Just Too Good
The sport's best,
Floyd Mayweather Jr., was in the pink against Carlos Baldomir, cruising to
another title—maybe his last
IT WASN'T much of
a fight, but then his never are. It was 12 rounds of him darting in and out,
flicking his brittle fists into some mug's face and then bobbing and flexing,
rolling his shoulders, pivoting for another angle of attack, never getting hit
in the meantime. There is some question as to whether this is entertainment.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. insists it is, in the manner of a one-man show on
Broadway. Many in the crowd in Las Vegas last Saturday night were unsure, some
booing, some laughing as he turned Carlos Baldomir, boxing's feel-good story of
2006, into an awkward threshing machine. For sure, it's not competition.
(37--0, with 24 KOs) so outclassed Baldomir in winning the Argentine's WBC
welterweight title ("A cakewalk in the park," said Mayweather,
conflating his clich�s in the same way he does his punches) that only one of
the three judges scoring the bout could give the former champion so much as a
round. Baldomir (43-10-6, 13 KOs) was sufficiently irrelevant to the exercise
that it could very well have been a one-man show. Mayweather, who has been a
champion in five weight classes now, from 130 to 147, is undefeated,
untouchable, unbeatable. His promotions are basically a technique to get fight
fans to pay $49.95 for a session of extreme sparring.
35-year-old Baldomir could contribute to the event was some backstory, the old
feather-duster-salesman-wins-a-boxing-title angle. As attractive as that was
going into the fight, it ceased to matter immediately after the bell, when
Mayweather became a frustrating wisp, turning Baldomir's supposed size and
power advantage into comical flailing.
unapologetic for events like this, as well he should be. His speed, his
old-timey style, that old-fashioned devotion to the sport and his willingness
to take on all comers—these can hardly be held against him. Perhaps he might
have put Baldomir, and at least some of the fans, out of their misery earlier,
but Mayweather said his oft-injured right hand was on the fritz again. In any
case, it was the kind of dominating performance that probably should be
appreciated more than criticized.
anyway, before it's too late. Mayweather announced shortly after his victory
that he would have one more fight—presumably against Oscar De La Hoya, in what,
for the foreseeable future, might be boxing's last mega event—and then retiring
at age 30. He was seemingly serious enough that two of his handlers were
required to work a towel over his dewy eyes at the press conference.
hurting," Mayweather said, struggling for composure, "because I love
this sport so much. But I've done everything I want to do. I kept it
seemed genuine, though postfight conditions are hardly the best for
career-defining decisions. Perhaps even Mayweather recognizes that his fights
are becoming increasingly pointless. The better he fights, the fewer he
pleases. A De La Hoya bout (this would be De La Hoya's supposed swan song as
well, assuming egos can be wrangled and purses negotiated for the May date)
might satisfy everybody's requirement for drama. Until it actually happens,