Mailbag: Floyd and Pacman take similar path

Floyd Mayweather Jr. has repeatedly intimated that Manny Pacquiao's rise through boxing's weight classes is due to something other than natural growth. But the statistics do not back Mayweather's contention.

Mayweather is 21 months older than Pacquiao, but looking at what they weighed when they were the same age, they are remarkably close.

For the sake of the argument, let's pick up the discussion for each man when they were 24. Mayweather turned 24 on Feb. 24, 2001. His first fight after that date was on May 26, 2001, in Grand Rapids, Mich., when he fought Carlos Hernandez. Mayweather weighed in for that bout at 130.

Pacquiao turned 24 on Dec. 17, 2002. His first fight after that date was on March 15, 2003, against Serikzhan Yeshmagambetov, in Manila. Pacquiao weighed 126, or only one class lighter than Mayweather.

When they were 26, Mayweather was at 134 and Pacquiao at 129 1/2. At 30, Mayweather was 150 to fight Oscar De La Hoya, while Pacquiao was 138 to face Ricky Hatton. Although, in Pacquiao's bout prior to Hatton, he weighed 142 when he fought De La Hoya just 11 days before his 30th birthday.

By the time each man turned 32, they were both welterweights.

It's not like there has been a great disparity in size between them.

Another argument Mayweather made last week in insinuating Pacquiao is using performance-enhancing drugs has been his dramatic improvement. At the post-fight news conference, Mayweather said, "Like I said before, we knew Sugar Ray Leonard [and] we knew he was great from his Olympic days. We knew he was going to be a great professional. Michael Jordan, from college, we knew he was going to be a great professional. Floyd Mayweather, from the beginning of his career, from the '90s, we knew he was going to be a great professional.

"Look at all these different athletes. Kobe Bryant in high school, you knew he was going to be a great athlete. Now, you ask yourself, a fighter just don't get 25 and all of a sudden become great. A fighter don't just become 25 years old and pop out of nowhere. You know what? 'I'm knocking junior middleweights out. I'm knocking middleweights out.' That just don't happen. That just don't happen."

That argument doesn't hold water, either. Pacquiao won his first world title, the World Boxing Council flyweight belt, on April 24, 1999, when he was 20. Mayweather won his first belt, the WBC super featherweight title, by stopping Genaro Hernandez on Oct. 3, 1998, when he was 21.

By the time he was 26, Pacquiao had won world titles at flyweight and super bantamweight and drew in a spectacular bout with Juan Manuel Marquez for the featherweight title. Pacquiao had won the linear featherweight title by that point, when he defeated Marco Antonio Barrera a month before his 25th birthday, though he received no belt.

By the time Mayweather was 26, he had won two world titles, the WBC super featherweight and the WBC lightweight titles.

And Pacquiao's rise in the last decade was aided tremendously by coming to the U.S. and hiring Freddie Roach to be his trainer.

The point is, Pacquiao's rise to prominence does not on the surface raise suspicions that he's used, or is using, performance-enhancing drugs.

I don't believe Mayweather is afraid of Pacquiao, as so many Pacquiao sycophants insist. I do believe, however, that he despises Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum so much that he is willing to skip the fight in order to keep Arum from profiting from what would be the most lucrative fight in boxing history.

Hopefully, the fight happens because the prospect of it has the world captivated. So far, though, Mayweather's arguments as to why it's not happening are falling on deaf ears.

Hooks and jabs
Hooks and jabs

• If Mayweather is so sincere about ridding boxing of steroid usage – which would be a noble goal, if it is his goal – why didn't he insist that all of the fighters with his company who fought Saturday's undercard submit to the same kind of testing that he's asking his opponents to take? We know that for a guy who refers to himself as "Money," it can't be a cost issue.

• Those who continue to complain about Mayweather's punches to Victor Ortiz's undefended face Saturday need to watch the replay on HBO on Saturday. Referee Joe Cortez very clearly can be heard twice shouting "Let's go!" and moving his hands together to suggest the boxers fight. More than four seconds elapses from the time that Cortez says "Let's go!" until Mayweather throws a punch. This is clearly on Ortiz.

• There are also many, including HBO's Larry Merchant, chiding Mayweather for a lack of sportsmanship for punching Ortiz. But Ortiz blatantly head butted Mayweather and no one is chiding him for his lack of sportsmanship. People are defending Ortiz, who intentionally head butted several times in the fight and had a point deducted, and chiding Mayweather, who threw a legal punch when time was in. That doesn't make a lot of sense.

