Mayweather KOs Mitchell In Welterweight Debut

By Francis Walker
Updated: November 21, 2005

NEW YORK — Floyd Mayweather fought as a welterweight for the first time on Saturday, at the Rose Garden, Portland, Oregon. Mayweather (35-0, 24 KOs) knocked out former WBA junior welterweight champion, Sharmba Mitchell (56-5, 30 KOs) in the sixth round.

The fight was one-sided as Mayweather overwhelmed Mitchell with dazzling hand speed and much improved power.

“I was anxious,” Mayweather said afterwards. “I wanted to be better than in the Gatti fight. That was a flawless fight. It’s hard to be better than that.”

Mayweather was referring to his fight against Arturo Gatti in June. Mayweather brutalized Gatti for six one-sided rounds, winning the WBC junior welterweight championship.

Mayweather was barely hit, as his punches were crisp, straight and powerful. Gatti couldn’t see them coming. It was indeed a flawless performance, perhaps the best in Mayweather’s career.

“Mayweather’s an incredible fighter,” Mitchell said. “He’s tougher than I thought and hits harder than I expected. I think I surprised him by some of the things I did. I’m old, but I can still do a few things.”

Mitchell did surprise Mayweather with a few straight-rights, but was never in a position to dominate the fight. Mitchell, once a good fighter recognized for his quickness, was a human punching bag. Mitchell was knocked down in rounds three and sixth.

When Mayweather dropped Mitchell with a body shot in round six, referee Richard Steele waved the contest although Mitchell was slow to return to his feet on the count of nine. Steele stopped the massacre at the 2:05 mark.

“I took a hard body shot, and I took a knee and shook it off. I’ve been in a lot of fights, and I know how to avoid more punishment and take an 8 count.”

Despite suffering his fifth career knockout loss (two in the past three bouts), Mitchell has plans to continue his career at age 35, which is considered old for a boxer. Mitchell wants to retire with 60 career victories.

Following the Gatti fight, Mayweather was in serious negotiations for fights against former undisputed junior middleweight champion, Winky Wright and current undisputed welterweight champion, Zab Judah.

A deal could not be reached with either fighter, especially with Wright, who is the No. 1-ranked contender to the winner of the world middleweight title rematch fight between Jermain Taylor and former champion, Bernard Hopkins on Dec. 3 in Las Vegas. The most ideal fight for Mayweather would be a fight against Judah.

Mayweather and Judah both have similar styles. However, Judah fights as a southpaw and Mayweather isn’t. Both rely on their hand speed, quickness, and can punch with ferocious aggression.

Judah-Mayweather will be an exciting fight, which will be Mayweather’s first opportunity to win an undisputed title in any weight class that he’s fought (147, 140, 135, and 130).