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Sunday, March 28, 2010

“Floyd is Afraid to Fight Manny”

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By Epifanio M. Almeda
Mon, 29 Mar 2010

My good friend, Engr. Samson Tiukinhoy, texted to share his daughter’s (Dr. Susan Tiukinhoy) first hand conversation with George Foreman in a Houston elevator. Recognizing big George, Dr. Susan asked what he thinks of a fight between Manny and Floyd. The fearsome heavyweight champion of the world replied, “Floyd is afraid to fight Manny”.

Foreman knows first hand what happens when a fighter fears his opponent. The fighter who fears loses the fight even before the first bell rings. Ken Norton couldn’t look straight at George’s eyes and just bowed his head as the referee was giving the pre-fight instructions. The fight for the heavyweight championship was held on 26 March 1974 in Caracas, Venezuela. Muhammad Ali sat at ringside as a fight commentator.

George was undefeated when Norton was shoved forward to fight him after scoring a win over the great Ali. Norton couldn’t shake off his mind Foreman’s fearsome reputation of being a big puncher with a frightening KO record. George knocked down Norton’s good friend, Joe Frazier, six times before stopping him in the 2nd round to wrest the heavyweight championship of the world. Foreman and Norton were about the same size but George knocked down Norton three times in the second round to end the fight. Muhammad Ali identified the cause of Norton’s loss. Norton was scared of Foreman.

George’s observation on Floyd vs. Manny he shared with Dr. Susan confirms Floyd Mayweather Sr.’s own fear for little Floyd which the Sr. showed as he tried to identify the kind of performing enhancing drugs (PED) he accused Manny of taking. Who wouldn’t fear the Pacman who comes from a country whose World War II guerillas have a reputation of continuously charging forward despite facing a barrage of gunfire? If no gunfire could stop a guerilla from charging forward, how much less could Floyd’s brittle bare hands stop a such PED enhanced Manny who already has that reputed habit in the ring of always charging forward?

With little Floyd’s ability to come up with excuses for the fight not to happen, the Floyd-Manny fight may never happen. No disrespect intended for Shane Mosley, but Floyd is just too slick and too good for Shane to handle come May 1. Floyd’s been there facing a fighter many thought had a good chance to beat him. Diego Corrales, Jose Luis Castillo, Ricky Hatton, Oscar dela Hoya, to name them who had names in the fight game. Floyd didn’t fear them and he beat them all.

But Manny Pacquiao is different. He retired the 6 weight division champion Oscar giving him no round of 8, bulldozed Hatton in 2, and ate the best Miguel Cotto could dish out while still asking for more. It was the legitimate welterweight Cotto who said “no more” by dancing away from the charging Manny until what has become a mere semblance of a fight was mercifully stopped just before the end of the 12th round.

When Manny’s charging forward could not be stopped with a legitimate welterweight champion firepower, Manny must really be somebody no other else is. All these did not escape the Floyd Mayweather camp’s attention and Floyd Jr. himself despite his claims of intentionally not viewing Manny’s fights.

Floyd Jr. already has the advantages of size, reach and maybe his defensive skills and accurate counter punching. But what can these do to a fighter who “punches very hard” according to Marco Antonio Barrera, is “so fast” according to David Diaz, smiles after a great round of skirmish with his opponent in some of his good fights, and seems to be more motivated to charge further forward when hit and bloodied?

The over US$40 million guaranteed purse couldn’t make Floyd fight after Manny’s beat up of Miguel Cotto. With Manny’s recent shut out of Joshua Clottey who had the advantages of size, reach, a tight defense, and with a reputation of not having really been overwhelmed by fighters his size, Floyd will come up with even more excuses for the fight not to happen.

If he beats Mosley and the PPV buys outnumber the Pacquiao-Clottey number, expect Floyd to no longer agree to a 50-50 purse split. “Negotiations” will go nowhere as it did before. The Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight, which all and sundry want to see, will not happen.

And the reason is as what George Foreman told Dr. Susan, “Floyd is afraid to Fight Manny”.

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