“The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.” William James
In the case of the very wise and ring savvy all-time great Floyd Mayweather, it is more or less the art of knowing who to overlook, while pretending he has not seen them. Since the NFL, in it’s scathing indictment of the face of its league, Tom Brady, used the language that ‘it’s more probable than not’ that he had knowledge of deflated footballs (justifying a ridiculous suspension which should be overturned), we’ll say that its [more probable than not] that Mayweather took some of the air out of competitive integrity, opting to face the crude and undeserving Andre Berto on September 12 for a preposterous $75 PPV (or the cost of little Johnny’s back-to-school sneakers).
If we’re in court against Mayweather for playing games with the integrity of the game — like a few lollipop NFL lawyers arguing against the ballsy Brady, we’re presenting the unbeaten WBA welterweight champion Keith Thurman, as evidence worthy of suspending him in your living room for 36 minutes on September 12.
Not only is his choice of Berto completely unacceptable for pay TV (this fight should’ve absolutely been free on CBS during the opening NFL weekend), it stands to argue that it should be Thurman glaring across the ring at the sport’s greatest defensive enigma in history. If Floyd, “TBE”, is adamant about this being the finale; the 49th edition and epilogue of a squared circle anthology, then he must face the future like no tomorrow while shedding light on shades of past greatness.
So close your eyes – but keep them open – and imagine he actually did this on free TV and CBS for Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions. Consider the spectacle of Floyd “Money” Mayweather, as he “ends” his illustrious career at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, in an attempt to claim the WBA welterweight belt from rising star Keith “One-Time” Thurman.
MAYWEATHER VS. THURMAN
“Floyd wants me to fight a young man, someone that’s my age, because he doesn’t want me to beat up on the elderly. TBE stands ‘To Be Extinct’, let’s wave goodbye to the old man.”
Keith Thurman, during the post fight press conference following his 8th round stoppage of Luis Collazo on July 11
What’s important about those remarks made directly in front of this writer, is that he really believes that. But here’s something else that’s even harder to believe you may want to consider when thinking about how Mayweather does things…
Keith Thurman’s mandatory defense – right now – as the WBA “regular” welterweight champion, happens to be Andre Berto. Hmmmm. Floyd, who is considered a “super” champion by the WBA, is supposed to “technically” defend his belt against Thuman, but is instead opting to defend against Thurman’s mandatory defense. What’s more, is that when Floyd was the “regular” champion and Thurman was his mandatory, he… overlooked it. It more than raises the question as to whether or not Floyd is just being wise in ‘knowing what to overlook’ as William James so eloquently stated.
But perhaps the better question is, how much would a Mayweather vs. Thurman fight do for boxing?
In a year that saw millions waste millions of hours and dollars salivating over a Mayweather vs. Pacquiao bout that was more flight than fight- this fight, staged in front of millions of casual and hardcore fans (in addition to diehard NFL fans eager for football in bars across America), would be simply extraordinary for boxing.
It would also be historically significant in a few ways that Floyd did not allow the Pacquiao fight to be. No one would forget this fight or leave the arena with long faces like they did on May 2, because Thurman wouldn’t allow it. Mayweather (who will turn Andre Berto into an egg roll and fry him on 9/12) would have to dig really deep to defeat Thurman – as in six feet deep – and it’s quite possible he’d get buried in the process.
MAYWEATHER: IS HIS TRUE WEAKNESS BLACK FIGHTERS?
Rising star Errol Spence Jr. (who rocked and lumped up Floyd in sparring sessions a few years back) might say “yes” to that question. At 26, Thurman would represent a rare chance to see Mayweather in the ring with a fighter in his absolute prime. What’s more, is he would be doing something he never, ever does– which is fight a black fighter at the A level (Thurman is right around an A-).
Think about that.
The man he is actually about to face (the aforementioned Berto) is someone everyone in boxing knows would lose badly to Thurman, Kell Brook, Timothy Bradley or Shawn Porter. All of these African American fighters would take Floyd into the depths of hell. It says here that even Adrien Broner (who sucks at the elite level) would mug Berto. Watch Floyd have a little bit of a problem with Berto as well before pulling out the duck sauce.
In fact, the last black fighter Mayweather faced was when he was closer to his prime against the aging 38 year-old Shane Mosley. This is the same Mosley who nearly KO’d a then 33 year-old Mayweather, before Floyd turned into an electric company and treated Mosley like a past due bill. The only time we saw Floyd in there at welterweight in his prime against another prime black fighter, was against Zab Judah in spring 2006.
Judah, then 28, floored Mayweather – but did not get proper credit for it – and was on very even terms with a 29 year-old Mayweather heading into the 7th round. Throughout Judah’s career, one of his more glaring weaknesses was stamina, an area where Floyd is all world, and it was right around the time he started running the table on Zab.
MAYWEATHER’S RING SAVVY VS. THURMAN’S YOUTH AND AGGRESSION
In analyzing a fight with Thurman, the 38 year-old Mayweather would have great difficulty with Thurman’s work rate/activity level and (most importantly) the way he’d have to compete for space against a man who’d at least match his conditioning. Because he fights so tall, while only a little over 5’8 and squares up a lot (something he improved on against Collazo), he’d be available for nasty and sneaky lead rights from Mayweather of the “Oooh!” and “Ahhh!” variety, getting his head and hair snapped around in a crowd pleasing way. In the early going, Mayweather’s experience would probably allow him to time and confuse Thurman while putting close rounds in the basket.
But that would change.
Thurman’s game is built around athleticism, movement and volume while increasing the intensity as the fight progresses. Eventually, the single shots Mayweather lands would be far and few in between all the firepower from Thurman he’s mostly slipping. Fights are not won on single shots- they are won on volume, and Floyd would spend a lot of time on the defensive end trying to avoid chopping shots.
It would become very apparent that Floyd is working extremely hard against a man who won’t slow down or offer him a pace he’d like. As was the case in his classic against Miguel Cotto in May 2012, Floyd’s face would show the effects of a real fight, as he’d swell and bleed from the occasional clean shots from Thurman.
Marcos Maidana’s size and physicality bothered a slightly younger Mayweather and he found engaging Maidana in clinches to be draining. As such, consider that Thurman would be a massive welterweight defending his title if he were facing Floyd on the evening of September 12. Walking around somewhere close to 175lbs between fights, “One-Time” would rehydrate from 147lbs to somewhere in the neighborhood of 165lbs with no regard for Floyd whatsoever.
We’d never seen Floyd as fatigued as he was down the stretch against Maidana in their rematch, and to the naked eye, you can’t possibly imagine the difficulty he had evading and eluding a very special fighter in Pacquiao, who was essentially a plodder, not the boxer Thurman would be against Mayweather.
All of the above data leads to the conclusion that Keith Thurman would indeed be too much for the 2015 version of Floyd Mayweather (something Floyd knows), as “One-Time” would successfully defend his WBA welterweight title and earn immortality via close UD decision