Floyd Mayweather Sr. was unusually solemn Saturday after helping Ricky Hatton to an 11th round technical knockout victory over Paulie Malignaggi in their super lightweight bout at the MGM Grand Garden.
The colorful boxing trainer has never met a camera or a tape recorder that he doesn't like, but after most reporters had left the media center on Saturday, he turned down the volume and was far less outrageous than the public persona he portrays.
He said he plans to continue to train boxers for no more than two years, and perhaps as little as just another year, as he battles the disease sarcoidosis.
Though Mayweather Sr. considers his greatest gift his ability to teach young boxers, he said he isn't interesting in taking on a challenge like that at this stage of his life.
"I just don't have the time to do that now," Mayweather Sr., 56, said.
According to the Sarcoidosis Research Institute's web site, it is "a complex disease for which the cause and cure are unknown. Sarcoidosis involves inflammation that produces tiny lumps of cells in the body. The lumps are called granulomas because under the microscope they look like grains of sugar or sand. When these granulomas invade the body they can cause permanent damage to the affected organ."
Mayweather said his lungs are affected and that physical exertion often exacerbates his condition. He said he's not looking for a large group of boxers to train, nor does he want to try to teach a young fighter from scratch.
"I'm going to see how it goes," said Mayweather, who taught his son, one-time pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr., the basics of the game at an early age. "But I know it's not going to be long. I am pretty sure I'm not going to be doing this more than two years. This lung disease is what I have to worry about."
As we wish Mayweather the best of luck and health in his fight against sarcoidosis, we'll now turn our attention to reader questions and comments in this week's edition of the boxing mailbag.
My answers are in italics after the questions.
Hatton was really impressive and his angles were great. Malignaggi was just flat-footed and reaching his jabs. He's the kind of fighter who sets up his hooks with his jabs and that gave him all his wins. It looked to me that Floyd Sr. just provided a better game plan for his fighter than Buddy McGirt. The way Malignaggi was fighting it looked like they planned for "Fatton's" one-punch and hug combo. Definitely, we've seen a renewed Hatton. Do you think McGirt is over protective of his fighters? What would be a better boxing match, Oscar De La Hoya-Hatton or Manny Pacquiao-Hatton?
Bacolod City, Philippines
Hatton looked much better, simply because he didn't rush in and grab all the time. In his last four or five fights prior to Saturday, Hatton would wade in face-first, throw a shot and then grab and maul his opponent. While he was hardly a perfect stylist on Saturday, at least he showed some semblance of defense and a jab, which is a step in the right direction. McGirt clearly made the right decision to stop the fight, though I don't understand why he even let the 11th round begin. Malignaggi was hopelessly behind and doesn't have the power to score a knockout. Given that, why let him take any more punishment just to say he finished the fight? McGirt was correct and should be commended. As for which fight I'd prefer, I'd love to see Hatton and Pacquiao. It would pit two guys roughly equal in size and would be an entertaining dustup.
Don't look ahead
It is funny how at the end of your column on the Hatton fight you said he could have a fight with Oscar in 2009. Remember that Oscar has to first get past the tough top-ranked pound-for-pound fighter, Manny Pacquiao.
Boca Raton, Fla.
Actually, I said he's in line to face the winner of the Dec. 6 De La Hoya-Pacquiao bout, which is correct. And with Oscar involved, you can never take anything as a guarantee. He's now saying he is going to fight again in 2009, but this came after months of stridently insisting he'd retire at the end of 2008. He changes his mind constantly. It's his right, but I don't take anything he says about the future too seriously, because I know he's liable to change in the next breath.
I see Golden Boy Promotions has done it again by announcing yet another pathetic undercard. I thought as a boxer himself, Oscar would fill his card with top-notch names. Alas, he has screwed the fight fans again and built an undercard full of no-names. Thanks for nothing, Oscar. Why can they keep getting away with this?
Golden Boy often puts on bad undercards, but it's not the only culprit. The promoters will tell you they don't have enough money to put on quality shows, because the main event fighters demand so much. I think the wealthier boxing promoters, like Golden Boy and Top Rank, ought to steal an idea from the Ultimate Fighting Championship and offer Fight of the Night and Knockout of the Night bonuses. The UFC offers anywhere from $40,000-70,000 for Fight of the Night, Knockout of the Night and Submission of the Night. Golden Boy and Top Rank ought to put that kind of money out there, which would be an inducement to the fighters on the undercard.
