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  • Caesar Cliffius

    My name is Cliff Eastham. I live in West Virginia with my wife Debbie, the loveliest lady in the world, and my youngest daughter, Holly who is equally as lovely as her mother.

    I enjoy writing about sports, and love a good healthy debate. My favorite teams are the Cincinnati Reds and the Washington Redskins.

    There are only a couple of sports that I don't write about, Hockey and Soccer specifically. My favorite sports are Baseball, Boxing, NFL, NCAA Basketball, MMA.

    Feel free to look around, and your comments are most welcome. Subscribe via email if you wish.

    It is decreed.....Caesar Cliffius
    this 8th day of December, in the Year of our Lord 2009.

Money vs. Manny: The Fight of the Century?

Now that the hurdles have all been jumped concerning the upcoming fight between Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, the only thing left is to reset a date to accommodate Manny’s political aspirations.

The early line shows Pretty Boy Floyd as the favorite.

The fight promises to be one of the best in a long time. Some are going all the way to the bridge and saying it will be the best ever. That is a tall order, my friends.

What fights would it have to surpass to be the “best ever”?

In no particular order, but indeed on the road to the best, are Hagler vs. Hearns. That fight was three rounds of non-stop fighting at its best. Both men gave as good as they got until Hagler closed the deal. Other than the gamblers, that fight did not disappoint anyone.  The Hitman had Hagler hurt before the fight was 30 seconds old. Ring Magazine called the first round of the fight “the greatest round in boxing history” and was the round of the year in 1985.

Any talk of best bouts ever could not be complete without the “Thrilla in Manila“. Even fans who aren’t “old school” have to say amen to that. Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier met for the third and final time in October of 1975. Ali was one year removed from shocking the boxing world by his KO of George Foreman. The two men beat each other to the point of exhaustion before Frazier’s corner pulled the plug after the 14th round. Ali has said that fight was the closest he has ever come to death.

Another great one was the first fight between Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo. In a close fight, Castillo came out in the 10th round of a schedules 12 rounder and knocked Corrales down twice. Corrales had spit his mouthpiece out twice and was deducted a point (not to mention being decked twice). Diego summoned strength and reserve from a special place and came back and stopped the fight in fantastic fashion, beating Castillo helpless against the ropes.

I could go on and on, but these are just three great ones that this fight would have to top to gain serious notoriety.

The biggest wins on Pacman’s portfolio are against fighters that Pretty Boy had already beaten. Ricky Hatton was blistered by Pretty Boy in their fight until Floyd KO’d him late, softening him up for his 2nd round massacre at the hands of Pacquiao.

Oscar De La Hoya was beaten by Mayweather and Pacman finished him off late in his fight.

What do both these two brilliant pugilists bring to the table?

With Manny you will see non-stop action, just like the video game he is named for, Pacman. Mayweather may very well prove to be the ghost that haunts Manny and keeps him from landing anything flush. Manny is strong, maybe stronger than Floyd, but that is so hard to analyze. He has proven that he can keep it going for 12 rounds. He has adequate power to end the fight, maybe not with one punch, but certainly by combinations.

Pretty Boy Floyd will be the challenge of a lifetime for Pacquiao. Mayweather, as much as his detractors hate hearing it, has never really been seriously tested. He has never been hurt badly (I am talking Queer Street) and presents the most transparent targets for his opponent. His hand speed is absolutely second to none, and his reflexes are above description. I believe he could catch a bat flying at him in the dark. His power is under rated in my view, and has developed over his career. He has a very good right hand and can do damage with it.

Pacquiao has a very good record of 50-3-2 with 38 KOs. He has been stopped twice, both in the third round. His average fight is only5.5 rounds, he has six KOs in the first round and knocked Miguel Cotto out in the 12th round (the fight was actually stopped between the rounds 11 and 12). His power is not limited to the first couple of rounds. He is 22-2-1 in world title fights.

Mayweather’s record is 40-0 with 25 by knockout. His average fight lasts only 7 rounds. He has an outstanding record of 18-0 with nine knockouts in world title fights. He has four first-round KO’s and has two knockouts as late as the 10th round.

Manny has been in some serious wars, hurt some people and took some very hard shots. After  55 fights the collateral damage is just about due to raise its ugly head. Floyd has been shook up mildly once or twice, but never hurt. Even though Mayweather is a couple of years older, I believe he is working with a fresher body and that will be huge in this fight.

For Mayweather, the ramifications for the fight are simple. If he should beat Manny in spectacular fashion, he could retire (for good) and know that he has beaten the best and know that there is nothing left to prove. If it is a close fight, surely the world will cry for a rematch, and dollars and cents will rule the day.

If Pacquiao beats Mayweather, he can go down in history as the first man to defeat the “greatest” fighter of his era. If he would demolish Pretty Boy in the process, he could begin his political career by being the wealthiest congressman in world history.

I look for a very entertaining fight. Everything inside me says the fight will be an unanimous decision for Floyd, but the little guy in my head says he will win by a 5th round stoppage.

What do you think?

Cliff Eastham is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report where this article was first published.

Should There Be a Height Limit in Weight Classes in Boxing ?

After all the crying I witnessed in a recent article, I thought this would be a fair question for debate.

The article in question was “Could Manny Pacquiao beat Paul Williams at 147”.  Apparently, the better question would have been, ‘could Pacquiao beat Williams at 5-6’.

I don’t understand the absurdity of such a fight. Boxers who haven’t had the notoriety that Pacman has garnered,  fought taller men every time out, sometimes as much as seven or eight inches.

