COMMENTARY | The push to find a viable opponent for Floyd Mayweather has made for some ridiculous and absurd suggestions. Bordering on science fiction, the stuff put out there by some in the boxing media defies logical defense and is sounding more and more like desperate attempts to make sure that the five-division world champ will forever be separated from the recognition he deserves for being that good.
Can you imagine Wladimir Klitschko, the dominant three-belt world champ and undisputed top heavyweight, being urged to drop forty-five pounds to compete at cruiserweight? Would it ever be suggested that a failure to do so would somehow affect his legacy and standing as heavyweight kingpin?
And how about middleweight media darling Gennady Golovkin? The Kazakhstani battler has easily leveled all opposition placed before him. So, is there any suggestion that Triple G's status as an elite-level fighter would be affected by an unwillingness to try his luck at light heavyweight or at welterweight?
However, regularly, the media takes up creative writing efforts and attempts to play fantasy matchmaker for a fighter who gives the appearance of invincibility in his actual weight range.
Past suggestions that Mayweather should somehow meet Andre Ward in a catchweight bout were so bizarre that they bordered on sad. In terms of a doable weight compromise, Ward, a big super middleweight, would have to lose a limb in order to get down to a workable weight while Mayweather, a natural welterweight, would have to go on a steady diet of bacon and chocolate milk shakes for months in order to be heavy enough for this fantasy bout.
Now, a ridiculous publicity ploy from Bernard Hopkins in the wake of Mayweather's victory over Saul Alvarez is actually getting serious attention from the same group of "experts."
For those who don't know, Hopkins, the 48-year-old IBF light heavyweight champ, made headlines when he offered to meet Mayweather in a 160 lb. contest.
"Floyd, his skills are so out there that he can risk going up to 160," Hopkins told the media following the Mayweather-Alvarez bout. "It isn't the weight that is going to win the fight, it's the skills. The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. The only guy who is going to beat a guy like Floyd Mayweather is a master chess player. And who is the master chess player? I'll go back to 160. It's the biggest old [man] fight. Everyone from the nursing home will be watching."
The idea of Hopkins whittling himself down to middleweight again is absurd, but it's also insulting to fight fans' intelligence to suggest that a Mayweather unwilling to take this plea seriously is somehow damaged or diminished. The fight makes no sense on any level-and may not even be physically doable at all. Hopkins-Mayweather is to be filed alongside Ward-Mayweather as attempts to create a permanent obstacle between Mayweather and the recognition many are so reluctant to give.
Mayweather has already moved up five weight classes as a professional, but has so obviously maxed out at junior middleweight, where he has fought three times in his career, never weighing more than 151 lbs.
In order to compete at middleweight or beyond, Mayweather would have to add about 9% extra body weight-something that couldn't be done without sacrificing a significant amount of speed and agility. And he's being asked to do this against other elite-level opposition.
Roy Jones, who put on about 9% body weight to win the WBA heavyweight title in 2003, did so against B-level champ, John Ruiz. Hopkins, himself, made a successful move up in weight, from 160 to 175 lbs., but the "Executioner," always a big middleweight, made the jump against solid, but flawed fighters such as Antonio Tarver and Winky Wright. And as for Manny Pacquiao, well, the Filipino icon had been a "walking around" welterweight since back when he was a featherweight-and, even so, he carefully tested the waters before each move up in weight.
It's okay to demand the best of a fighter like Floyd Mayweather, but when the demands cross over into the absurd and near-impossible, it's time to pull things back a bit.
Nobody really likes the idea that Amir Khan and Danny Garcia may be Mayweather's two most likely opponents as of right now, but that's no reason to turn a dumb eye to the sport and start demanding impossibly fictitious match-ups.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and is the author of Notes from the Boxing Underground. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and as Editor-in-Chief of The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing. For breaking news, additional analysis, and assorted crazy commentary, follow him on Facebook, @TheBoxingTribune or on Twitter, @BoxingBTBC.
Source: Sports Illustrated
- Sports & Recreation
- Floyd Mayweather
- Bernard Hopkins