COMMENTARY | If you think Floyd Mayweather's ring style is "boring," then it would be a safe bet to say that, maybe, boxing isn't the right sport for you. If flat-footed, crooked-nosed brawlers who throw punches like they're hurling rocks get your juices flowing, then there are plenty of clueless stand-up MMA fighters you could follow. Or simply take a walk to a dive bar, take a seat on the curb, and wait until two drunken patrons take a dispute to the street.
Boxing is a craft and a combat sport fine art. It's the art of offense AND defense, combined into one package. It should never be a Rocky movie or late night parking lot brawl.
If you could look at Floyd Mayweather's performances, full of old school guile, and declare them "boring," then as Floyd Mayweather Sr. often says, "You don't know [expletive] about boxing."
Yet, there is definite criticism brewing in cyberspace about what we all saw Saturday night and, apparently, even some in-house griping that took place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
You may like "fighting" and not "boxing"-- that's a totally acceptable mistake. The two terms are not the same, though, and it should be made clear that you will be disappointed if you walk into a boxing event expecting face-first brawls with no discernable fight plan-especially when we're dealing with a fighter like Floyd Mayweather, who has mastered the art of the craft.
Much like Guillermo Rigondeaux, who put on the most brilliant, masterful performance of the year in his schooling of Nonito Donaire a few weeks back, Mayweather's efforts are sure to be marginalized. In the sad current state of combat sports-including both MMA and boxing in that indictment-skill is disgustingly underappreciated and fake macho posturing is placed on a pedestal. It's the reason the UFC frowns on straight Judo/Jiu-jitsu competitors wrestling their guys to the ground and smothering them for the quick tap out. It's also the reason way too many alleged proponents of boxing refuse to acknowledge fighters who actually use proper footwork and old school technique in their game.
However, when machismo is pitted against skill, the winner is almost never in doubt. Instead of praising those who bring the sport down to the level of the slack-jawed cravers of blood, efforts should be made to educate the fans and acknowledge the effort that goes into being a true world class fighter.
Remember, there are two people in the ring. If a defense-minded counter-puncher is dominating the bout, don't blame him for doing his job. Rather, blame the offense-minded pug who doesn't know enough about his own profession to overcome his opponent.
The old-time classic fights were thrilling back and forth affairs because both guys actually knew how to counter what the other was doing. They had bothered to learn boxing at the highest level.
It makes zero sense to blame the technically proficient fighter for the inabilities of the clearly inferior fighter. That's like demanding that a major league pitcher in baseball lob the ball underhand to the other team's home run hitter because it's "boring" to have sluggers swinging hopelessly at sliders and curveballs.
Instead of building up the overall level of the sport, some choose to cry when one guy simply did not prepare enough for the fight.
It wasn't Rigondeaux's fault that Donaire became frozen at some very basic and fundamental defensive moves and it certainly wasn't Mayweather's fault that Robert Guerrero didn't know enough to solve last Saturday's riddle.
Mayweather is a divisive character outside the ring, but inside the ring there should be no debate.
The subtle shifts in pace, the masterful use of angles, the on-the-spot adaptability-this is what boxing at its highest level is all about. To true boxing fans, a Mayweather master class is every bit as entertaining as a two-fisted brawl. Genius is only boring to the poorly-informed and the legitimately dim-witted.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. 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.
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