A flicker

Conrad M. Cariño

Conrad M. Cariño

As expected, the last bout of Floyd Mayweather Jr. ended with a ho-hum note. It was not worth watching and generated criticisms left and right. Was Floyd Berto the name of his opponent?

Mayweather actually blew away the chance to end his career with a bang. Instead, it ended with a flicker. And here he is boasting that he matched the 49-0 record of the legendary Rocky Marciano.

I am not disrespecting Mayweather for his matching the 49-0 record of Marciano. In fact, Mayweather even did better than Marciano in a few aspects like in number of championship bouts.

Mayweather fought in at least 28 title bouts compared to the seven of Marciano. The American also had his first title bout (at junior lightweight or 130 pounds) in his 18th fight when he was only 21 years old. On the other hand, Marciano’s first crack at the title was on his 43rd bout and he was already 29 years old by then.

When it came to “super fights” or marquee match ups that generated a large audience, Mayweather can be credited with three that he all won by decision: against Oscar Dela Hoya on May 5, 2007; against Canelo Alvarez on September 14, 2013; and against Manny Pacquiao on May 2, 2015.

Unfortunately, Marciano only had one real marquee match up that, fortunately, however, was his last bout.

On September 21, 1955, Marciano squared off with lightheavyweight champion Archie Moore at the Yankee Stadium. Although 41 years old by then, Moore was known for his ring savvy and would lose only thrice in his next 42 fights. Two of those losses after Marciano would be to heavyweight champions Floyd Patterson and Muhammad Ali, both by stoppage. When he retired, Moore would be 46 years old with a record of 181-23-10 with 131 KOs.

According to the book “Rocky Marciano, The Rock of his Times” by Russell Sullivan, the Marciano-Moore fight had a live audience of 61,574, and had about 400,000 people watching from a closed circuit network in 133 movie theaters in 92 cities in the United States. Also, 250 million tracked the bout via radio broadcast. Marciano won via ninth knockout but hit the deck in the second round and sustained a cut beside his left eye in the third round. The bout was almost a see-saw battle.

Just imagine how big the closed circuit audience of Marciano-Moore would have been if in 1955 the US had the same communications infrastructure today and had a population of 320 million. In 1955, the US population was 165 million.

The Marciano-Moore bout had a pre-fight hype that was perpetuated largely by Moore through his media connections. And the fight lived up to its hype.

So come to think of it – Mayweather could have earned more respect and there would be less criticism against him had he fought a more worthy opponent. There are actually plenty of them that he can actually beat like undefeated fighters Danny Garcia (31-0 with 19 knockouts), Keith Thurman (26-0 with 22 KOs) or even Gennady Golovkin (33-0 with 30 KOs) who may be willing to go down to light middleweight or 154 pounds just to fight Mayweather.

Mayweather actually needed a really worthy opponent to end his career because his performance when he beat Pacquiao in their supposed “megabout” ended with a ho-hum note (although Mayweather won hands down).

In this age where cyberspace has a lot of influence, expect Mayweather to be chastised for his last two fights that can make a big percentage of boxing fans overlook his impressive body of work before fighting Pacquiao.

As for Marciano, at least he ended his career with a bang while attaining an impressive knockout ratio from his undefeated record.


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1 Comment

  1. Greatness usually covered by boastfulness, thrash talks and pride. That’s the difference between Rocky Marciano and Floyd Mayweather, Jr.