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Archive for May, 2009|Monthly archive page

The Red Sox Need A Shortstop

In Uncategorized on May 29, 2009 at 2:06 pm
New in stores, the Julio Lugo Bobbleglove

New in stores, the Julio Lugo Bobbleglove

The Boston Red Sox need a shortstop.

Yeah, I know they have one already, but they need a new one. Julio Lugo simply isn’t getting the job done.

The shortstop position is one of the most important in baseball, often called the most dynamic position on the field. A team’s shorstop is supposed to be its star, its cornerstone. A great shortstop goes down in history as the face of a franchise – Cal Ripken Jr, for instance (before he moved to third); The Wizard Ozzie Smith; Derek Jeter. Those guys are shortstops.

Julio Lugo? Not so much.

The face of the Yankees

The face of the Yankees

Lugo is shabby in the field, has a career .270 average, and has 78 lifetime home runs. Not exactly numbers that have jerseys flying off the shelves. A shorstop should inspire confidence, be a leader on the diamond, and sell jerseys at the team store. Julio Lugo does none of these things. Derek Jeter does. He’s a franchise shortstop in every sense of the word. Nomar did, even though many – including myself – would argue that he was overrated. But at least people liked him, and talked about him, and wanted to watch him play the game of baseball.

Julio Lugo is just boring.

In fact, since the (hugely neccessary) Nomar trade, the shortstop position at Fenway has been a revolving door of mediocrity. Orlando Cabrera was great – he was a clubhouse presence with all his flashy handshakes, he could hit, and he was a helluva fielding shorstop – but Theo let him walk. Then there was Edgar Renteria, who was supposed to be good but couldn’t handle the bright Boston lights, and he flamed out quickly. After a miserable, error-filled season Theo shipped him off to the Atlanta Braves for slugging third-base prospect Andy Marte (who is now playing for the Indians AAA affiliate and sports a career .211 avg). When Rent-A-Wreck finally departed (only to return to form with the Braves), Theo made his most egregious error yet, signing Lugo to a 4 year, $36 million free agent deal. Since then, Lugo has racked up errors at an alarming clip while simultaneously failing to muster any power at the plate.

The one that got away

The one that got away

The elephant in the room when you talk about Red Sox shortstops is Hanley Ramirez, the 25-year-old former Red Sox prospect and current franchise shortstop for the Florida Marlins. Theo packaged Ramirez and pitcher Anibal Sanchez in the deal that brought Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell to Boston, and Ramirez promptly went on to win the Rookie of the Year in 2006. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that I wish Theo had never made that trade. I mean, without Beckett and Lowell the Sox don’t win it all in 2007, but never under any circumstances is it a good thing to let a potential face-of-the-franchise guy get away. It’s the kind of thing that can set a team back for years. And when you look at Ramirez’s 2007 numbers (29 homers, 51 stolen bases, and a .332 avg) it becomes clear that Hanley is a special kind of player – the kind that everyone in Boston would love to have back.

But the Red Sox are in good shape at the moment, so it’s no time to point fingers or talk about regret. Lowell is hitting and Becket will come around. There is, however, still a giant black hole at shortstop and neither Lugo, Jed Lowrie, nor Nick Green is going to fill it. And unless Theo has something up his sleeve, that hole will remain, at least through next season when Lugo’s contract is finally up.

So where do the Sox go from here in terms of the shortstop position? There aren’t any beacons of hope on the minor league horizon and it would be hard to trade for a stud shortstop without eating the money already commited to Lugo. As of right now, it looks like Theo’s plan is to grease up the revolving door and keep it in good working order.

At least one thing’s for sure:

Nomar Garciaparra is not walking through that door.

Wait A Second…

In Uncategorized on May 28, 2009 at 3:25 pm

Wait, but what about Lebron?

Aren’t we supposed to be witnessing something?

I thought Lebron was supposed to be….?

Hang on, you’re telling me he’s not the next….?

Uh oh.

