Haven’t we seen this movie before?
In Rocky III, while Rocky Balboa is busy enjoying the spoils that come with being a champion – including fighting wrestler Hulk Hogan for charity – hungry challenger Clubber Lang toils away in relative obscurity knocking out chumps left and right as he waits for his opportunity to dethrone the king.
When the two finally meet for the first time, they are seemingly going in opposite directions, one a rising star, the other a fading one.
And we all know how that fight turned out.
Now, less than a month before his fight with Juan Manuel Marquez, arguably his toughest opponent ever, six-time world champion and legitimate claimant to the title of pound-for-pound king Floyd “Money” Mayweather showed up on WWE’s “Monday Night Raw” to renew his feud with wrestler “The Big Show”, a behemoth of a man who was on the business end of a folding chair, brass knuckle “beatdown” at the hands of Mayweather during WrestleMania 24 last year.
Decked out in a white tank top, white pants, and designer shades, Mayweather (39-0, 25 KO’s) strolled into the ring with his posse trailing him and listened as Big Show’s tag-team partner Chris Jericho told him Marquez (50-4-1, 37 KO’s) was going to knock him out, much to the delight of the crowd.
After a little more verbal jousting, Floyd exited the ring and watched as the two wrestlers put their tag-team titles on the line against a pair of challengers, “MVP” and Mark Henry.
Mayweather eventually lent a hand in the form of his jewel-encrusted wristwatch, which was used by MVP to deliver the deciding blow that cost Big Show and Jericho their titles. (No, the ref wasn’t looking…)
Meanwhile, Marquez was undoubtedly off somewhere in the mountains of Mexico chopping wood or lifting stones or engaging in some other hard-core training regimen before retreating to a 120-degree gym to do his crunches or work the heavy bag while a grainy picture of Mayweather hangs within eyesight.
Do Mayweather’s “Rocky-like” antics indicate he’s not taking his upcoming fight with Marquez seriously? Will Marquez pull a Clubber Lang and knock out the distracted and ill-prepared Mayweather in spectacular fashion?
The answers are no and no.
Make no mistake, Mayweather is taking this fight very seriously. After a nearly two-year layoff, the man has no choice. He knows what’s on the line here:
His undefeated record.
His claim to the pound-for-pound throne.
His chance to settle the debate once and for all of who the best fighter is, him or Manny Pacquiao. (The two would be expected to meet next year if both win their respective upcoming fights.)
The ridiculously large amount of money he stands to earn from said fight (upwards of $25 million, perhaps?)
Look, despite his many well-documented problems outside the ring, Mayweather has never been less than 100 percent ready come fight night, a statement his undefeated record clearly attests to. And with an absolute bull like Marquez waiting for him, I have no doubt Mayweather will be in top form come September 19th.
The wrestling thing? I wouldn’t make a big deal about it.
First off, it was in Vegas, his hometown, so it’s not like Floyd was crisscrossing the country when he should’ve been training. All he had to do was head down the Vegas strip a couple of miles and make a guest appearance, likely after another solid workout in the gym.
Second, there was no physical contact involved, unlike last time Floyd appeared on a wrestling show. No choke holds, no body slams, no brass knuckles. In fact, after saying his piece in the ring, Floyd sat a good 15-20 feet away from it during the match to ensure he wasn’t accidentally caught in the crossfire of flying bodies.
Floyd will be at his best for this fight. That you can count on.
Just as he was when he knocked out Diego Corrales.
Just as he was when he beat up Jose Luis Castillo. Twice.
Just as he was when he practically shut out Carlos Baldomir.
And just as he was when he out-boxed Oscar De La Hoya.
Whether he wins or not, that’s another story. But Floyd will be ready.
I pity the fool who thinks otherwise.