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Azad Championship Report - Still on the “Money” at 36

(Photo © German Villasenor, MaxBoxing)
(Photo © German Villasenor, MaxBoxing)


Robert Guerrero is a pretty good professional prizefighter. But it will take someone of much higher caliber to topple Floyd Mayweather, even at age 36, who on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in front of nearly 16,000 patrons, easily outboxed “The Ghost” over 12 rounds. The three scorecards that read 117-111 across the board didn’t fully speak to the dominance exhibited by Mayweather.
 
It capped off a good night of action from top-to-bottom brought to you by Golden Boy Promotions. Here are some thoughts as I watched this fight couch-side from “Casa de Gabion,” where the good times and Zima were flowing...

-  Mayweather reminds me a lot of Kobe Bryant. Both can be polarizing figures, who have an extreme confidence (perhaps arrogance) about their abilities in their chosen fields. And they have been essentially born and bred to box and play hoops, respectively. They are savants at what they do but what really stands out is how both are fending off the aging process by being so fundamentally sound at their craft and adding dimensions to their games. Kobe is no longer that guy - even before his recent Achilles injury - who can consistently beat a defender off the dribble and finish high above the rim. But what he has honed over the years is the ability to post up, have deft footwork and a deadly accurate fade-away.
 
Mayweather may not have the ability to effortlessly glide around the ring for 36 minutes as he did a decade ago but he doesn’t just rely on movement to be elusive. He has an incredibly high ring I.Q. and his often-duplicated but never fully replicated shoulder roll defense safely protects his chin. Unlike a Roy Jones, whose effectiveness dissipated rapidly because it was so reliant on quickness and reflexes, Mayweather will much more easily absorb any loss of those traits because he’s much more technically sound and can fight inside the pocket and work off a solid jab.
 
For a guy his age, Mayweather doesn’t have all that many miles on his odometer. He’s never taken that much punishment inside the ring and in-between his long hiatuses, he keeps himself in immaculate physical condition. You could make an argument that Floyd is a “young” 36.
 
-  Moving forward, who does Mayweather fight next and when? He mentioned he might have injured his right hand, which may put his proposed September 14th return in some jeopardy (most industry insiders never believed it was realistic that Mayweather would return this quickly given it’s been over a decade since he’s fought twice in a four-month span). Also, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez has been talking as if he’s getting dibs on that Mexican Independence Day pay-per-view slot (and yeah, he is Mexican, after all).
 
Let’s get this out of the way; Mayweather vs. Alvarez is not happening next. OK? Case closed. It says here that Mayweather will settle in at 147 (now his most natural weight) for the duration of this deal at Showtime. Anyone who wants a crack at him will have to move to welterweight. “Canelo” is the unified beltholder at junior middleweight and there’s also this issue: he brings some economic clout to the negotiating table given he is one of the sport’s biggest stars - on both sides of the border. Unlike a Guerrero, who received “just” $3 million this past weekend, Alvarez could rightfully demand up to a $10 million guarantee. Also Golden Boy Promotions may not want to risk derailing the “‘Canelo’ Express” so soon anyway.
 
Who knows how the pay-per-view did? But it probably won’t matter given Mayweather, under the parameters of his much-ballyhooed deal with Showtime, has his money guaranteed regardless. So whether they do a million buys or several hundred thousand, Mayweather - who took in $32.5 million for facing Guerrero according to the NSAC - is protected financially.
 
Realistically, given the current state of the business, to be in the running to face Mayweather means you have to be under the Golden Boy or Al Haymon umbrella. So naturally the likes of Devon Alexander, Amir Khan, Danny Garcia and (in the future) Lamont Peterson and Lucas Matthysse (who battle on May 18th) seem to be likely options (and for everyone’s sanity, l hope nobody mentions a certain Filipino congressman in these discussions).
 
I could see a scenario where Mayweather finishes this Showtime contract (which would then bring him to 49-0) and perhaps plan a big final, farewell fight versus “Canelo” - which would be a huge pay-per-view event - as he walks into the sunset.
 
-  When you talk about who the elite fighters are in boxing, I think too many pundits and fans focus on their skills and not enough on their actual achievements inside the ring. Case in point is Abner Mares, who won his third major title in as many weight classes by stopping the rugged Daniel Ponce de Leon in nine rounds.
 
