Category Archives: Boxing

Floyd Mayweather: Jailhouse Wimp?

AP Photo

Floyd Mayweather has served 13 days of an 87-day sentence for misdemeanor domestic battery in solitary confinement in a Las Vegas jail cell. For his own safety, prison officials say. But already the undefeated five-time champion is going stir crazy.

Or maybe he thinks we are.

Mayweather’s attorney have filed an “emergency” motion asking that the boxer be either moved into the general inmate or (wink) allowed to serve the rest of his sentence under house arrest.

Their reasoning? Mayweather is suffering from ‘deconditioning.” (Is that even a word?)

In other words, he’s getting fat. So what’s the emergency? Well, his lawyers say, he’s become so “deconditioned” in 13 days that it threatens his career. It may cause “not just huge financial harm,” the lawyers wrote, “but huge emotional harm if he is not able to pursue his boxing career due to the deconditioning he has suffered.”

If Justice of the Peace Melissa Sargosa, who said she’d rule on the motion later this week, falls for this it’ll be as big a travesty as, well, pretty much everything else in boxing.

First and foremost, deconditioning?! When I was Editor-in-Chief of Men’s Fitness we regularly talked about publishing a story called The Prison Workout because inmates tend to be in outrageous shape. Lack of time to workout is certainly not an excuse, and prisons typically have pretty damn good weight equipment.

Now, this jail apparent does not have a tricked-out weight room (why didn’t “Money” think of donating the cash to have one constructed prior to his incarceration?). Mayweather reportedly get to spend 3o minutes twice every day outside his 7 x 12 cell in a “barren” rec room, his lawyers say.

That’s plenty of time for a good “deconditioning-fixing” workout. For instance:

The Mayweather Solitary Workout

200 push ups (do 50, rest ten seconds, do 50, rest…)

3 minutes shadow boxing

500 sit ups (100, rest, 100, rest, …)

3 minutes shadow boxing

150 tricep dips (using bed post)

3 minutes shadow boxing

100 Russian twists

3 minutes shadow boxing

5 minute plank

3 minute shadow boxing

200 push ups

If Mayweather does that every morning and evening, it’s certainly reverse the “deconditioning” he’s endured.

Now, let’s say he has turned into Kevin James, to say Mayweather could never fight again is ludicrous. Many people who haven’t worked out in years have gotten into the best shape of their lives by following a disciplined and rigorous training program and committing to healthy eating.

Mayweather’s lawyers are also concerned that jail is making their client mad, and that he wouldn’t be able to “dissipate [it} through the usual means of exercising and training.

Dude, try yoga.

I’ve got no problem with Mayweather trying to get out of solitary – though all it would take is one fellow inmate deciding to earn his tough bonafides by taking out “Money” Mayweather to perhaps his a serious end to the boxer’s career.

But getting out altogether (even to an apartment, rather than his over-the-top Las Vegas home, as his lawyers offered) would be more than a travesty; it would be an insult to every victim of domestic violence.

Work it out, Floyd. Work it out.

 

 

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Sports Needs an Economic Attitude Adjustment

Great coach. But maybe a bit out of touch.

Great coach. But maybe a bit out of touch.

It’s getting ugly out there.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell says he’ll slash his pay package by as much as 25 percent in order to save a few jobs. However, he can’t save them all. Anonymous team employees throughout sports are being sliced with the same sickle that has eliminated millions of jobs across America since last fall. NBA owners are divvying up $200 million in loans to cover millions in shortfalls due to diminishing ticket buyers and vanishing sponsors.

Every sport, maybe for the first time ever, is feeling the same economic pinch as the fans.

Pretty soon, NASCAR teams may consider carpooling.

And yet: Albert Haynesworth gets $100 million from Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder, Manny Ramirez snub $45 million like it’s s stick insult before coming to his senses this week – and Jim Calhoun (pictured) just doesn’t get it.

Ugly.

