With the Class of a Champion

By Thomas Gerbasi


Thank you Floyd Mayweather Jr. Thank you for not ruining your brilliant shutout over Genaro Hernandez with the posing, taunting, and boasting that we've come to expect from you. Thank you for showing some true emotion, letting us see your true colors, and letting us accept you as the bright young champion you are sure to be.

Before last night's WBC super featherweight bout between venerated champion Genaro Hernandez and brash 1996 Olympian Mayweather, my head said Floyd, but my heart said Hernandez. Mayweather, who showed nothing but disrespect for a fine champion in the pre-fight garbage we refer to as "hype", seemed to be on the fast track to becoming one of the most likely to receive a butt kicking. People I spoke to echoed my sentiments. "Mayweather will probably win, but I'd love to see him get his mouth shut." Father Floyd Sr, who should have known better, being an ex-fighter himself, was no voice of reason either, calling Hernandez "a bum". This crap is totally unnecessary, and threatened to overshadow a true "pick-em" fight, a fight which all true fight fans were looking forward to.

And it betrayed all expectations.

Hernandez rushed Mayweather at the opening bell, and through the first two stanzas tried to make a brawl out of the fight, hoping that dirty tactics would force the 21 year old to lose his cool. It was not to be. In that second round, blinding shots by Mayweather jarred Hernandez, letting him know that he was in for a long evening.

It didn't get any closer than that. Mayweather was too fast, too strong, and just too good for Hernandez, who looked bewildered and tentative for much of the fight. A gallant seventh round last stand by Hernandez showed him the futility of his endeavor, and the end was just a matter of minutes away. "Chicanito" was never in serious danger of being kayoed during the fight, but it was obvious that a few more rounds of Pretty Boy Floyd's machine gun punches would have produced a stoppage. At the end of eight rounds, brother Rudy Hernandez had seen enough, and he motioned to referee Jay Nady that the fight was over. Genaro offered no resistance to the stoppage.

After the fight, Mayweather was emotional, crying in the ring over his newly won title. He also showed the class of a champion, praising Hernandez while offering that "bygones be bygones". At 21, Mayweather has a lot to learn about boxing and about life. But he looks to be on the right track in both disciplines. According to Pedro Fernandez (read below), a December 12 date may be in the works for a battle between Mayweather and Angel Manfredy. Too much, too soon? Based on Manfredy's recent struggle against unknown John Brown, Mayweather may roll through "El Diablo", who doesn't have the punch to keep Mayweather off him. Early prediction: Mayweather by a lopsided decision.

As for Hernandez, who has been nothing but a class act in and out of the ring, I think it's time for him to hang them up. Not because I feel he's shot as a fighter, but just because I feel his heart isn't in it anymore. His pre fight comments seemed to be a concession speech, and once he saw that he wasn't able to catch Mayweather in the first couple of rounds, he went into a survival shell. When his brother stopped the fight, he had no complaints. Unfortunately, while this may not be the case, especially when taking into consideration his courageous win over Azumah Nelson, Hernandez will be remembered by many boxing fans as having quit on his stool against the two toughest fighters on his ledger, Mayweather and Oscar DeLa Hoya. Unfortunate, but true.

But out with the old and in with the new. A star was born last night in Vegas. At 18-0, the 21 year old Floyd Mayweather has beaten Olympic teammates Fernando Vargas and David Reid to a world title, and he did it using something I didn't think he had in him...maturity.

Hey Floyd, let's let bygones be bygones.


Mayweather - Hernandez

By Chris Bushnell

On paper, tonight's 130 lb. world championship bout looked like one of boxing's rare "pick 'em" matchups.  Young, undefeated, and often brash Pretty Boy Floyd Mayweather faced longtime 130 lb. king Genaro Hernandez in a classic
battle of styles:  Boxer vs. Boxer-Puncher.  Experience vs. Youth. Intelligence vs. brawn.  Could the physical gifts of Floyd Mayweather carry him to a world title at only 21 years of age?  Would the crafty Hernandez string along another rookie en route to a trademark decision victory?

We may never know.  This fight was lost before it ever began.

Hernandez must have known something that we didn't.  Two days before the fight, he told Dean Juipe, boxing writer for the Las Vegas Sun, that he was still struggling to make weight, and that his training camp was marred by a lack of suitable sparring partners.   The morning of the fight, in the lobby of the Las Vegas Hilton, Hernandez told HBO analyst Larry Merchant that "I will be lucky to win."  It was a far cry from his comments when the fight was announced, when Hernandez emphatically called out "Lose?  I don't even know that word.  There is only win!"

In the first round, Hernandez stuck out his jab and fired at his young opponent in a search for respect.  He never got any.  Mayweather came into the ring with no mental distractions, and his combination punching, speed and often surprising patience showed it.  When a charging Hernandez made Mayweather slip to the canvas, young Floyd wasted no time in shoving back,
sending the champion down a moment later.  But the roughhousing would defer to rough night for Hernandez, as he absorbed punch after punch from the soon-to-be champion.

Mayweather fought a perfect fight.  He outjabbed the champion, controlled the pace of the entire bout, outthrew and outlanded Hernandez, all while showing slick defense and a powerful arsenal of punches in bunches from all angles.Mayweather was often effective because of his speed and reflexes, but was also the beneficiary of an almost passive Hernandez.  After being told (correctly) by his corner that he has lost the first 5 rounds, Hernandez began the sixth by not throwing a punch for over a minute. 

