ponce De Leon and is removed from the 122 lb. ratings.
Jr. Featherweight: 122 gets the biggest shake-up in a month’s worth of updates. There is a new world champion, Victor Terrazas moved up, Leo Santa Cruz arrived…it’s all in the results. What a month in what might be, even with the loss of Mares, the best weight class in boxing.
The full results of note, more moves, and the total impact on the ratings are a click away.
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, and a member the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]