Floyd Mayweather Jr: The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree
By Jermill Pennington | Boxing News 24
Many have pondered what makes Floyd Mayweather Jr so good. Is it the great foot work or is it the great hand speed? In my estimation it’s simple but as complex as genes. I have asked myself many times “what makes Mayweather so good”. When watching him fight, unlike greats of the past like Sugar Ray Leonard, Tito Trinidad etc., nothing about Mayweather really jumps off the screen.
He doesn’t have the eye catching flash, or the devastating knock out power. So to the untrained eye, it may appear like he’s doing things that almost anyone can do. Those who know boxing is likely the toughest sport to succeed in suggest that Mayweather’s competition has been weak therefore allowing him to flourish in an era of sub-par contenders.
My theory had for years been that Mayweather just possess every tool in the box, a jack of all trades. Until one night while watching some legendary fights on YouTube, I stumbled across a fight that I hadn’t heard much mention of. The fight took place in 1976; it featured a 24 year fighter from Grand Rapids Michigan named Floyd Mayweather. His opponent that night was a 23 year old fighter, who had won a gold medal in the Olympics by the name of Sugar Ray Leonard. The fight didn’t have great build up; both fighters were at the beginning of their careers. The fight was called by the great Howard Cosell.
Of course Ray being a golden boy was the attraction versus the little known Mayweather, but you could see from the opening bell that Mayweather was not short in the confidence category. It seemed as though Mayweather knew who Leonard was; Mayweather knew Leonard was the so called next big thing to come in the boxing world. Mayweather seemed to have a chip on his shoulder in the early rounds, wanting to show that Leonard may have recognition, but Mayweather felt he was just a good. As the fight went on, Cosell kept reiterating as only he could, with his sporadic cadence in delivery “this young Floyd Mayweather doesn’t have much power, but seems to know every trick in the book at such a young age”.
Mayweather fought behind a shoulder all night, throwing fast jabs, and overhand rights, only to eventually be overwhelmed by Leonard very late in the fight. The fight was very competitive, I then wondered what happed to Floyd Mayweather’s career from then on, knowing his background it’s safe to assume the streets got the best of him for a while. But it is certain that if not for outside factors in his life, Floyd Mayweather would have likely been a fighter of mention today. As for Roger Mayweather, his career is well documented achieving more than his older brother Floyd, but I doubt in the family circles is known as the better fighter between the two.
It’s not safe to say that just because you come from a fighting family, you will in turn be a great fighter. Surely it does happen, as we see with the likes of Mikey Garcia, and Julio Chavez Jr, but it’s also quite easy to recall names such as Marvis Frazier, and Hector Camacho Jr. So what makes Mayweather so good, I say he fights a lot like his father. Most aren’t familiar with Floyd Sr. the fighter, Roger is the better known of the Mayweather’s, but Roger was much more a stalking power fighter.
I encourage all to watch this fight if you enjoy intricacies of the fight game. Also, there is always talk of how Floyd Jr. would have done against the great welter weights of the past. Often Leonard is the standard as the best of the era, and is seen as the man Mayweather Jr. could not have beaten. Just for fun, if Floyd’s father could take Leonard in his prime to his fighting limits, what could Jr. have done versus Ray, that we will never know.
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