• Mayweather's behavior toward Merchant was unacceptable and showed a total lack of class. Merchant is 80 years old and one of the most accomplished men in his industry. He has done much for boxing. Mayweather didn't have to do an interview with him, if he thinks Merchant was unfair, but neither should he have acted like a hoodlum ranting at an 80-year-old man.

• In my mind, Ortiz lost the fight at the weigh-in Friday when Mayweather reached over and put his hands on Ortiz's neck. Ortiz took it and did not react. He shouldn't have started a fight there, but he should at least have knocked Mayweather's hand away. By doing nothing, it was a clear sign of intimidation and you can bet that Mayweather noticed it.

• Referee Wayne Hedgpeth stopped Saturday's fight between Saul "Canelo" Alvarez and Alfonso S. Gomez in Los Angeles way too soon. Gomez was hurt, but he was defending himself and blocking most of the punches when Hedgpeth stopped their WBC super welterweight bout.

Readers always write
Readers always write

Don't minimize effects of the butt

Why are people trivializing what obviously was an intentional head butt against Floyd Mayweather Jr. by Victor Ortiz? Do you remember a middleweight by the name of Gerald McClellan? He was the best fighter in the world until an intentional head butt turned him into a vegetable. How about Andre Dirrell? Remember him? Arthur Abraham's foul may have ended his promising career. Or what about Wilfredo Benitez? He was defeating Ray Leonard until a head butt by Leonard late in the fight left him disoriented. If someone is willing to foul that blatantly, who's to say he won't try again? What good is a million dollars if you have headaches the rest of your life?

Doug Dungee

I agree with you totally, Doug. Ortiz had head butted Mayweather several other times in the fight before the one in which referee Joe Cortez deducted a point. The butt he delivered was something that former pro wrestling star Bobo Brazil may have done. It was vicious. I equate the butts to what Mike Tyson did when he bit Evander Holyfield. He was frustrated, getting beaten up and was looking for a way out of the fight, so he fouled intentionally.

Despicable Floyd

Kevin, I usually think your opinions are thoughtful and balanced, but I can't believe you wrote Floyd's sole mistake on Saturday night was dodging the Manny Pacquiao questions. I can appreciate cunningness and rough tactics in the ring, but Mayweather's actions were despicable. Referee Joe Cortez, at best, was unclear with his instruction. Either way, the bottom line is that Floyd tricked Ortiz into the embrace and just as Ortiz backed off, he clocked him with two shots. Yes, Ortiz was just as bad with the intentional head butt, but it was in the heat of the moment and was a much more human mistake. Floyd's actions were completely calculated and deceptive. Pretty much everyone's initial reaction was the same and the correct response. You can hear HBO analyst Emanuel Stewart yell "Oh, no!" in shock and disappointment as it happened. That's because it was clear to everyone in that moment that fight had not resumed. Ortiz was stupid and deserved to get served, but not like that. Don't give me the "Protect yourself at all times" mantra. The media is completely misconstruing its intended meaning to let Floyd off the hook. I was a Mayweather fan, now I'm not.

Yunki Yau
Sydney, Australia

I've watched the final sequence numerous times. As I said above, Cortez said very clearly several times, "Let's go" and waved his hands together to resume the fight. At that point, time is in. I'd ask you, Yunki, when is enough enough of all of this kissing and hugging and tapping gloves that Ortiz was doing? He'd clearly head butted Mayweather several times in the fight, including a violent one that forced the referee to deduct a point for an intentional foul. How is Mayweather to know what Ortiz' intentions are at that point? Obviously, Ortiz was repeatedly fouling and he had just committed a vicious foul. Mayweather waited four to five seconds before punching. Given that the referee had said "Let's go" before Ortiz walked over, Mayweather would have been within his rights to punch immediately. He showed restraint by not doing that.


"I'm not going to make an excuse for that fight. My plan against Manny Pacquiao was not correct and I lost. I never expected to lose a fight like that. I have no excuses and just have to say that Manny Pacquiao was better than me on that night." – former world champion Antonio Margarito, who will meet Miguel Cotto on Dec. 3 in New York, talking about his 2010 fight with Pacquiao.

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