No, it isn’t always a work of art or necessarily graceful with Mares but just look at his résumé the past couple of years. He had a very strong run at bantamweight (where he captured Showtime’s tournament) and then at junior featherweight, he beat the very difficult Anselmo Moreno last November. He then came right back to challenge Ponce de Leon, who had long established himself at 126.
 
Yeah, Mares may not have the flash of or be as dynamic as Donaire but tell me: who has consistently faced better opposition? This isn’t to say Mares is a better fighter than the “Filipino Flash” or that he’d necessarily beat him if they ever faced each other in the ring. But boxing has a habit of giving too much credence to hypotheticals and not enough to actual achievements.
 
The most surprising thing about this fight was it was Mares who scored two knockdowns against Ponce de Leon - but it did look like a quick stoppage from referee Jay Nady.
 
Regardless, another quality “W” for Mares.
 
-  Leo Santa Cruz could shadowbox and I’d find it entertaining. And he did =the “Chris Rock” - doing what he was supposed to do - in halting the aged Alexander Munoz in five one-sided rounds. It’s not just that “Teremoto” wins, it’s how he does it. In every fight, Santa Cruz exhibits a two-fisted body attack and a willingness to get inside and do work. Fans have compared him to a smaller version of the “Tijuana Tornado,” Antonio Margarito. But honestly, Margarito never possessed this type of sharpness or technique.
 
Here’s an interesting stat on Santa Cruz, who improved his record to 24-0-1 (14): in his last six bouts, he has registered four knockouts of fighters who had never previously been stopped, Alejandro Gonzalez, Eric Morel, Victor Zaleta and, now, Munoz.
 
As for the future, Golden Boy would like to bring him back by the summer and get him a title shot at 122. Regardless, whoever he fights, I want to see it.
 
-   I had Gabriel Rosado beating J’Leon Love by a score of 96-93 but even with a knockdown of Love in the seventh frame, you got that sneaking suspicion that it was going to be tough for Rosado to beat a boxer promoted by Mayweather Promotions on this particular card. And when the scorecards were read, while both Dave Moretti (who scored it 95-94 for Love) and Glenn Trowbridge (95-94 for Rosado) had it close, Herb Santos saw Love as the victor by the margin of 97-92.
 
Now, perhaps that’s just how Santos saw this particular fight. Everyone is certainly entitled to their opinions and judging is difficult. It’s a subjective art form in which you have to be objective. Maybe Mr. Santos just had a bad night at the office. Certainly, we’ve all had those but there’s an old saying in boxing, “Fighters fight for today. Judges judge for tomorrow.” In other words, judges will do what they can to ensure they are looked upon favorably by certain powerful entities who can influence whether they get assignments or not.
 
Let’s just monitor Santos from here on out. See which cards he gets assigned to and how he judges fights.
 
-  Going back to “Canelo” and the possibility of him facing Miguel Cotto on September 14th at the MGM Grand. If that’s the match-up that takes place, then that would be a pay-per-view event. As you probably know, Top Rank announced a bout between Juan Manuel Marquez and Tim Bradley on this same date at the Thomas and Mack Center (Yogi Berra would say this is déjà vu all over again).
 
So at that point, the cable industry has a decision to make. Which event does it go with?
 
But as they say, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
 
Especially in boxing’s version of the “Cold War.”
 
FINAL FLURRIES
 
I thought Golden Boy showcased three potential world champions on Friday night at the Cosmopolitan in Joseph Diaz Jr., Errol Spence and Antonio Orozco...Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated tweeted out on Sunday afternoon that Mayweather-Guerrero sold 15,880 tickets for a gate of around $9.9 million...I think the Pacers will give the Knicks all they can handle - and then some...I also expect the Grizzlies to push OKC to the limit...“Vice” on HBO shows you one thing: as imperfect as the United States is, it’s still a lot better than rest of the world...

I can be reached at k9kim@yahoo.com and I tweet at www.twitter.com/stevemaxboxing. We also have a Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/MaxBoxing, where you can discuss our content with Maxboxing readers as well as chime in via our fully interactive article comments sections.


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