Is Mitchell resigned to 'ugly truth' vs. Pretty Boy?
Even though Sharmba Mitchell is a former titlist with a 56-4 record, he seems to be in over his head Saturday against Floyd Mayweather.
Disclosure: There are times during conference calls, when a promoter is prattling on about the terrific prospects for a fight that couldn't draw flies to an outhouse, or a flabby fighter is babbling about how fabulous his camp has been, when my mind drifts.
It happened during a recent Floyd Mayweather/Sharmba Mitchell conference call. The call was meant to hype the showdown Saturday between boxing's most skilled active practitioner and Mitchell, the 35-year-old ex-champ who has a snowball's chance in hell of winning.
But my brain wandered off the marked path.
I'm not sure if it was when promoter Dan Goossen promised that fight fans tuning in to HBO wouldn't be disappointed, or when a most-gentlemanly Pretty Boy Floyd (34-0) said he wasn't overlooking the 56-4 southpaw.
The drift might have occurred when Mitchell, also in most gracious form, paid Mayweather a compliment and inadvertently exposed his most glaring deficiency: his age.
"I love to see Floyd fight," said the two-time junior welterweight titlist. "He's crafty. He reminds me of myself coming up, when I was younger, the things I used to do."
My eyes glazed a bit and my pen trailed off my pad. Out of nowhere, I heard the "Anything You Can Do" lyrics from Irving Berlin's musical "Annie Get Your Gun":
I can do anything better than you.
I felt momentarily foolish after I snapped back to attention, and chided myself silently for the lapse of concentration.
C'mon Woods, what would Maxboxing.com readers think if they knew you were the type to sing show tunes?
Then I paused and examined the lyrics. They apply to Mayweather and Mitchell and this clash.
Mitchell can do some things well, but what he does well, Mayweather does even better.
Mitchell's hand speed is still above average. His foot speed, though diminished by aging and injuries, is still decent. His power -- he has three KOs since 1998 -- won't be enough to bother Mayweather. His chin -- three of his four losses have seen him done in by power shots -- won't withstand PBF's rapid-fire shelling.
Anything Mitchell can do, Floyd can do better.
There's no shame in that declaration. You can substitute almost any name for Sharmba's, and the same can be said.
Back on track, I pored over Mitchell's speech and language patterns during the call, trying to determine whether, deep down, he knows that Mayweather is just too much for him at this stage of his career.
Was this a clue that Mitchell, a veteran of 60 pro fights, a punch-for-pay pug since 1988, knows the ugly truth?
"Camp has been good," he said. "It seems like it's been long. I'm ready to get the fight on and over with." Hmmm. Them's fightin' words?
At the close of the call, Mitchell thanked Goossen for securing this fight for him, and perhaps, gave us nosy naysayers an unintended peek into his psyche.
"In the end, Floyd and I will remain friends and business people; win or lose, at the end of the day, we're business companions."
Hmmm, those definitely are not fightin' words.
Everyone hopes Mitchell will ignore any signals from that left knee that gave out against Kostya Tszyu in their first fight (TKO loss, Feb. 3, 2001).
We all hope that the chin wiring that betrayed Mitchell against Leavander Johnson (KO 8 loss, March 8, 1994) and Stevie Johnston (TKO 9 loss, June 21, 1994) and Tsyzu (TKO3 loss, Nov. 6, 2004) will remain solid, in the name of mercy, and to increase the odds that there will be a competitive scrap.
Common sense says that some part of Mitchell's 35-year-old body will not cooperate in his quest to dethrone the "P4P Kid" Saturday night in Oregon.
Indeed, Mitchell has a snowball's chance in hell of giving Mayweather his first loss as a pro. But with that funky global warming stuff that's been going on, who knows?
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