Don't knock Klitschko brothers
I wonder why you permanently rank the Klitschko brothers so low? Why do you seem to prefer the backyard brawling style over one that favors technique? Why learn technique and proper defense, if you're going to get rewarded for turning the fight into a bloody brawl? In that case, then, why should we buy tickets and pay good money when we could see a bloody brawl in pretty much any suburban bar.
I'm not sure where you get the notion that I rank the Klitschko brothers low. I have Wladimir No. 1 at heavyweight and Vitali No. 2. There is a large gap between them and the rest of the division.
What's with Margarito?
What is Antonio Margarito trying to do? He bailed out on the fight with Joshua Clottey. He didn't want a rematch with Paul Williams and he doesn't want to risk fighting Shane Mosley. When will the boxing world see through this fraud? He only wants to fight Miguel Cotto to get paid and he will only fight the guys whom he really thinks he can beat. We criticized Floyd Mayweather Jr. for not fighting Margarito or Cotto, but his resume looks a hell of a lot better than Margarito's. What really baffles me is when will the sanctioning bodies start doing their jobs and making the fighters fight their mandatories? Margarito used to be a dangerous fighter but he is only willing to fight Cotto for the big money. There is no way that he can be called the most feared guy in boxing. We may want to call him the most fearful and cautious champion. Williams is better and Clottey with no hurt hands would thoroughly frustrate him and possibly knock him out. I have no love for a coward.
Edward, we have a vast difference of opinion. I'm going to say up front it's 100 percent wrong to consider Margarito a coward. Sources say he's agreed to the Shane Mosley fight and it may be announced on Tuesday. There is talk of a Dec. 6 press conference to officially kick it off. There is an irony in the fact that Margarito claimed for years that the big names wouldn't fight him and that once he became a big name after stopping Cotto, he wanted to be careful in picking his opponent. But the bottom line is, he's agreed to the fight, so there is no room to criticize. And it was Clottey, not Margarito, who declined the proposed Nov. 1 bout.
Do the rematch
I agree with the person who wrote in saying he thought Joe Calzaghe is afraid to risk his undefeated status in a rematch with Bernard Hopkins, but I won't be upset if it doesn't happen. However, most close fights do have a part two, so why not this one? I feel cheated when we as fans are robbed of the chance to view a deserving rematch. It seems like a nice setup for both fighters: The previous winner can quiet the skeptics, or the previous loser can prove the first fight was a fluke. One of the greatest letdowns in boxing for me was that De La Hoya never got a rematch with Felix Trinidad. I believe De Le Hoya's mistake was a strategic error, more than having to do with ability. I'm pretty sure he would have defeated Trinidad with ease in a rematch. What do you think?
Grand Rapids, Mich.
I like rematches in most cases, but in the case of Calzaghe-Hopkins, there is little interest in it all around. The first fight wasn't exciting and most fans seem to think Calzaghe won convincingly. I agree with you about De La Hoya-Trinidad, though the rematch didn't happen because Trinidad and promoter Don King way overpriced themselves. I thought De La Hoya deserved to win the first bout and would have taken a rematch.
Not Roach's fault
Why did Oscar blame Freddy Roach for his loss to Mayweather? It seems he always has an excuse when he loses. I am Hispanic but I am kind of rooting for Manny Pacquiao. If Oscar fights his best, then he should dominate with his height and jab. I would love to see him with Margarito. I would have to say Oscar has been good for boxing but has he actually beaten any good fighters in their primes? I do not think Pernell Whitaker was, Chavez definitely was not and Vargas never really became a Hall of Famer. I can not consider him one of the best of all-time. What do you think?
Oscar isn't one of the best 100 fighters ever, but he deserves a spot, and will get one, in the International Boxing Hall of Fame. No matter what anyone says, he lost to Mayweather, though, because he was facing a younger and more skilled fighter. The defeat had nothing to do with Freddie Roach. And while I'd agree that he hasn't beaten a Hall of Fame-bound fighter who was still in his prime, he has beaten some quality fighters who were. Rafael Ruelas and Ike Quartey were in their primes when Oscar defeated them.
Can't get enough of Kevin Iole's mailbag? Then check out last week's edition.