The same fans who decry such a fight had no problems calling Floyd Mayweather a “ducker” for not fighting Williams. The difference in height between Pretty Boy and Manny is an inch and a half. So, obviously with Mayweather it is no big deal, but with Pacman it is suddenly a Munchkin trying to throw hands with Godzilla.

To address the title question here, what would be a reasonable maximum height for welter-weights. 5-11 or just under six feet?

It is an absurd question and an absurd defense to be used. Fighters have been gauged by their weight since the inception of weight classes.

Sam Langford was the same height as Manny Pacquiao and fought fighters from light-weight all the way to heavy-weight. In Fact, Nat Fleischer (Bert Sugar’s old boss) rated Langford as one of the 10 best heavyweights of all time.

Langford never won the heavy-weight belt. He was beaten by Jack Johnson by decision in 1906. Against Johnson, Sam gave up seven inches in height and 29 pounds (156 – 185), yet went 15 grueling rounds and was never afforded a rematch by the Champion.

So, you see, like the old adage goes, “it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it is the size of the fight in the dog”.

Mike Tyson and Rocky Marciano, who both stood only 5’10 were constantly at a height and reach disadvantage. Marciano was undefeated and Tyson was seemingly invincible until he met up with Buster Douglas.

History is replete with smaller men who defeated their own “goliaths”. A man should not be penalized, or disenfranchised from fighting the best fighters because he lives inside a tall frame. The smaller man, by the same token, should not use that as a defense from fighting the best.

Boxing is ruled by weight, not height. Fighters have grown through the decades. When they made 176 pounds the threshold to enter for the heavyweight division, I doubt they expected heavyweights to average 6″3″ and weigh 238 pounds. Athletes of today, in all sports, are bigger, stronger, faster and have more endurance than the “average” athlete of yesteryear.

So, as John Prine put it so well, “A question is not a question, if you know the answer too.”

 

Cliff Eastham is a Featured Columnist on Bleacher Report where this article was first published.

Is Floyd Mayweather, Jr the Best Boxer of All Time ?

That may be a foolish question to some boxing fans, experts, and enthusiasts.

There have been scores of great fighters, hundreds of very good fighters, and thousands of good fighters.

It is impossible to accurately say that one fighter would beat another fighter from a different era. It is, however, one of the things that makes boxing one of the most debatable and colorful sports there is.

There are obviously fighters in the past, and even currently, who possess(ed) more power than Floyd. Some would be willing to get hit seven or eight times to be able to launch one bomb.

Floyd is virtually unmarked as a fighter, hence the moniker Pretty Boy Floyd. He looks more like a movie star than a pugilist.

While drinking a pint in a tavern, nothing whiles away the time better than a good old fashioned discussion about how Ali could have knocked out Marciano, or how Willie Pep could have given a boxing lesson to Manny Pacquiao (when he was a featherweight).

Thus, we have two factions warring against one another. Old school fans and experts tend to want to give the edge to the guys that they grew up idolizing or following closely.

Secondly, we have the new age fans, who can’t seem to imagine how anybody could be better than the current field. Advanced training methods with bigger, stronger, and faster fighters make today’s competition much more fierce than in days gone by.

I suppose I would be called old school because of my age, however, I am making a case today for the current best in the world, Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

I have thought about it for some time, and have finally pushed myself to a decision. I believe Pretty Boy is the best “boxer” in the history of the sport.

I said boxer, not fighter. Let me illustrate. When you look up the word “boxer” in the dictionary, Wikipedia, or whatever, you should see an image of him right there on the page. He epitomizes the word.

I have seen boxers since the late fifties and there have been some dandies. Cassius Clay (the caterpillar who turned into the butterfly Muhammad Ali), Floyd Patterson, Archie Moore, Emile Griffith, Joe Frazier, George Foreman (twice), Sugar Ray Leonard, Sugar Ray Robinson, Tommy Hearns, Julio Caesar Chavez, Salvador Sanchez, Alexis Arguello, Aaron Pryor, Bobby Foster, Roberto Duran, and Larry Holmes, just to name a few.

I watched those fighters while they were still active and I saw films of most of the other great ones.

There is not one, in my opinion, who is or was superior to Floyd Mayweather. If there ever was a complete package in one boxer, he would be it.

His defense is beyond description, he is as hard to hit as a bat flying in front of you at night.

He has the fastest hands I believe I ever saw. His punch placement is as good or better than Ali’s. He wastes no gas. He is as effective with his punches as anyone ever has been. He has developed a respectful portion of power over the years.

It is a joy to watch him as he commands the ring, dictating how the fight goes. His stinging jabs keep the brawlers off balance and measures them for a strong right hand.

Do I think he could have beaten fighters of other eras? Yes, I do. I think he could have won decisions over Robinson, Leonard, and any other fighters who were in his weight classes.

Pound for pound, he is the best ever. I realize this is speculative at best, and everybody has their own opinions, but I believe he is the one.

There have been other fighters who have retired undefeated. The great Rocky Marciano and even more recent than he, Joe Calzaghe (who quit just in time considering he was down in round one and barely won a split decision over Bernard Hopkins).

Money has beaten everyone who had the stones to throw with him. Some of today’s best have witnessed his hand being raised at the end of their bout with him; Oscar De Le Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Zab Judah, Diego Corrales, Arturo Gatti, Jose Luis Castillo, Chop Chop Corley, Sharmba Mitchell, and Juan Manuel Marquez.

He is in fact, the best boxer in the history of the sport.