Monday, September 14, 2009

Sept. 19th: Floyd Mayweather vs the UFC

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This weekend, Floyd Mayweather will test his marketable skills against the juggernaut that is the UFC, spearheaded by Dana White and financed by the Ferttita brothers. Money Mayweather has cars and a sweet pad, but he does not own casinos or a multi-million dollar organization.

White threw jabs at both Juan Manuel Marquez and Mayweather at an earlier press conference by forgetting JMM's name. Whether that was a Freudian slip or a crab-in-a-barrel approach, it was low even by a promoter's standard (Bob Arum would be proud). The fact is that Mayweather and Marquez are two hall of fame fighters going against a UFC card, 103, which has a slew of good fighters but as of yet none are HOF worthy (Rich Franklin and Mirko Filipovich are close but nay).

Forget the bouts, who will win this financial fight? The UFC has a huge early lead with a top-selling video game and the premiere of the uber-popular, The Ultimate Fighter on SpikeTV, two days before the PPV UFC 103. But Mayweather has HBO's popular 24/7 series and, that's it. ESPN2's Friday Night Fights had its season finale unusually early last month. JMM has never headlined a PPV card. And of course, the star, Mayweather, has been off for more than a year.

Mayweather evokes memory of another HOF fighter who never truly was appreciated by the masses:
"Sweet Pea" Pernell Whitaker.

Granted, Mayweather is infinitely more abrasive than Whitaker ever was out of the ring. But like Whitaker, Mayweather has stepped up in weight and class and outclassed the opposition. It's not always aesthetically pleasing but effective nonetheless. The MMA fans, those who appreciate the finer points of BJJ, can surely appreciate the defensive wizardry Mayweather displays. The other MMA fans, those who want to see a man punched repeatedly after being knocked out, will scoff at Mayweatehr's defensive skills, probably the same fans who boo and change the channel when two experienced ground fighters fight for position.

The pick here is that the UFC will pull away, but not by much. This, unfortunately, is not like the event earlier this year that saw Shane Mosley vs Antonio Margarito and the now defunct Affliction card which was headlining Fedor Emelianenko in a rare U.S. appearance. Different disciplines competing is not bad for either sport. But when only a few fights are worthy, then fans, fighters, and even the promoters lose.
Here's to hoping all fighters give their all to shine this Saturday night.

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