Lyle Fitzsimmons, Bard Of Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

(Lyle Fitzsimmons, pictured at right, singing, “Brave sir Floyd…”)

There is no more sycophantic a writer amongst major boxing journalists who worship one specific fighter than Lyle Fitzsimmons, the BoxingScene/Miami Herald/TSN scribe who regularly sings the praises of Floyd Mayweather, Jr. as though a bard to the king. The sycophantic competition is fierce, mind you, but Fitzsimmons seems to, from what I can tell, see his role as a boxing writer as someone who should drool over every deed of Mayweather, stand at his castle and repel any verbal invaders who dare say an unkind word about the man who calls himself “Money” and other grand public services.

Fire Joe Morgan-style, let’s take a look at some of the more recent teenage love letters from Fitzsimmons to Mayweather.

Until he KOs Klitschko, no one’s satisfied.

Fitzsimmons wrote that Tweet Saturday night shortly after Mayweather heroically beat up Juan Manuel Marquez, a featherweight for most of his career who was fighting an opponent a good 30 pounds heavier than that. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m “some” one, and I’d be satisfied if Mayweather even fought Shane Mosley, Paul Williams or the winner of Manny Pacquiao-Miguel Cotto, i.e., men who would be able to honestly call themselves welterweights. He doesn’t have to knock them out. He doesn’t even have to win. He just needs to fight any of them. And then I’ll be satisfied. It’ll feel like I’m popping open a can of beer, it’s such a satisfying and refreshing notion for me to consider.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. is the devil.

Without dipping my toe into the message boards and other fan forums since the final bell of his fight with Juan Manuel Marquez Saturday night/Sunday morning, I can pretty much assume that as a prevailing sentiment.
That’s the adorable lede to his piece that ran as the top item on BoxingScene the other day. Isn’t he a stinker? The piece, by the way, is called “Learn To Love It… Floyd Mayweather Jr. Is Still #1.”
As predictable as the message boards and fan forums are, though, Fitzsimmons has become a little predictable himself. On BoxingScene’s very message boards, Ch@mpBox@PR wrote: “LOl I saw the title and I said to my self, I bet this is a Fitzsimmons article!!!!!!”
In pitching an absolute, complete and comprehensive shutout of Marquez – the critics’ pre-comeback choice as the world’s No. 2 fighter – in his first ring action since 2007, the Pretty Boy now known as “Money” has answered one question with dominant certainty.

He, and not Manny Pacquiao or any other 21-month stand-in, is the world’s best fighter.
It’s true. Pacquiao was a mere “stand-in.” He didn’t do anything while Mayweather was away to deserve to fill Mayweather’s seat, where his perfect buttocks once rested. Nor did anyone else, i.e. the “any other 21-month stand-in.” Who’s he talking about? Was there some other “21-month stand-in” I missed?
Don’t believe it?

Watch the tape. Or re-watch it, as the case may be.

And over the course of 36 minutes, find me one thing that says otherwise.

One flaw. One error.
I find something a little flawed in even wanting to beat up a blown-up featherweight who’d had a grand total of three fights above that weight, if you are, say, a guy who’d had 39 fights above that weight. That’s probably not what you meant though, right Fitzy? I suppose I could quibble and argue that maybe Mayweather should have been able to knock out a blown-up featherweight? But Fitzsimmons would get mad at me, so I won’t.
One chink in the armor that truly indicates – regardless of the fact different styles make different fights – Pacquiao will do any better when he gets his chance next year.

But before you do, though, I’ll save you all a little time.

Don’t bother.

It doesn’t exist.
I’ll tell you who’s the little devil — it’s Lyle Fitzsimmons! Here I was, about to go to the tape and review it, and here I find out the secret answer is “It doesn’t exist!” Maybe I’m not giving Fitzy enough credit here. He’s got me outsmarted already.
Let’s skip ahead a little.
And as for the weight issue that too many have been too happy to seize upon since Friday’s events, forget it.

No matter how decisive Nacho Beristain wanted to make it before the fight — despite his fighter’s initial insistence to the contrary — and how pertinent Marquez suddenly claimed it had been afterward, don’t you believe it.

I mean, seriously folks. Come on.

Mayweather is 5-foot-8. Marquez is 5-foot-6.

Mayweather weighed 146 pounds. Marquez weighed 142 pounds.

Two inches and four pounds, no matter how they’re distributed and what they consist of, simply aren’t going to make as much of a competitive difference as was apparent Saturday night.
Yeah, seriously, come on. What’s wrong with us folks? Here’s my question — based on what we saw Saturday night, is there anyone out there who would pick Marquez to beat a top-20 welterweight? Like, I dunno, Jesus Soto-Karass? I wouldn’t. I must not be a serious person. A not-serious person who thinks that if Marquez can’t beat a top-20 welterweight, weight may have been a factor.
I’m not saying that Marquez would have beaten Mayweather at 130 pounds a decade ago, or that weight was the lone reason Mayweather beat Marquez. But here’s a second question: If weight didn’t matter at all, A. Why did Mayweather come in over the weight limit, and Marquez clearly had to pack on some blubber to even get near the weight limit?; and B. If weight didn’t matter, why not have the fight at junior lightweight? What’s that? Mayweather couldn’t make junior lightweight if he tried? And Marquez could? Huh. That’s a serious mystery, seriously folks.
Ask Chris Byrd.

