Sunday, June 27, 2021

Unfinished Business with the Pittsburgh Kid

By Mike I.

Unless you are a very casual boxing fan or a huge fan of Logan Paul’s, no one was shocked Floyd Mayweather beat him easily in their recent bout. However, any hardcore boxing enthusiast, loyal to boxing was shocked he didn’t knock him out in two or three rounds.

It can be debated that Floyd is getting older, or Paul was so much bigger and younger, despite being completely out matched experience wise. No matter the circumstance, there is no other reason Floyd did not destroy Paul other than he just carried him for multiple rounds. Many could say there are all kinds of reasons for that, but in the end, that seems to be what he happened in this bout.

There is literally video of Mayweather hitting Paul and holding him up to keep him from hitting the canvas. What may be the real reason that Floyd looked like a king cobra playing with a little mouse instead of looking like a Jack Russell Terrier viciously nipping away at an awkward and confused St. Bernard is simple:  Paul was just no challenge for the greatness of Floyd.

This bout looked more like a glorified sparring session than a bout of any quality. Although it looked like a sparring match with Paul, there was an actual sparring match years ago with another Paul. That Paul is Paul Spadafora. Known as “The Pittsburgh Kid,” his roots in the tough fight city of Pittsburgh was where Spadafora became one of the purest boxers of Floyd’s time.

Spadafora is the one fighter who would be a challenge for Floyd. Spadafora was one of the true greats of Floyd’s time, and whipped him handily in a sparring session some time back. That sparring session was recorded and the footage leaked on the internet. This footage made the boxing world curious, as it was rumored the Floyd camp was even interested in giving Paul a shot at him to set the record straight about who the better fighter was.

Unfortunately, Spadafora had multiple problems outside the ring, and to promoters and matchmakers, the fight must have seemed like too much of a risk as the contest never happened. Now Spadafora is in boxing exile.

For anyone saying, “Well that was just a sparring session,” or, “Floyd was out of shape for that session,” I respond with this: Floyd is never out of shape, and there was a rumor that Floyd said this sparring session made him commit to never be out of shape again. So, if there is nothing to fear now and he is always in shape, what does he have to worry about now?

Some may ask why Floyd would risk his undefeated record for a guy who blew his chance with Floyd years ago because of his bad behavior outside of the ring. The simple answer is it is not worth it. Yet, Floyd is a special athlete, and I think for him there can be special rules in place for a potential matchup between Spadafora and Mayweather. Seeing how Floyd breaks the rules all the time with these crossover fights, who is to say what the rules need to be right?

My proposed rule for a decision in a potential showdown with Spadafora is if by some chance Floyd loses to Spadafora, the loss will be expunged from his record. This would make it worth Floyd’s time to even consider a guy who is a risk in more ways than one. I’m confident Floyd would have his hands full with Spadafora. The main thing that makes this interesting is the footage of Spadafora beating Mayweather up round after round in that sparring session years ago.

To be clear, I am not mad that Floyd is making a mockery or circus out of boxing. Boxing has always been a bit of a circus and has always had crazy circumstances around it. Jack Dempsey, arguably one of the most famous boxers in history, went around the country to bars and asked owners to let him fight the troublemakers in the bar simply for a steak dinner and some whiskey in return. It is hard to think Floyd is doing something to diminish the respectability of boxing. As Mike Tyson said about the bout on Logan Paul’s podcast, “How low could boxing go? Boxing can only go up. You can’t take it any lower.”

I agree with Mr. Tyson. Boxing can only go up, and one way for that to happen would be a fight between Floyd and a respectable fighter who Roy Jones started fighting after a comeback to the ring, Paul Spadafora. To paraphrase Mr. Tyson in that same Logan Paul podcast interview, he said things like crossover matches can broaden the public’s horizons about boxing, and it can show the sport as a skillful art form.

Now that Floyd has maybe done that with this last bout, maybe he could take it even one step further and show people the real art boxing is and bring the guy who is the other true pure boxer of his time to the main stage with him, so they can show the world in style the real beauty of the craft. However, if he continues to literally carry opponents like he did with Logan Paul, then I don’t see how he is showing the public the beautiful side of boxing. Maybe that is just me though.

Another point for a Mayweather vs. Spadafora fight is that it would be a dream come true Spadafora, and Floyd would be giving the mainstream public and hardcore boxing fans alike a great show. Spadafora, who has the potential to be a modern-day “Cinderella Man” with a victory, has a history worth looking into. After losing his father at a young age, having a mother who really wasn’t able to support him, and having multiple alleged problems with drugs alcohol and with the law, Spadafora was still one of the most talented, yet unrecognized fighters of Floyd’s time. If there is one thing boxing fans love more than a great match up between two greats, they love a great comeback story. That comeback story potential is there for Spadafora, who is a walking, talking comeback story.

That being stated, if there is nothing to fear now that Floyd is always in shape, and we have this special rule for Floyd remaining officially undefeated despite the outcome, what does he have to worry about?

Boxing fans just want to see the guy who may have quite literally whipped Floyd into shape for the rest of his career, and they want to see how much of a fluke that really was. I will tell you this:  Even if it wasn’t a fluke, Floyd adjusts in the middle of rounds and throughout fights. He has one of the highest ring IQs of all-time, so no matter what, Spadafora will have the fight of his life on his hands against Floyd.

In closing, I urge Floyd to give boxing fans one last show in a fight against the one guy of his era who needs a shot more than ever. That will give us the type of fight worth paying the money people put out for the Logan Paul fight. 

Paul Spadafora (Photo Courtesy of BoxRec)

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