By Kirk Jackson
He’s an adversary making appearances in all sports and in all walks of life. One of the weapons in his arsenal includes attacking his opponents inflicting various injuries. He is the master of neutralizing what makes you great, slowly sapping away talent and or skill whether it be speed, quick reflexes, agility or any other dominate trait. It can happen over the course of days, weeks, months, years.
He’s felled the careers of legendary figures such as Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson and many others. Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant most notably suffered his wrath when he ruptured his left Achilles earlier in the year.
“Each great athlete must someday bow to that perennial old champion, Father Time, even as I, for time eventually wins.” — Major Taylor.
Father time. He’s gone up against every single athlete and emerged victorious and unscathed. He currently has his sights set on boxing great Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Yes, Mayweather is still a great fighter. Everyone knows of the “Pretty Boy” or “Money May” brand.
The eight world titles across five different weight classes, a championship reign spanning across three decades, the undefeated record, the conquering over 19 world titlists, surviving as the best and last from his generation of fighters. The “Last of the Mohicans” if you will.
As impressive as Mayweather’s resume is, the past is the past and you’re only good as your last fight.
His last couple fights have taken place Cinco de Mayo weekend on successive years.
In 2012, it was an action packed bout against multiple division champion Miguel Cotto at the junior middleweight division.
Although it was ruled a unanimous decision in favor of Mayweather, there were some rough moments for the P4P king.
Surely the caliber of his opponent, Cotto is no pushover. Some may suggest it was the weight difference, as Cotto weighed around 168 pounds the night of the fight and Mayweather was around 148 pounds. Some may mention other factors, like Mayweather being sick with the flu leading up to the fight. Whatever the case may be, it wasn’t the same Floyd Mayweather we are accustomed to seeing.
The reasoning for the tough fight may be attributed to Cotto’s fighting style and skill, especially his calculated, well timed jabs.
Mayweather was 35-years-old when he faced Cotto, now he is 36.
In recent years, Floyd has had sporadic trips to the ring, interrupted by a trip to jail. Inactivity can be a fighter’s worst enemy.
Mayweather has only had five fights dating back to 2009. This is his first time fighting twice in the same year since 2007, when he took on Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton.
His lack of inactivity may be due to injury, lack of necessity to fight because he earns at least 25 million plus for every fight, or a number of other reasons.
The six fight, 30 month, $200 million dollar deal with Showtime may be unrealistic for Mayweather. Who knows how his body will hold up?
The same advantages Mayweather had over opponents at age 26, will not be as noticeably present at age 36.
The hand speed is still there, his technical skills are still present, but his reflexes aren’t as sharp as they once were. At times it appears he does not possess the same spring in his step and he has had to make a change to his fighting style, not moving around the ring as often as he used to. The great thing about Mayweather is he is able to adapt to any situation and any fighting style.
He still possesses a sharp boxing mind, but sometimes the mind will want you to do something your body isn’t capable of doing anymore.
Bernard Hopkins, 48, knows of this all too well.
Perhaps father time’s biggest rival, Hopkins is the oldest fighter to hold a world title and continues to tackle the young lions of the sport. There is the possibility Mayweather can take a few notes from Hopkins and follow his lead.
Historically, guys like Archie Moore, George Foreman, Juan Manuel Marquez and Hopkins have excelled well into their 40’s, so it can be done.
The question is would people still give him a realistic chance to beat Mayweather if Floyd was on the other side of 30?
The same question poses for Saul “Canelo” Alvarez is who at least one division higher and more than 20 pounds naturally heavier than Mayweather. Would people give Canelo a realistic chance to defeat Mayweather if he was younger?
Perhaps. As Mayweather says “Skills pay the bills,” but size does matter.
Former world champion Amir Khan mentioned Mayweather’s decline and his chances going up against Mayweather. On The Ropes Boxing Radio program.
“His feet have slowed down a lot, his defense is not like it used to be, and his upper body and lateral movement is not the same.”
Khan’s assessment may explain the black eye and some of the struggles of Mayweather’s training camp leading up to his fight against Guerrero. His longest training camp to date by the way.
A dangerous fight given Guerrero’s skill, Mayweather’s long layoff which included a stint in jail and the switch in lead trainers transitioning back his father Floyd Mayweather Sr.
There were many questions regarding whether or not if Floyd still had it entering his last fight against Robert Guerrero this past May.
After taking a few rounds to warm up, it appeared Mayweather still possesses the same skills that we are used to seeing from him. He was able to move around the ring effectively, used his defense and counter-punching to avoid damage and also inflicted a good deal of damage himself.
Guerrero is far from a scrub. Even with his recent defeat against Mayweather, he still has skills and many traits that make him dangerous for anyone neighboring the welterweight division.
Mayweather’s upcoming fight with Alvarez should have an easier transition training camp wise considering there isn’t a long layoff in between fights. Question is how will the shorter rest period in between fight affect Floyd? Will he be fresher and in better fight condition because of his recent activity?
Or will his age finally show and will he look like a fighter who has spent over 17 years in this dangerous sport? There is a saying in the fight game. Sometimes a fighter will get “Old” overnight. It varies case by case.
Victor Ortiz couldn’t do it, Robert Guerrero, along with 40 plus other fighters failed to do it.
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez may or may not be “The One” who hands Mayweather his first official defeat, but at some point, father time will eventually catch up to Floyd Mayweather.