Friday, January 8, 2010

The burden of proof

The number 1 pound-for-pound boxer today ( at least in his mind) has done it again. He has dodged the one foe that many believed can put a spot on his undefeated record.

Bear in mind that once upon a time, Floyd Mayweather Jr was a beast. He used to fight (and beat impressively) the best and the baddest dudes out there. Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo to name a couple. The fight with the former was the fight that put him on the map of pound-for-pound rankings.

A former Olympian, he started his professional career with a chip on his shoulder that carried through his early career. He sought out the best and hardest fights out there. But as the wins piled up apparently the motivation to prove his mettle went south.

After career defining wins over Corrales and Arturo Gatti, the names and the caliber of boxers he fought were cherry pickings with an occasional reputable match here and there like when he fought Zab Judah.

But when the time called for him to step up the plate against boxers many critics feel could give him a run for his money, he ducked.

Shane Mosley. Antonio Margarito (before the hand-wrap fiasco). Miguel Cotto (before he got clobbered by Margarito and ---). Now Manny Pacquiao.

To prove that he's the best, he has to fight the best. There is no excuse of beating around the bushes just to protect an undefeated record.

Ultimately, a boxer is judged by the quality of his opponents. After all, even all-time greats Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard suffered defeats. An undefeated record could mean you are good. Or it could mean that you were never really tested.

In Pretty Boy's case, I lean towards the latter. As many angry fans now accuse him of. A chronic ducker.

Forget about his demands about random drug testing, if he were so concerned of it, he would have obliged Zab Judah, Ricky Hatton and Oscar dela Hoya to undergo such tests. His prima donna attitude is not serving him well.

This is not to overlook the possibility of PEDs in boxers today. But Pacquiao has never tested positive in any of the drug tests since he came to prominence. The burden of proof should not lie on him.

The accusation that he has jumped outrageously as a 16 year-old professional campaigning at 108 to where he is now is preposterous considering that when Mayweather was also a 108-pounder at one time, as a 16 year-old amateur.

Where to now?

Many of us fans are still hoping that this match is still going to be done. What with the promise of it being the richest fight in boxing history. Both fighters and the promoters are crazy to turn their backs on this.

More importantly, the legacy that both fighters work so hard for to cement point only to this fight. The respect that PBF has long yearned for from critics and fans can only be rewarded if he willingly does this. No ifs and buts.

In the question of is-he-or-isn't-he-ducking, the burden of proof only lies on the great Floyd Mayweather Jr.