Or better yet, ask Mayweather about the 5-foot-10 Oscar De La Hoya he beat at 154 – a weight class he’d never seen.

While weighing all of 150 himself.

Two inches and four pounds, too. But not so much of a problem, huh?
I’m glad you asked, Lyle. Actually, two inches and four pounds was the only problem. De La Hoya’s height, reach and weight were about all that made De La Hoya even remotely competitive against Mayweather. I’m not one of them, but there are still people who insist De La Hoya won that fight. As for Chris Byrd, that he overcame his massive weight and height shortcomings at all is a testament to the extraordinary career he had as a heavyweight. Although it must be noted that he got his ass handed to him three times by giant-sized Klitschko brothers (winning once thanks to a Vitali shoulder injury) and one of the reasons the weight classes’ margins change the way they do from three to five to seven to 25 to unlimited as they ascend up the scale is because a few pounds proportionally starts to mean a lot less when a man weighs 220 pounds as compared to 126. I thought that kind of thing was super-obvious but I see now it requires a little bit of advanced calculus.
Say, so you can get a flavor of the epidemic nature of this stuff, let’s go back in time to a whole different column, where Fitzsimmons was once more leaping to take a bullet for poor innocent Mayweather. You might be surprised to learn that Fitzsimmons was very eager about Mayweather’s return to boxing. I know, I know.
Much like the New York Yankees in baseball, Notre Dame in football and Jeff Gordon in stock car racing, the charmingly villainous Mayweather provides an instant element of polarity that will separate one fan from another in a match against the sport’s newest superstar.
I feel like a marriage proposal is forthcoming. “Charmin
gly villainous.” One of those words makes sense. Is it “charming” to call trainer Manny Steward an “Uncle Tom” for no reason? What about his periodic homophobic rants? That’s some James Bond-level charming stuff right there. And there’s one other thing that I’ll touch on in a second, after skipping ahead.
But lest we forget, the “Pretty Boy” has a good side as well. He portrayed himself as a champion of battered women before a KO of later-convicted domestic abuser Diego Corrales in 2001, and has since crossed over to mainstream with a turn on “Dancing With the Stars” and an AT&T commercial.
Oh wait, I do remember that! Mayweather did “potray” himself as “a champion of battered women” before a KO of “later-convicted domestic abuser Diego Corrales.” And then a few years after that, Mayweather was a “later-convicted” (and other times accused) woman beater himself.
This requires such gymnastics to use it as a reason to praise Mayweather for having “a good side” that I can’t even fathom how blindly in love with Floyd Lyle has to be to say it. “See guys? He pretends to not be a woman-beater to attack a different woman beater and in doing so, we see the inner sweetheart that lies within.”
Mayweather may very well have a good side, but this example falls neither under “good side” nor “charmingly villainous.” Skipping ahead…
Showing [promoter] Bob Arum’s flair for revisionist history, [HBO commentator] Larry Merchant unleashed a signature anti-Mayweather tangent during Saturday’s broadcast, choosing to dismiss an 18-0 record in championship fights and title belts in five divisions as merely the product of a “smart” fighter.
Well, you got Merchant there, Lyle. I don’t think you get to that record by merely being smart. But I do think you probably get there easier against Zab Judah coming off a loss while somehow keeping his alphabet belt as opposed to taking Antonio Margarito’s, or when you pick up your belt fighting Arturo Gatti as opposed to Kostya Tszyu. Just saying. That is kinda smart. You do want us to admire Mayweather’s smarts, right? Skipping ahead…
And while I’ll concede that Pacquiao’s rare combination of speed and power present a challenge unique to any Mayweather’s faced, it’s far less daunting than what Merchant figures to endure while summoning the nerve to do the post-fight interview with a victorious arch enemy.

“So Floyd… nice win, but why exactly are you ducking Klitschko?”
Oh man, Fitzy loves that Klitschko line. So we come full circle, with it being unreasonable for anyone to expect or even want Mayweather to fight anyone who could have been considered the top fighter in his division since 2003. It’s as unreasonable as expecting or wanting Mayweather to fight Klitschko, innit?
There are other affectionate strokings of Mayweather’s delicate cheek out there in the Fitzsimmons canon; I was particularly fond of this bit where he talked about Mayweather dominating De La Hoya, Carlos Baldomir, Gatti and Corrales then added, “As for his other 35 [wins], not only has he won them all, but he’s done so while barely dropping a round… let alone a scorecard.” Like someone blocking out an incident from a painful childhood, Fitzsimmons clearly has buried any memory of a guy named “Jose Luis Castillo” deep in his memory banks.
But I think you get the idea. And you won’t have to wait long for the next gentle caress.

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board ( He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.