Floyd Mayweather deserves full credit as it appears he is about to remove the “ducker” label which has plagued his name in recent years.
By the looks of things right now, Floyd Mayweather has decided to accept and face in a duel the most dangerous and complicated challenge of his professional career – Manny Pacquiao.
But Floyd might be sensing that this will be an extraordinarily difficult task to deal with – and that he will need some outside assitance to help combat “The Destroyer” from the Philippines.
So on the “Joe Buck Live” show on HBO on Tuesday night, Floyd Mayweather issued a request to the viewing audience: “I’m an American citizen and I want the American people to stand behind me – like our American soldiers,” said the unbeaten boxer.
Whether he would ever admit it or not, this upcoming showdown with Pacquiao on March 13, 2010 is certainly a much more dangerous assignment for Mayweather than his recent previous fights. In the buildup before matches against Baldomir from Argentina, Hatton from England, Marquez from Mexico, I do not recollect Mayweather ever requesting American boxing fans to stand behind him and support him like an American soldier.
Because it’s pretty safe to assume Mayweather knew those opponents posed minimal risk. This time he must realize, Pacquiao is a maximum threat. And the intangible factor of emphatic crowd support can sometimes make a difference in one on one sporting events. In my experienceas a journalist, I can remember many examples of athletes from tennis and boxing saying how the crowd support got them through the adversity, for example, Andy Murray matches at Wimbledon. Conversely, crowd support against an athlete and for the opponent, can also be a huge factor. Such as Martina Hingis when the French Open crowd turned against her and cheered on the veteran Steffi Graf to a comeback win after Hingis questioned a call and crossed the net at the French Open final. Ali vs. Foreman in Zaire is another example. Another example is the Jimmy Young-George Foreman fight in 1977 in Puerto Rico. The 12,000 fans at Roberto Clemente Stadium were appalled by Foreman’s repeated fouling tactics early in the fight and they vocally supported Young with enormous chants of JIMMY YOUNG, JIMMY YOUNG, JIMMY YOUNG. Young was badly hurt in round seven but the crowd willed him through it and on to victory.
Does Floyd Sense The End Is Near?
When a boxing champion is at the top of his game you will never directly hear him express doubt about himself, or that an end to his success is imminently near. So you have to look for other clues, you have to read between the lines.
If there was one thing that Mayweather said last night on “Joe Buck Live” that could indicate some inner doubt, it would be this:
“Well I know what’s gonna happen. I predict…I know what’s gonna happen.”
Then Floyd contradicted himself in the flow of the same thought. “It’s hard to predict what’s gonna happen. Because, of course, your job in boxing is like a cop – one shot could end your whole career. And it’s different than a team sport, and one on one combat. And I think I’m a very, very smart and intelligent fighter. That’s why I was able to be in the sport of boxing so long and dominate the sport just being smart.”
Did you catch that? He referred to his reign as being in the past tense. As if, deep down in the subconscious, he knows it might be over.
We’ll see on March 13. Hopefully.
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