The relationship between sports and fans has long been tenuous – not coincidentally, as salaries have risen to Wall Street CEOesque levels. That’s especially true among fans of a generation when their own paychecks carried pretty much the same digits as the men (and, yes, they were mostly men then, too) they cheered. Superstars always made superstar money, but there was a time when the working-stiff jock actually made near working-stiff wages.

So did most coaches – guys who chose the profession for the love of their sport more than the love of money.

Not anymore. Sports has created a new, young class of fast-twitch millionaires: guys who won the gene pool lottery and, in most instances, applied diligence, discipline and plain old hard work to their physical gifts and reached the highest level of their sport. And on the sidelines, pro coaches can afford to live next door to their superstars. In college, many make more than all but their elite players ever will.

I don’t begrudge any of them. I’ve always chuckled at the petty grumblings of folks who rail against them for one sin (“They’re not as good as their predecessors.”) or another (“They don’t hustle.”) when what they really mean is: They make too much damn money.

I typically chalk up their rants to ignorance and jealousy, and move on.

But now it could get uglier than a few rants. As more Americans are stripped of their livelihoods each day, sports is being given less of a pass.

Calhoun was asked at a postgame press conference to comment on his $1.6 million annual base salary at UConn, which makes him one of the highest-paid state employees at a time when Connecticut is facing a reported $944 million budget deficit that is projected to be $8 billion in two years.

His snippy response – “My advice to you is, shut up,” followed by a rift on how much money the Huskies generate for the university – has been polarizing. Governor M. Jodi Rell called it “embarrassing,” and the leaders of the state’s General Assembly want Calhoun to be reprimanded by the university. Conversely, many have defended the coach’s reaction, saying his success through the years more than justifies his compensation – even in these trying times.

Calhoun could have been more mature in his response, even if he has the data to back his argument. As it stands, he’s come off as the newest poster boy for the excesses of sports and showed how out of touch he is with Joe Taxpayer.

And it’s more than an isolated tempest. Attendance will likely be unaffected in Storrs, but loyal ticket-buyers elsewhere are deciding they can no longer afford to see their favorite team live or buy that $100 jersey; or they simply no longer have the desire to go see athletes and coaches who don’t seem to feel their pain.

As they grow weary of the kind of “not-my-economic problem” attitude displayed by Calhoun, Ramirez and others, sports may lose its status as The Great Escape. More fans may no longer see sports as a respite from the woes of their lives.

If sports can no longer serve that purpose, then what’s its purpose?

That’s a question no one wants to answer.

Reuters photograph

Fight On, Evander!

Fight on, Evander! Yeah, I know you’re 46 years old. I know that after 53 fights you’re not quite the warrior you once were. (Not even close, actually.) I also know the down side of fighting too long. Boxing is not kind to its aging kings.

That said, Fight on.

It’s your call, your choice. Your life.

Your’ve got mouths to feed (11 Holyfield kids, at least), and a monster mortgage. I’ve driven by your spread in suburban Atlanta many, many times. I can’t even imagine how much it costs to cut the grass and heat the place, let alone pay the monthly note.

Fight on, Evander.

And you’re living there with your fourth wife, right?

Please. Fight on.

A lot of people are a ‘sad’ about your December 20 title bout against Nikolay “The Russian Giant” Valuev (49-1, 34 KOs) in Zurich. They think you shouldn’t fight any more, that you’re risking serious injury, that you’re about to become boxing’s next punch-drunk poster child. Valuev is the two-time reigning World Boxing Association title holder. You’ve won the world heavyweight belt (or one of them) four times, more than any other man. You want five?

Fight on, Evander.

Fight on because, well, it’s boxing.  Some guys (Lennox Lewis, Marvin Hagler and Rocky Marciano, for instance) leave just after their prime and before they become punching bags for younger, usually ordinary fighters. Others (most, actually) fight on and on and on and….they do it not only because they can but because fans will still pay to watch.

