Ethnicity Clouds Peoples Judgement

By Aladdin Freeman
Updated: June 27, 2005

Floyd Mayweather Jr.MIAMI, FLA—I recall watching a recent Arturo Gatti fight where he called out Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and I remember hearing Jim Lampley say he would keep Gatti as far away from Floyd as possible. I also recall a Gatti camp decision to fight Oscar de la Hoya instead of Shane Mosley, who they considered too fast for Gatti.

Speed Kills and there is no way to prepare for it. Therefore, when the Gatti vs. Mayweather Jr. fight was signed, I couldn’t believe how many very knowledgeable boxing people, most of which were white, were picking Arturo Gatti. The classy Jeff Mayweather pretty much said in an article that ‘the fight looks nice on paper.’ He is nice and sugar coated what I will say, “Ethnicity Clouds People’s Judgment.”

I haven’t seen so many smart folks pick “the white guy” since Roy Jones Jr. fought Vinny Pazienza and Ray Mercer fought Tommy Morrison. I am sure there may be other times, like when Larry Holmes fought Gerry Cooney for instance. I kept thinking about the old lady from the movie “The Great White Hype,” saying ‘I’ll put money on the clean cut white boy.’ When asked why people were picking Gatti, I kept hearing, yes Floyd is a great talent, maybe the best pound for pound fighter in the world, a guy that is hard to hit and has been involved with boxing since he was 5 years old, but Arturo Gatti has heart and is tough. Clearly no logic and thought were put forth when picking Gatti in this fight. Gatti has heart because his defense, at best, is O.K. He is tough because he has better be, to fight in the style that he does. For some reason, people forgot that Gatti cuts very easily and while he was able to outbox Micky Ward, Terron Millet, Leo Dorin, and Jessie James Leija, all on their best day are not even close to what Floyd Mayweather Jr. is. Trust me, somewhere out there, on Saturday night, Joey Gamache was saying, “What goes around comes around.” Remember Gamache got smashed by Arturo after Gatti put on 20 pounds the night of their fight.

The only part of the fight I do believe Arturo Gatti won was when the crowd cheered louder for him than Mayweather Jr. during the ring walk, and he did make 3.6 million dollars to Floyd’s 3.1 million. Other than the cheers and the money, Gatti got his butt handed to him in one of the most lopsided and miss-matched championship fights I have ever seen.

Floyd looked flat out awesome, even Ricky Hatton who was doing some play by play for SKY Sports in England was very impressed. Mayweather was standing flat-footed and bringing the fight to Gatti and getting the better of it because he is so hard to hit and so quick with his own shots. After dropping Gatti in the opening round because Gatti failed to protect himself, it was clear this was not going to get any easier. Mayweather Jr. could have been given a 10-8 round for round four and a case could be made for the first ever 10-7 round where the other guy doesn’t go to the canvas in round six.

I have only seen Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Roy Jones Jr. throw four straight right hands in a combination the way Floyd did in the sixth round. I felt sorry that Gatti, who has given boxing fans so many great moments, was thrown in with a fighter the caliber of Floyd Mayweather Jr. at this point, or any point of his career. Ever since the second Jose Luis Castillo fight, Floyd has been on a complete roll. There isn’t anyone right now who can even come close to him at 140 pounds. Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto will find this out very soon. At 34 wins and no losses, with 23 by knockout, there is no question in this writer’s eye who is the pound for pound champ and with some luck we will see a lot more of Mayweather on the big stage soon. It is all up to him and what he’s willing to do with the ticket.

Congrats, Floyd you are the king pin of boxing now.