Blackhawks Scalped by Detroit

In Uncategorized on May 28, 2009 at 11:51 am

Chief Black Hawk shed a tear last night

Chief Black Hawk shed a tear last night

Well, the Chicago Blackhawks promising season ended last night at the hands of Darren Helm and the widely-despised Detroit Red Wings. Helm potted the dagger 3:58 into overtime, sending the Hawks packing and the Wings into a Stanley Cup Finals rematch against the Pittsburgh Penquins. 

The Bandwagon ride was great while it lasted. I’m not going to pretend to be upset or saddened over the loss, but I will miss seeing the Greatest Logo In Sports on television over the summer. But hey, this team will be back – they are a young squad with a couple up-and-coming stars and we definitely haven’t heard the last of these Chicago Blackhawks. We’ll see you next year, guys. 

Now I’m off to the garage to do some touch-up work on the Bandwagon.

Where Has All the Great Gear Gone?

In Uncategorized on May 27, 2009 at 7:13 pm
Many things in our world have improved since the 1990’s. Computers, for instance. The Internet. High-definition television. But there’s one thing that has steadily gotten worse over the last decade and a half, regressing while the rest of the world has progressed.

And that one thing is gear. Read the rest of this entry »

Partial 4th Quarter Running Diary: Cavs-Magic Game 4

In Uncategorized on May 27, 2009 at 12:57 am
Sure about that Lebron?

Sure about that Lebron?

Game 4 tonight is a must-win game for the Cavs and it’s looking increasingly likely that they are going to lose. So, I think a partial 4th quarter running diary is in order. Plus, Marv’s in the booth with my nemesis, Doug Collins, so that’s always fun. We pick up the action with 8:05 left in the 4th and the Magic up 88-83.

8:05 – Magic ball. The Cavs HAVE to get a stop here. The momentum can’t be any more in Orlando’s favor.

7:52 – Apparently it can. Courtney Lee buries a 3 and the momentum meter has just been turned up to 11. 91-83 Cavs.

7:23 – Lebron James simply has to make fourth quarter free throws if he wants to be the best in the NBA. That’s a must.

7:10 – Lebron with a monster block on a Dwight Howard attempt. Whoa, look who showed up – it’s the MVP. He actually wants to win!

7:02 – Annnnnd Lebron throws the ball away. Turnover Cavs. Guess not.

6:37 – “Sloppy ball-handling here by the Cavaliers,” Marv offers. Too. Many. Jokes.

6:30 – You have to admire Marv’s refusal to refer to teams by anything but their formal names. It’s always “The Cavaliers.” I love it.

6:30 – Lebron is fouled and makes both free throws as CYO coaches across America breathe a sigh of relief.

6:12 – “An awkward move by Howard,” Marv correctly observes. Couldn’t have been more awkward, actually. Is there a professional athlete who does less with his freakish athleticism than Dwight Howard? I can’t think of one. He should score 35 a game, easy, but his post moves are terrible. Should I be shocked that his personal big-man coach is Patrick “Ringless” Ewing? No, no I shouldn’t.

5:20 – Lebron with a great post-up-then-quick-spin move straight out of the Jordan playbook.

4:52 – Back from commercial and straight into the Magic huddle, where Ron Jeremy look-a-like Stan Van Gundy is pointing and yelling, “Are you okay to keep going? Go the whole thing? Hard?” You can’t make this stuff up. The NBA, where Amazing happens.

4: 20 – Huge three for Rashard Lewis. The Magic take a commanding 96-90 lead.

3:50 – Lebron dribbles the ball off his foot and loses it out of bounds. We’re sure we’re ready to anoint this guy the next MJ? Positive? It’s not too soon?

3:15 – Rafar Alson misses a wide open three that would have slammed the casket closed on the Cav’s chances to pull this thing out. I bet he wishes he had that one back.

3:07 – Anderson Varejao with an and-one opportunity – and he makes the free throw. The shot cuts the Magic lead to 3, but is more notable because it allows Marv to pull out what might be his deadliest weapon: “Varejao, YES! and the foul!”

2:55 – Hedu “The Dog Whisperer” Turkoglu turns it over to the Cavs with a costly travel. Or as Marv called it, a “traveling violation!” Remember: formal names only.

2:55 – Timeout Cavaliers. If the Cavs want to close out this game, Lebron is going to have to end it himself by getting in the lane and muscling his way to the basket.

