“Pacquiao. Is Going. To Get. A Good. Ass. Whoopin’.” Part 5

“Pacquiao.  Is going.  To get.  A good.  Ass.  Whoopin’.”

 

-Roger Mayweather, the world’s most accidentally hilarious trainer in the history of the sport.

 

(Sorry if anyone wanted part 5 before the fight and couldn’t read it. Apparently if was online but it didn’t appear with the others as I didn’t click some tag I should have in the blog menu. Anyway, it’s been up since May 2, and I hope you found it before the fight.)

Pt. 5 of 5: Descent and Decision

 

 

Kenny Bayliss is the greatest referee in the fight game today. He will be the third man in the ring for Mayweather/Pacquiao, and it shouldn’t be any other way. He’s refereed thousands of fights, dozens of which were high-profile world title fights. In fact, he has been at the center of many of the fights already discusses as central to the plot of Mayweather vs. Pacquiao.

 

Pacquiao/Marquez IV

 

Pacquiao /Mosley

 

Mayweather/Mosley

 

Pacquiao/Cotto

 

Pacquiao/Hatton

 

Cotto/Margarito I

 

Pacquiao/Marquez II

 

Mayweather/ De La Hoya

 

Pacquiao/Morales II

 

Bernard Hopkins/De La Hoya

 

As you can see, Kenny Bayliss has had the greatest seat in the house for many of the historic ass whoopings that have occurred in this generation’s experience of the sport. More fascinatingly, after Marquez/Pacquiao IV, Bayliss presided over two fights that are of particular interest to the events leading up to the May 2nd showdown between Mayweather and Pacquiao:

 

Mayweather/ Maidana II

 

Bradley/Pacquiao II

 

Both of these fights were made with the intention of rectifying decisions considered highly contentious by the public – which they did – and both were signposts of decline in their respective careers.  They represent the final two significant fights each man fought before the two made the May 2nd fight, and cleared up any questions as to whether or not they were both still up to the challenge of providing a competitive and meaningful fight worthy of the perception of the event.

 

Also, for each man, the fight previous to the aforementioned was the only time when both fighters faced a man being trained by Alex Ariza.

 

From 2012 onward, Alex Ariza had become more and more marginalized by Team Pacquiao. Although he was still involved as the strength and conditioning coach, he and Freddie Roach had begun to butt heads over whose training was more important to Pacquiao’s success in the ring. For starters, it is virtually unheard of for a conditioning coach to be present in a fighter’s corner during a fight. There’s just no reason for it. He’s not going to fix cuts, he’s not a strategist, and he’s not someone who has any real context for assisting in a meaningful way. However, Ariza had been in Pacquiao’s corner for virtually every fight, and was often heard giving Pacquiao direction and speaking over Freddie Roach in tight situations.

 

Naturally this caused some problems, but it wasn’t until Pacquiao the beginning of 2012 that it really came to a head. After the Bradley loss, there were rumblings about a loss of power and performance. Roach and Ariza were openly disagreeing about the importance of Ariza’s guidance, and Ariza maintained that he should be the one getting priority with the fighter. Then came the loss to Marquez. Roach approached Pacquiao and said Ariza needed to go, and Pacquiao sent Ariza packing.

 

Things got ugly quickly.  Roach went on television telling everyone that Ariza was shady, and was doing things like giving Pacquiao drinks every day and refusing to tell Roach what was in them. This did not come as a surprise to quite as many people as one might think. It was also noteworthy that a boxing coach would say anything at all that might imply that his fighter had participated – albeit unknowingly – in what he described as “shady” conditioning practices. To be sure, Freddie Roach was very careful and measured about how he described the circumstances around which these types of activities were occurring.

 

This vitriol no doubt assisted in Pacquiao choosing Brandon Rios as his next opponent.

 

Rios was being trained by Robert Garcia, who is both a hall of fame- worthy trainer and a former world titlist himself. Rios joined Garcia’s stable around the same time that Garcia took on the charge of training the disgraced Antonio Margarito for his return fight against Pacquiao. In fact, Rios is on film not only assisting with the attachment of the cinder block to Margarito’s hands, but for mocking Freddie Roach’s Parkinson’s Syndrome as well. This also did not sit well with the public, and when the Rios/Pacquiao fight was made in 2013, there was definitely an air of impending ass kicking wafting through the promotional buildup.

 

This was terribly exacerbated by an ugly incident that occurred when Freddie Roach told a member of Garcia’s staff that team Rios needed to get out of the gym because they were encroaching on Pacquiao’s training time. That person was Alex Ariza, and in the ensuing argument, a melee broke out where Ariza kicked Freddie Roach in the stomach. If making fun of an old man with Parkinson’s was bad, kicking an old man with Parkinson’s is many orders of magnitude worse. This sat horribly with the public.