Take the recent fight between the legendary Oscar De La Hoya and rising star Manny Pacquiao. At 35, De La Hoya was no match for Pacquino. And yet 1.25 million people paid to watch, generating about $70 million in revenue. Why deprive the million who’ll no doubt pay $24.95 to watch you fight, even if your opponent was, well, your grandmother?

Fight on, Evander.

Do it because I love the theater – as absurd as it may be. That’s what it is now, theater. I read somewhere that you’re going for the “record” for defeating the biggest man ever for the heavyweight title.  Valuev is seven feet tall and 320 pounds, said to be the biggest cat ever to wear a heavyweight belt. I don’t know who tracks such things but if Valuev says he’s the biggest of the ‘heavies’ that’s fine with me. You’re 6’ 2 ½” and about 215 pounds.

Fight on, Evander.

another thing: I hate it when people talk about you in the past tense. As in he was such a warrior, he was such a great champion, he had a great heart or he was one of the best. No matter what you’ve done after leaving your prime in the dust, or since you’ve begun to speak and move and jab a tad slower, it will not diminish the fighter who at his peak epitomized a champion’s heart. You are still that Evander (Real Deal) Holyfield.

Fight on.

In Showing Class, Hopkins was True “Hope.”

The Old Man taught shool and shown class

The Old Man taught shool and shown class

Boxing and class don’t often dance together.

Class would throw a few jabs before boxing counters with powerful right.

Class would land a body shot, but boxing would launch an upper cut.

Then boxing would bite class’ ear.

Not last night. Instead, boxing and class actually tangoed. all it Dancing with the Scars.

And it happened at unexpected time – just moments after Bernard Hopkins, the 43-year-old ex middleweight champ, completed a 12-round surgical pummeling of 26-year-old middleweight champion Kenny Pavlik.

Just over an hour before, Pavlik, the pride of Youngstown, Ohio, entered the ropes as boxing’s Great Hope. (Note that I did not say boxin’g Great White Hope. At this juncture of its pitiable existence, boxing would take a Green Hope.) He was not only supposed to beat his aged opponent. He was supposed to be quicker, better conditioned and more aggressive, aiming to throw a hundred punches every round.

He was not only supposed the beat Hopkins, his goal was to dominate him such that there would be no controversy or confusion about just who was boxing’s new bright star.

Instead, Pavlik got school from jump street. {YSP:MORE}

Hopkins was quicker, more effective and more aggressive from the opening bell.

He landed punches from all angles, making Pavlik looked confused and ill-prepared.

He punished Pavlik, just about winning every round.

Not even boxing could screw up this decision. Hopkins easily on all three judges’ cards.

Moments after the verdict was rendered, Hopkins headed to the side of the ring facing the members of the media covering the fight – almost all of them had tabbed Pavlik to win – and glared at them.

Each of them. One by one. Saying little. But saying much.

Hopkins then searched out his vanquished, bruised and battered foe. Pavlik never should have teken this fight. He fought ten pounds heavier than his champions’ weight (the belt was not on the line), and it oust him. He did it for the prestige of beating Hopkins – and, of course, for the jack: $3 million goes a long way in Youngstown.

He embraced him and looked into his eyes – and began to school Pavlik again. He told him he could be a great champion. He told him to watch the fight and pay attention to not only what Hopkins did but how he did it. Watch the film. Study it. Learn from it.

He also told Pavlik to watch how Hopkins carried himself. Watch what being a champion means, he essentially said. Learn from his heart.

He also commended Pavlik’s team, his relatively inexperienced trainer and the like. And you know what? They all listened. They hung on each of words.

“Don’t let this fight destroy you,” he said. “Learn from this.”

And then Pavlik’s team thanked him. Thank him for the butt-whipping and the homework assignment.

Funny how the guy who was supposed to be boxing’s hope can now only hope to be the champion Hopkins has been for boxing.

And even funnier that by showing such class, Hopkins may have been the one who saved boxing – at least for a night.

AP Photo