That is some weird entourage Floyd Mayweather had over the weekend: a pop star beloved by tweens (Lil Wa… oops, I mean Justin Bieber), a pair of rappers (Lil Wayne, 50 Cent) and a refugee who couldn’t pursue a professional boxing career in Cuba turned promotional refugee who cannot pursue a professional boxing career in America (Yuriorkis Gamboa). I wonder what they talked about. Booty? Bieber’s $20,000 fish necklace?
We haven’t talked about everything there is to talk about from the weekend, which is why we’ll revisit said weekend, mostly the subject in the headline. If you want to talk about booty or fish necklaces, though, feel free to ignore the stuff I wrote and just pontificate about that stuff. Alternately you could talk about fishes and booty necklaces.
- Scoring in the fight. I caught some hell for my draw score of Mayweather-Miguel Cotto, so I went back and rescored it, paying special attention to Mayweather and trying to be more generous to him. Guess what? Scored it a draw again, only flipping some rounds. I’m clearly just not seeing the fight most everyone else is seeing. It’s no thrill for me to admit this and risk catching yet more negative feedback. But I only saw a handful of clear rounds in the fight, and a ton of toss-ups. Maybe I don’t need to feel sorry for myself for being outside the “clear Mayweather win” conclusion most have arrived at, and perhaps I’d suggest those who scored it widely for Mayweather rescore it themselves; much as factors like crowd overreaction to Cotto’s flurries might have affected those of us who scored it super-close, there’s a chance that HBO’s adherence to the “Mayweather is so dominant all the time” storyline in its commentators’ narrative influenced those who scored it big for Floyd. If Cotto has a problem with the scores, he won’t say it out loud; there’s something about the economy with which Cotto expresses himself that comes off as class, every time I hear him talk. Mayweather considers it the toughest fight of his career, anyway (still not sure why he never considers the first Jose Luis Castillo fight for that honor).
- Next for Mayweather. Barring some kind of mystical jailtime self-discovery from Floyd that he’ll be bedeviled his whole life by questions about why he didn’t fight Manny Pacquiao, Floyd isn’t offering Pacquiao a 50-50 split and fighting him next. He says retirement is an option and that he’s not sure who’s out there for him. It’s probably true that many of the options aren’t warmed up enough either financially or competitively or both. With Lamont Peterson’s high jinks, maybe Amir Khan becomes more viable because people will say, “He didn’t really lose his last fight because Peterson was cheating.” As flawed as Khan looked in that fight, he does bring some U.K. fandom to the table, and he does good TV ratings in the U.S., and his style could mess with Mayweather with his jab, length and speed. Andre Berto, should he beat Victor Ortiz in a welterweight rematch, is being discussed as an option, but I don’t see it because Mayweather and Berto share Al Haymon as an adviser and I can’t name a single Haymon vs. Haymon fight that’s ever happened, oh, and Berto’s invisible outside the hardcore fan base. Middleweight champ Sergio Martinez would be the most competitive option, and would sell better than people think, I suspect, because Mayweather taking on someone as big and formidable as Martinez would be Mayweather really shooting for greatness. But after a second struggle at junior middleweight, I doubt we see Mayweather at the 154 limit again. And junior middleweight Canelo Alvarez, who would sell best of all, simply isn’t ready and promoter Golden Boy knows it. So the options are indeed relatively thin outside Pacquiao, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Mayweather wait until next year brings him someone who’s flowered financially or competitively or both.
- Next for Cotto. This guy. I never embraced the line that he was shot after the Antonio Margarito or Manny Pacquiao beatdown losses; I did eventually come around to the idea that he had slowed down a touch, though, and this past weekend he proved everyone wrong who doubted he was still a top-notch boxer. Cotto has a ton of options. An eventual Pacquiao rematch is more saleable now, although maybe it can’t happen because Cotto is at 154 now and Pacquiao’s team has said he won’t go back to that weight class. But the range of fights Cotto could be in that could do boffo business and that would be seen as competitive just increased. Cotto-Martinez? Sure, even though I’d favor Martinez, if not as much as before. Cotto-Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. or Cotto-Alvarez are fights that would deliver the Puerto Rico-Mexico rivalry and that I’d now favor Cotto to win in both cases. Cotto-James Kirkland sounds nice too. The world is Cotto’s oyster, his reputation burnished to new levels by a terrific performance in a loss that eclipses all his wins.
- Next for Alvarez. I go back and forth about how good I think Alvarez is, and I’d mostly been of the mind that he’s shown a lot of improvement in the last year or so, but I just wasn’t impressed by Alvarez’ win over Shane Mosley. I’ve heard praise for Mosley’s performance but I saw an old guy with bad reflexes still tagging Alvarez more than he had any right to, and that’s no tribute to Mosley; it’s a knock on Alvarez. Still, he is a legit junior middleweight contender and I can imagine him being competitive with everyone at the weight. Kirkland could be up in September. I would watch the hell out of that fight.
- Cotto-Mayweather tidbits. Mosley really has to retire. He sounded after the Alvarez fight like he thought he might. But I see Mosley as a guy who hangs on way, way, too long, just because he loves the sport too much… I didn’t like HBO’s Larry Merchant starting off his interview with Mayweather by talking about how Mayweather had apologized to him for their confrontation after the Victor Ortiz fight. Merchant made himself the story too much by doing that. Say it afterward, if you think it’s so important that the world knows, in your wrap-up at the end of the broadcast. Also Floyd Mayweather Sr. didn’t like it, for his own reasons… In one of the prefight segments, HBO’s Jim Lampley appropriately asked Georgetown sociology professor Michael Eric Dyson why he’d allowed Mayweather, in an HBO interview segment, to compare his jail sentence for domestic violence to that of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s own jail time. If I understood him correctly, Dyson basically said that maybe the comparison wasn’t so inappropriate, since King had apparently been turned down for a job at one point because the prospective employer thought he went to jail too often and therefore wasn’t a “role model.” Those situations are not remotely similar in any single way. None. I don’t recommend anyone pursue a sociology degree at Georgetown unless they want to learn how to say a bunch of stupid bullshit.
- Other weekend tidbits. D.C.-area junior welterweight DeMarcus Corley’s career is one improbable surprise after another. You think he’s finished after a series of losses, some close and some bad, and then he pops another upset like the one he pulled against Paul McCloskey over the weekend. It must be said that Corley benefited from a poor stoppage, but he looked sharp throughout and did have McCloskey hurt and might have finished him anyway. Chop Chop, love ya, man. Up next for Chop Chop: A bad loss, a good one, or a surprise victory… Rafael Marquez’ stay-busy weekend fight kept him busy and next up might be junior featherweight Wilfredo Vazquez, Jr. That’s a nice fight, although you’d think Marquez would be sick by now of fighting people named Vazquez… The 12th round of Marco Huck-Ola Afolabi II is pure chaotic action. Afolabi is practically unconscious for a stretch and just keeps winging wild power shots. It’s a Round of the Year candidate and you ought to watch the final stanza of the match-up between the two cruiserweights that couldn’t be more evenly matched (this one ended in a majority draw, the first one a close Huck victory).