 

Regardless, Garcia was now employing him as his strength and conditioning coach for all his fighters, and this included Marcos Maidana, who was preparing for a showdown against Floyd Mayweather a few months after Pacquiao/Rios.

Maidana wasn’t even on the radar for a fight of the magnitude of the Mayweather until he dispatched a young Mayweather stablemate named Adrien Broner. Maidana was an all-action fighter with a propensity towards brawling and fouls, and had built up a respectable record for himself. He had lost his first title shot to a decent boxer, and followed it up with a win over a young Victor Ortiz. Ortiz is generally viewed as having quit, although he certainly wasn’t going to be doing any modeling any time soon.

 

His first major fight was against Amir Khan, and although he almost stopped Khan in the 10th round, he lost a convincing decision. As a matter of fact, he was being thoroughly outboxed by the British superstar and Olympic silver medalist, and would have lost a lopsided decision but for one factor: Khan’s chin. Of all the attributes a fighter must possess to be able to make it in the sport, first and foremost you have to be able to take a punch. It’s the one untrainable and indispensable asset that made all the difference between Khan being number two on the pound-for-pound list and going 30-3 with several very close calls. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a fighter with such a sad disparity between boxing and skills and his chin, and I don’t think I ever will.

 

In his next fight, Maidana nearly lost a tight majority decision to none other than a badly faded Erik Morales. Somehow still competing in the sport, Morales took some hard shots in the first, and for at least eight rounds he was basically fighting with one eye. However, Morales was still able to out box and out fight Maidana, and in round eight he nearly stopped him with a hard shot.

 

Regardless, the next man he fought was Devon Alexander, and Maidana was out boxed and lost literally every single round.

 

Then came the Broner fight. Broner was undefeated and expected to have his way with the rough and tumble Argentinian. He also had an astonishing ego and mouth, and he referred to himself as “The Problem”, suggesting that he was Mayweather’s heir apparent in both skills and bravado. Everyone wanted to see him get is ass kicked, not just because of his mouth, but because what was coming out of it was such a load of crap.

 

It became apparent from the first bell that this was a determined, dangerous, and vicious Marcos Maidana. He came out in the first round and began throwing huge punches that rocked Broner and nearly knocked him down. For the entire round, Maidana pummeled him from pillar to post, and the best Broner could muster to counter the offensive was to turn Maidana around in a clinch, bend him over…

 

…and pretend to hump him.

 

The only thing fighters hate more than being kissed in the ring is humped. Maidana spent the remainder of the fight battering Broner around the ring, knocking him down several times, and late in the fight when the decision was virtually secure, bent his exhausted and bloodied foe over in the same corner and returned the sexual favor to the elation of the crowd.

 

I don’t know how I’m going to die, but when it happens, I pray that it’s not getting my ass kicked in front of a billion cheering fans and then getting screwed in it. As the decision was read, Maidana’s corner went crazy. The first person to raise Maidana’s hand was Alex Ariza. Robert Garcia pushed him out of the way.

The Pacquiao/Rios fight was remarkable more for what happened after before and after the fight than during, because what happened in the ring was foreseeable even by Sylvia Brown. And she’s dead. Rios stood directly in front of the quick fisted and quick footed Filipino with the intention of trading big, looping shots, and got his face and ass caved in down the middle. Nobody ever thought he had a chance, and nobody cared – least of all Rios who had shown on many other occasions he was perfectly happy to shorten his lifespan if it meant a reasonable payday. Everyone knew we were going to see a beatdown, and that’s all we really want, right? Skills…

 

The wrinkle was that all of this was to be done under the auspices of random blood and urine testing. Following the defeat to Marquez, it somehow dawned on Pacquiao that, perhaps, the prospect of fighting someone on performance enhancing drugs is not only dangerous, but could be deadly. This is not to say that Marquez was on anything during their fight, but it was enough that, if Pacquiao was going to tell the world he wasn’t taking drugs, perhaps the party line on drug testing should be altered as well. Besides, with a potential fight with Floyd still spinning around drug testing, nobody was getting any younger.

 

Once again, Pacquiao was able to land at will and unable to cause any serious damage to the much, much larger Rios. Although this was not his first loss, it turned out to be the end of another undefeated streak.

