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Floyd Mayweather, A Cobra on Hapless Robert Guerrero’s Jungle Trail

Posted on 05/06/2013

By Ivan G. Goldman

Floyd Mayweather is a Mozart concerto performing in a world arena that’s generally more receptive to the likes of Justin Bieber. He moves fast, sees fast, thinks fast, and telegraphs nothing. By the time the opponent knows he’s thrown a punch, he’s been hit and Floyd’s not there to be countered. It’s like turning a corner on a jungle trail and getting struck on the back of the neck by a welterweight cobra. What was that?

Photo: Tom Casino/ Showtime

Which is why on Saturday we watched Robert Guerrero’s determined visage gradually morph over twelve rounds into a mask of frustration. There was a sadness to it, like seeing a child learn the terrible lesson that sometimes hard work and tenacity aren’t enough.

Once again we saw that Mayweather backs up his words with the kind of skill that defies comparison to contemporary fighters. Face it, he belongs in a whole other category — with fighters like the two great Sugar Rays, Roberto Duran, Henry Armstrong, Tommy Hearns, and Muhammad Ali.

It’s actually a testament to the observational skills of the general public that Floyd is such a huge attraction because generally people want to see a “Rocky” battle between two guys who take turns throwing wrecking ball punches. Mayweather is more of an acquired taste. George Foreman has likened the accomplished hit-and-not-get-hit style to jazz, a cerebral music that operates beyond the range of more popular styles practiced by the dimwitted Bieber, who, ironically, is a sometime member of the Mayweather entourage.

Floyd, competing in a sport that’s been eclipsed in popularity by ice hockey, golf, and tennis (forget about football, baseball and basketball), is the highest-paid athlete in the world. Against Guerrero he earned $32 million plus a piece of the pay-per-view buys. He can do this because Showtime boxing isn’t really a component of a TV network anymore. It’s Golden Boy Promotions using someone else’s money.

Showtime sports impresario Stephen Espinoza, who used to be the lead attorney for Golden Boy, apparently has permission from his corporate bosses to write all the checks he wants as long as he attracts a crowd. His first really big move was to wrench Mayweather away from HBO, which operates across a no man’s land studded with mines. Hunched along alongside Time-Warner’s HBO is Bob Arum’s Top Rank.

Golden Boy was a big, big winner Saturday night, along with the mysterious Al Haymon, the Rasputin-like fight manager who can only rarely be spotted in a fight crowd. In his stable is not only Mayweather, but also Leo Santa Cruz, the junior featherweight who easily bested Alexander Munoz, and middleweight J’Leon Love, who took a split decision he might or might not have deserved against rugged Gabriel Rosado.

Ruben Guerrero, Robert’s father and trainer, told everybody that Mayweather “fought like a chicken,” but the media were already bored with Ruben. His fabricated reality was getting outrageously clumsy and his rants were stale. The Mayweathers might rant, but they back it up with performance.

Other observations from Saturday, in no particular order:

* Floyd’s legs were still there. If he ever grows old, it will be on some other night.

* Floyd keeps repeating now that it’s “not cool to be in jail” and seems to want credit for that discovery. But if he’d learned the right lesson he’d be pointing out that it’s not cool to slap around women, that he’s sorry for it, and won’t do it again.

* Taking nothing away from Floyd Mayweather, Sr., the victory didn’t prove he’s a better trainer than his brother Roger.

* Mares looked great. Can’t wait to see him against Guillermo Rigondeaux or Nonito Donaire, except wait a minute, they’re in another solar system, the one that revolves around HBO and Top Rank. Fans lose again.

* Why the Mexican national anthem?

* The highlights before the introductions seemed about 92 percent Mayweather-centered, with Guerrero barely mentioned. That’s just plain wrong. What’s happened to the CBS Company (Showtime owner), which used to be the network of Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite? It’s now a collection of feather merchants that have no ability to recognize what is fair or balanced.

* Jim Gray still hasn’t learned that an unpopular decision isn’t the winner’s fault and he therefore shouldn’t be interrogated like he just mugged an old lady.

* Perhaps the dumbest post-fight question of all is to ask a fighter who was just knocked senseless whether the fight should have been stopped. How would he know, Jim? He just got knocked senseless.

Reading Goldman’s critically acclaimed novel Isaac: A Modern Fable {Permanent Press, 2012) is a fine experience the author wishes for each and every one of you. So buy it. Information HERE

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