Sunday, February 11, 2007


One thing about fighters that I've learned is this - the great ones really never needed to tell us they were great - we can figure that out on our own, thank you very much. So, as I listened to Floyd Mayweather, Jr. rant and rave about his own greatness after he annexed the welterweight title on Saturday night and how he has "accomplished everything in boxing" that he needs to, I got out my rose colored glasses.

Remember this people, Floyd beat Carlos Baldomir, who is not even as good as Carlos Palomino. Think of it this way; after Ray Leonard separated Thomas Hearns from his senses and his WBA welterweight title belt on that September night in 1981, Leonard didn't stand up and preach to the assembled media that he was the greatest fighter of all-time. Leonard didn't need to tell us because greatness is something that can be seen quite easily by those of us that witness it.

Leonard beat a cadre of hall of fame fighters over the years that included Wilfred Benitez, Thomas Hearns, Roberto Duran and Marvin Hagler. Never, after any of those fights do I recall Leonard standing up and proclaiming that he was better than Sugar Ray Robinson or Muhammad Ali or every other fighter enshrined in the International Boxing Hall of Fame at Canastota.

No, the great ones have a humbleness and a sense of their own place in the world that says they don't need to tell everybody with ears how fantastic they are. Look at Joe Louis, nearly 12 years as heavyweight champion of the world with a record 25 successful title defenses and The Brown Bomber barely uttered a word about his own ring prowess or his place in the boxing world. Some will point to Muhammad Ali's boasts and prophetic rants as evidence that I'm all wrong about Floyd. Well, let me say this, Muhammad Ali was one of a kind as a human being, as a performer and as an athlete - and Floyd Mayweather, Jr. is no Muhammad Ali.

Yes, Floyd Mayweather, Jr. is the best boxer on the planet here in the year 2006. There is no question that he is the world's top pound-for-pound boxer. Over the course of the last decade, Mayweather has blazed a decent trail from 130 to 147 pounds and he has done it all while going undefeated and barely losing a round. Mayweather should be given credit where credit is due and for winning titles in four different weight divisions and beating a Who's Who of boxing and doing it with relative ease.

I'll go on record and say it now that Mayweather wouldn't have gotten by names like Leonard, Hearns, Benitez or Duran at any weight that you choose to make a fantasy match. And those are just the names from the 80's that Floyd wouldn't get by - don't even get me into the decades before that.

It's like this, and Floyd can call me a hater that drinks hater-ade, I don't need Floyd Mayweather, Jr. to tell me that he's a great fighter and neither do you. We can decide that all by ourselves, thank you very much.

Shannon The Cannon

I was as bemused as the next person that career underachiever Shannon Briggs finally won a fight that went to the late rounds. I'll go on record as saying that I thought Sergei Liakhovich was going to stop Briggs late in their fight. However, by some miracle, Briggs played the Mike Weaver to Liakovich's John Tate and won a heavyweight title at the literal last second by the hair of his blondie blonde dreadlocks.

I'm of the opinion that Briggs' victory is good for boxing, and there are several reasons behind that. Primarily, Briggs looks like a heavyweight champion doesn't he? At 6'4" and 270 pounds he's the public's ideal of what a heavyweight champion is supposed to be - a towering hulk of a man that can fight. Secondly, Briggs is quite well known to mainstream America having appeared in Bad Boys II and The Transporter as well as some other smaller bit parts in lower budget movies.

One thing about Briggs is that once you've seen him once you don't forget his face because of his distinctive looks. Shannon is also a good talker, is an engaging personality who would do well on the talk show circuits and he did fight George Foreman as well as Lennox Lewis. Briggs would be a natural on David Letterman or Jay Leno or Regis and Kelly and he's already appeared a bunch of times on Howard Stern's radio show. Briggs has been around for a long time and if Don King can get him out of his mandatory and match Briggs softly like he has Nikolai Valuev then there could be a big money, high profile match-up for Shannon Briggs somewhere down that lonesome road called the heavyweight division. Preferably that fight would be in Madison Square Garden in Briggs' hometown.

Klitschko vs. Brock

At about the time the first bell for this one goes off in New York City I'll be sitting down in Montreal's Bell Centre to listen to Elton John sing "Candle in the Wind". That's right, for the first time that I can remember I'm going to miss a live heavyweight title fight. Now before anybody gets the wrong idea here, I must say that my wife and I have our third wedding anniversary this weekend and that we always go to Montreal to celebrate it. Since we were going to be in Montreal and so was Elton, we figured what the heck, lets go see "Uncle Eltie"

Whatever the case, and whatever you may or may not think of Elton John, at least I know that whether I watched Klitschko pulverize Brock or listen to Elton sing, we'll all be treated to a candle in the wind on Saturday night.

I've had the opportunity to see Brock fight a couple of times in the flesh and while he does everything pretty good, in no way, shape or form is he ready for a fighter with Klitschko's offensive capabilities. Brock doesn't have the punch to keep Wladimir honest and frankly, I don't think he has the chin (see Brock against Jameel McCline) to stand up to the volume of punches that Klitschko will volley his way.

The "Boxing Banker" is going to go broke on Saturday night. I'd bet the house on Klitschko to play a tune on Brock's noggin and come away with a big win to blow away that "Candle in the Wind" called Calvin Brock.

November 2006

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