 

For the first time in public knowledge, a fighter under the guidance of Alex Ariza tested positive for a banned substance. The stimulant methylexanamine was found in a post-fight urine test, and although Ariza tried to dismiss it as an accidental over-the-counter issue, Victor Conte offered far more sobering thoughts. To his credit, Conte had cleaned up his act and was also cleaning up sports by spreading what he knew about beating drug tests, and random blood and urine work being the only true defense against cheating. In response to Ariza’s comments about accidental ingestions, he had this to say:

 

Conte:  Alex Ariza’s sole job in that camp is to monitor what is going into his fighter’s body and get the maximum output. For him to suggest that he gave something to his fighter without reading the box first is not believable.

 

Nonetheless, Ariza was still in Maidana’s corner six months later when he squared off against Mayweather. From the first bell, Maidana swarmed Mayweather, throwing an assortment of wild punches that connected everywhere and anywhere, and occasionally even his face and body. Maidana maintained the same fearsome stamina, tenacity, and punch output that garnered him a bloody win over Adrian Broner, except this time he was facing an entirely different animal. Mayweather adapted to the brawling tactics and uncountable fouls, and despite referee Tony Weeks occasionally warning Maidana, not a single point came off his card.

 

The result was a majority decision win for Floyd, although the more I watch the tape I think 117-111 was the best score. Whoever called it a draw had a far too great partiality to rewarding fighters for throwing rather than landing. It did, however, reveal not just a game plan for beating Mayweather, but a game plan that will work against any fighter. It goes like this:

 

Round 1: Focus predominantly on hitting your opponent behind the head to soften him up.

 

Round 2: Continue softening up the back of your opponent’s skull, and mix in an occasional thigh shot to slow him down late in the fight.

 

Round 3: As the referee is breaking you from the clinches, flagrantly attempt to break your opponent’s arm by twisting his forearm in the opposite direction of the joint. Make sure this is in full view of the referee so as to set the standard against which future warnings will be adjudged.

 

Round 4: In addition to the preceding repertoire, add in a head butt to the eye in order to open a cut on the right side of his face. This will make it more difficult in later rounds to defend against left hooks to the balls.

 

Round 5: Attempt to knee your opponent in the balls in full view of everyone but Tony Weeks.

 

Round 6: Step up the attacks to the back of the skull in order to draw your opponent’s guard up and away from his balls and thighs. Then explode into his nuts.

 

Round 7: Second half of the fight – now is the time to begin cashing in on your thigh and nut work. As your opponent leans around to defend, punch him in the back and kidneys.

 

Round 8 – 11: Continue throwing combinations involving all the aforementioned shots, knowing full well that the referee has no intention whatsoever of deducting points or even warning you for this behavior.  Make sure the power of the ball shots is proportional to volume of your opponent’s protests and the indifference of the referee. Late in the fight, if you’re still down on the scorecards, attempt to throw your opponent halfway through the ropes in the hopes that you can win by TKO when he is knocked out by Larry Merchant’s microphone.

 

Round 12: Ensure you are ready to go by having your strength and conditioning coach push the cutman out of the way between rounds 11 and 12, put a cotton swab inside a towel while looking at the referee and fight doctor to make sure they’re not watching, and hold it over your nose and mouth for 30 seconds. Although you will try to resist this the first time, accept it as an inevitability as he forces it back over your face and breathe deeply.

 

Post-fight: Claim victory, demand a rematch, and get Alex a good long interview describing how he pushed the cutman out of the way to introduce a towel full of something to your face, in order to stop a bloody nose you didn’t have.

 

He still lost, but Maidana proved one thing for sure. There is a strategy for beating any fighter, and it’s called cheating. Many other fighters have had success with fouls in the past, but the key against Floyd appeared to be the selection of the proper referee for the job.

 

Mayweather’s only comment after the fight was “If he want it he can get it again.”

 

This would be the last fight Alex Ariza would spend in Garcia’s corner.

 

When asked why he cut loose the man who appeared to be making all the difference for his fighters, Garcia gave a somewhat cryptic answer. Without addressing the Rios drug test, he simply said that he talked to all his fighters about Ariza’s methods, and they all agreed that they wanted to go back to the “traditional” methods that had always worked in the past for them. What was striking was how dismissive Garcia appeared to be of the results achieved in the Mayweather fight by what was clearly a massively improved Marcos Maidana.  Garcia and his fighters seemed at peace with this, and it was the second time within two years that Ariza was fired by his employer – in both cases two of the most famous trainers in the business.

 

In both Pacquiao/Bradley II and Mayweather/Maidana II, the important elements prevailed. Pacquiao actually did a far worse job than he did in the first fight, and Mayweather thoroughly out-boxed an Ariza-free Maidana who suffered from a profound ineffectiveness by way of returning to the form of his first 37 fights.

