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List of Articles by Joaquin Henson



Manny on Money’s mind

By Joaquin Henson
PhilBoxing.com
29 Aug 2017



Manny Pacquiao remains in the back of Floyd Mayweather, Jr.’s mind, whether Money likes it or not. Right after Mayweather halted Conor McGregor in the 10th round of their highly-publicized bout in Las Vegas last Saturday night (Sunday morning, Manila), Money said he played the aggressor’s role to make up for his showing against Pacquiao two years ago.

Mayweather was severely criticized for refusing to engage Pacquiao and fans questioned his credibility as a pound-for-pound fighter because of his conservative, defense-oriented style. Pacquiao battled Mayweather with a torn rotator cuff starting the fourth round but still, Money wouldn’t stand his ground, preferring instead to dance and shoulder-roll. Experts were divided in deciding who should’ve won the verdict. Mayweather, however, wound up the winner via a unanimous decision.

Against McGregor, Mayweather fought with a purpose. He baited McGregor to punch himself out in the early rounds then put on the pressure starting the fourth. Slowly, Mayweather wore down McGregor who never went beyond five rounds in his MMA career. Fatigue was evident when in the ninth round, McGregor could hardly raise his arms to defend himself. Judges Dave Moretti and Guido Cavalleri scored the ninth 10-8 for Mayweather even if McGregor wasn’t floored.

Referee Robert Byrd ended the carnage at 1:05 of the 10th with Mayweather firing at will and McGregor defenseless against the ropes. Byrd should’ve stopped it earlier. Not surprisingly, McGregor said he could’ve gone on. But at what cost? McGregor said Byrd should’ve stepped in only if he fell. He should know that in boxing, the referee won’t wait for a fighter to tap out or raise his hands in surrender because that hardly ever happens.
****

Byrd, 74, was a poor choice as referee. He tolerated McGregor’s hammer punches and clinching tactics. McGregor should’ve been docketed at least a point for trying to do what Jeff Horn did to Pacquiao in Brisbane. Byrd had worked only one Mayweather fight previously, the 2013 win over Robert Guerrero. He gave McGregor too much leeway to roughhouse illegally.

McGregor entered the fight with a reputation as a power striker but it didn’t look like he ever hurt Mayweather, not even in the first round which the three judges awarded to the Irishman. Mayweather also lacked the power to take out McGregor with a single shot. It was the accumulation of punches and exhaustion that eventually conspired to bring him down.

One of the judges, Burt Clements was chastised for his mistake in robbing Pacquiao of a win by split decision over Juan Manuel Marquez in 2004. Clements scored the first round 10-7 for Pacquiao when it should’ve been 10-6 because Marquez was floored thrice. The error led to Clements’ scorecard of 113-113, resulting in a split draw. Clements saw it 89-82 for Mayweather. Unlike Moretti and Cavalleri, he scored the ninth 10-9 for Mayweather when it should’ve been 10-8. Moretti had it 87-83, giving three rounds to McGregor. Cavalleri scored it 89-81, also for Mayweather. The three judges concurred in awarding the first round to McGregor. Moretti gave the first three rounds to McGregor.

The fight exposed McGregor’s inability to adjust to boxing rules and the difference in style between boxing and MMA. It showed that boxing puts more emphasis on art, science, skill and strategy. McGregor was completely outwitted, outfought and outboxed by Mayweather.
****

There is history of boxers moving to MMA like heavyweight Ray Mercer who knocked out Tim Sylvia in 2009 and former cruiserweight champion James Toney tapping out on the ground in yielding to Randy Couture in 2010. Full-contact kickboxing titlist Troy Dorsey moved to boxing, winning the IBF featherweight and IBO superfeatherweight titles in a 15-year career that ended in 1998 but wasn’t an MMA specialist like McGregor. The Irishman was the first MMA fighter to cross over to boxing in a big way.

Mayweather once faced The Big Show in Wrestlemania 2008 but that was a fix. During the match, Mayweather took off a boxing glove to use brass knuckles in knocking out the 7-foot, 383-pound giant who fought bare-handed. In 1976, Muhammad Ali and wrestler Antonio Inoki turned their face-off into a farce. Ali landed only six punches throughout the 15-round contest that ended in a draw. Inoki lay on the canvas in every round, kicking at Ali. But the Mayweather-McGregor fight was for real.


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