As the rounds slipped by, Hernandez was increasingly unable to figure out what to do.   He tried leading, then countering, chasing and being chased, and even laid back on the ropes at times, all in an effort to get things going.  They never did.   Mayweather could not be thwarted, and each round served as a confirmation of something Hernandez seemed to suspect before the fight:  That he could not win.

After mounting his best effort in the seventh round (a round which he still lost), Hernandez returned to his corner with a dark brown mouse under his right eye.  His brother/trainer calmly repeated "Last round.  Take your last shot.  Last round."  Hernandez came out with only a little more vim and vigor to begin the eighth, and after three more minutes of sustained punishment, his corner stopped the fight.  Fulfilling his "last round" promise, Rudy Hernandez asked the referee to halt the bout, a decision confirmed when Hernandez then told the referee "I'll do what my brother says."  Mayweather TKO8.

For the second time in his career, Hernandez quit on his stool.  After resurrecting the reputation he tarnished when quitting against DelaHoya, it remains to be seen if he will be able to live this one down.  Despite being shutout by his upstart opponent, Hernandez was able to continue.  His swollen eye was nowhere near Gatti proportions, and his best two rounds of the fight
had been the 7th and 8th.  Why not continue?  Because he knew.  He knew he could not win on points, and he knew he could not knock Mayweather out.  With his pre-fight suspicions confirmed, he quit.

Hernandez's lackluster performance and uninspired resignation leave a few unanswered questions about Mayweather.  Yes, he fought a brilliant fight, technically sound and devastatingly effective, and yes, he earned his shiny world title belt.  But he was deprived of a chance to show his effectiveness in the later rounds.  He was deprived of a chance to beat an opponent who
would not quit.  He was deprived of an opportunity to show what he can do against an opponent that fights back. 

After Hernandez threw it in, an overjoyed Mayweather dropped to his knees in the ring, crying tears of joy.  His uncles and father, all former fighters, leaped into the ring, each leaving his own trail of tears behind.  The new star was uncharacteristically modest in his post fight interview, and Hernandez offered no excuses.   A new champion crowned in a disappointing contest...but he is champion nonetheless.   At only 18-0 (14), Floyd Mayweather becomes the first 1996 Olympian to win a world title, and his future is bright.  The lightweight divisions are full of young talented names, and hopefully more challenging matchups, for Mayweather to choose from.   Let's hope he chooses well.


By Pedro Fernandez

Floyd Mayweather Jr., 130 lbs., Las Vegas, scored a TKO win in eight rounds over defending WBC 130 lb. titleholder Genaro Hernandez, 130, East. L.A. to stay unbeaten at 18-0, and at the same time pick up KO #14.

Hernandez was NEVER in the fight and falls to 37-2-1, (17 KO's).



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Scheduled guests: Floyd Mayweather and HBO's Larry Merchant, or Harold Lederman.


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Last night's guests were 130 lb. champion Angel Manfredy and HBO's V.P. of Sports Programming Lou Di Bella who announced December 12, as the likely date for Manfredy and Mayweather!

You can only hear breaking news like this on Ring Talk, the insider's look into the world of boxing! In it's 12th year, where have you been?

Mayweather bests Hernandez, wins WBC title

By Boxng Rules

   It was definitely a happy night for the Mayweather family. Floyd Mayweather, Jr. became the second man in the Mayweather family to win a world title belt and the first from the '96 Olympic team to win a title belt. He did it by dismantling the popular WBC Jr. Lightweight titlist Genaro "Chicanito" Hernandez.

   Mayweather came in the flamboyant trash-talking young prospect who had struck bronze in Atlanta two years ago as Hernandez entered the silent albeit confident champion who had made 4 successful defenses before this faithful night in Las Vegas. Both fighters entered at 130 pounds. Hernandez started the match by going toe-to-toe with "Pretty Boy" Floyd.
Floyd responded by pushing out a jab. Hernandez responded in the same manner and then, as Mayweather was attempting to dodge the punches he slipped to the canvas. This was rightfully called a slip by referee Jay Nady. Floyd got up and started to fire power punches. Hernandez also slipped. The slips aside, Floyd dominated the round.

   The two fighters started Round 2 with wrestling tactics. Both falling to the canvas in an exchange. Mayweather once again used his jab to keep Hernandez at bay and again dominated the round.

   Round 3 marked the beginning of the complete dominance by 21-year-old native of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Mayweather stuck the jab in Genaro's face and bloodied his nose in Round 4. Hernandez, of Los Angeles, showed very poor reflexes tonight in this matchup. Floyd exposed Chicanito's weakness and he did that with his non-stop assault.

   In Round 7, Mayweather's constant pressure was paying off. Hernandez showed swollen eyes, one nearly closed. It was unbelievable to think that this match would be so one-sided. But even with all that, Genaro fought back gallantly. Hernandez tried desperately to make up for his slow start in Round 8. But he could not get anywhere trying to compete with the pace young Floyd had set.

   With the round over, Hernandez' brother suggested to Genaro that he quit on his stool. Hernandez obliged and Floyd Mayweather was suddenly the WBC Jr. Lightweight Champion! This was Hernandez' first loss at 130 pounds making his
overall record 38-2-1 (17 by KO). Mayweather, whose record improved to 18-0 with his 14th Professional knockout, became the second Mayweather to win a title since his uncle Roger won the WBA Jr. Lightweight strap 15 years ago.

   Yes, it was a gallant night for the Mayweather family. And an even better one for boxing.

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