 

Also of note was that Bradley was being tested randomly by two sources for the second Pacquiao fight. Not only was he subjecting himself to 24-7/365 random drug testing of his own free will, but was also subjected to the Pacquiao camp’s independent testing as well. Despite this, he matched up well, and despite performing the same tactics with the same effectiveness that Marquez and Morales had demonstrated over and over again, his desire to brawl was ultimately his undoing. You can take the fighter out of Philly…

 

———————————————————————-

 

May 2nd, 2015 – Prediction

 

  1. Both fighters are clean. It’s my understanding that each fighter has been randomly tested somewhere around 12 times.
  2. Pacquiao appears scared. His eyes are shifty every time he faces off with Floyd.
  3. Furthermore, he is talking about god an awful lot for someone who seemed to have much more faith in their physical abilities in the past. One could even say that, if his conversion has brought him in line with the plan that god has for him as he has said, god appears to want him to get his ass stomped out and take away all his power.
  4. Any time a fighter asserts first and foremost that the key point of success in their fight will be “ I have faith in God, and God will deliver him into my hands”, it is time to make your way to the bookie with about 70% of your stuff in hawk.
  5. Freddie Roach believes that a huge factor in the fight will be building into Manny’s muscle memory a response to Mayweather leading him into punches. Muscle memory is the last thing you want against a guy like Mayweather, because as soon as he adjusts it will make it all the more easy for him to continue punishing you for your predictability.
  6. I’ve never seen the same Mayweather twice in a fight. With Manny, you know exactly what you are getting.
  7. Manny proved that, even as late as Bradley II, that the punches and angles he is susceptible to have never been corrected over the course of his career. Even his final opponent before Mayweather – a hopelessly young and outclasses boxer named Chris Algieri – could have success turning Manny to the left and countering his shots in similar fashion.
  8. Mayweather has been the smaller man in virtually all of his fights at Welterweight and Jr. Middleweight, and against Pacquiao he will be the larger man. Pacquiao is approximately the same size as Marquez.
  9. Mayweather also has a 5 inch reach advantage…
  10. Pacquiao hasn’t had a KO since 2009, and his power has vanished ever since he fought Bradley in 2012. The primary hope for a Pacquiao victory is a KO. Mayweather has – particularly in recent years – been seen to take extraordinary shots from extraordinary punchers, and take them well.
  11. Mayweather is supremely ready for this fight…
  12. People are picking Pacquiao because they have an image of him in their head from five years ago. That Pacquiao is gone, and be honest with yourself: when you talk about extreme power and punch volume, when’s the last time you saw that against a top-notch opponent? May 7th, 2011 – Pacquiao/Mosley. After the fight, Mosley reportedly told Mayweather “I should have made him take the test.”

 

I think what’s going to happen is that Mayweather is not going to run from Pacquiao. He’s going to figure out in half the time as Marquez what Pacquiao’s weaknesses are and begin exploiting them with power shots in the middle of the ring. Pacquiao will have to start lunging in with his shots and throwing wildly – unsuccessfully at best – and getting countered even worse than he was before. As the fight wears on, Pacquiao will be stopped in the late rounds, and even possibly as early as round 8.

 

Prediction: Mayweather by KO in the late rounds, while sitting on a wide lead on the cards.

 

Finally, one small point. In preparation for this fight, Mayweather has had a new individual in his camp…

 

Alex Ariza.

 

Mayweather has said little to nothing about what Ariza has done for him, and indeed, Mayweather Sr. and Roger Mayweather have both been in print and on film saying that Ariza hasn’t done {poopie} and doesn’t know {poopie} about boxing. I think Mayweather said he did a bit of swimming at one point, but I’ve never seen him in a pool.

 

Additionally, in the interviews he’s done, he’s alluded to the fact that he knows where Pacquiao went wrong. He also made an analogy that people look at a man who is selling drugs and making a lot of money and say he’s being successful. Then, when they he goes to jail for selling drugs, they look to the man who made it honestly and say he was the smarter man.

 

De La Hoya described Floyd in the following way: “He beats you mentally before the fight, and then beats you physically in the ring.”

 

Mayweather doesn’t need Ariza and never has. Ariza is there because he’s the key for Mayweather letting Pacquiao know that he knows the truth. If I were Pacquiao, I’d be praying to god too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ben Tomkins
Ben Tomkins is a violinist, teacher, journalist and critically acclaimed composer currently living in Denver, Colorado. He hates stupidity and generally believes that the volume of one’s voice is inversely proportional to one’s knowledge of an issue. Reach Ben Tomkins at BenTomkins@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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