2:44 – And Lebron with an offensive foul. Ball back to the Magic. Not exactly what I had in mind.

2:20 – Lebron drives and throws the ball directly to Alston. “Two turnovers in a row now for Lebron,” says Doug Collins. You coached MJ Doug, you ready to crown Lebron?

1:58 – And as if on cue, Lebron goes coast-to-coast, cuts through traffic and deposits a murderous dunk to bring the Cavs back within one. He literally took off from the bottom of the circle  and had no problem throwing a vicious two-hander. I swear Lebron can read my mind and takes offense whenever I even think about bashing him in favor of MJ. It’s uncanny.

1:56 – The TNT icon reminds me that Lebron has posted a 31-9-7 thus far tonight. Okay, I get it. Relax.

1:44 – Dwight Howard fails to convert in the post, again, but Varejao bails him out. We’re about to find out what size jock Howard wears.

1:43 – He misses the first. We’re down to a Medium.

1:43 – Marv tells us that Howard’s secret to making his free throws in Game 3 involved humming songs to himself. And we’re down to a Medium/Small.

1:43 – Howard makes the second. Medium/Small it is.

1:24 – Lebron dishes to Delonte West, who drives and scores right in Howard’s face. Can we start calling him Medium/Small permanently? Is that possible?

0:15 left – Cavs ahead 98-97. Lebron with the ball and the chance to lock up a win. Annnnnd he tosses up a fadeaway 3 which clangs off the rim and bounces right to the Magic. Ugly. Why does Lebron think he’s a jump-shooter? He’s 6′ 8″, 250 pounds and can score at will down low. It makes no sense to take a 3 there. It actually upsets me. It’s like Lebron grew up watching first MJ and then Kobe bury jumpers and has decided that, to be the best, he has to take outside shots. And it doesn’t help when he makes a last-second prayer of a three in Game 2 and everyone worships him for it.

06.4 – Magic ball. Rashard Lewis elevates and buries a three. That is what a good outside shot looks like, Lebron. That right there.

Another Kobe-Lebron commercial from Vitamin Water. Right now, the super-hyped Kobe vs. Lebron debate looks like this: Kobe 3, Lebron 0. It’s that simple.

04.1 – Lebron drives the lane and gets fouled! I can’t believe it. I was 100% positive he was taking an awkward 3 there. Two HUGE free throws coming up. Speaking of athletic supporters….

00.5 – He makes the first. One more for the XL jock.

00.5 – And the second limps in with help from the Basketball Gods. Whoa. It’s looking like overtime, but we were about one inch away from the “Lebron James as NBA Hero Bandwagon” careening off the road, hitting a tree, and rolling over leaving no survivors.

00.0 – The Magic inbound the ball with a toss in the general direction of Howard under the basket. Lots of contact between him and Varejao but the refs swallow the whistle as Howard, Ron Van Gundy and the entire Orlando arena screams for a foul. It was close, but kudos to the refs for letting the players decide the game. (And to David Stern for his timely phone call).

And there’s the “Steal by Bird, underhands to DJ, he lays it in!” NBA commercial. I need to take a cold shower.

5:00 OT – Here we go. I knew this running diary was a must. I’m currently 2-2 on fourth quarter running diaries going into overtime.

4:34 OT – Daniel Gibson adds the first OT points for the Cavs with two free throws.

4:14 OT – A thunderous dunk by Howard over Varejao. That was weird.

3:54 OT – Lebron throws the ball away. Seriously Lebron, it’s time to step up. Past time, actually.

3:41 OT – Another huge two-hander from Howard. What game am I watching? Where am I?

3:05 OT – There’s a 3 from Lebron. Yeah, he made it and he’ll be applauded for it, but there was no need to take that shot.

2:30 OT – Lebron throws the ball away. 7 turnovers in the game for King James with 5 of them coming in the fourth quarter and overtime. I’ll hold my tongue.

2:28 OT – Varejao fouls out trying to make up for Lebron’s error. Uh oh.

2:07 OT – Pietrus with a giant 3 for the Magic. Huge momentum swing as the Magic go up by 4 with under two minutes to go in OT.

1:40 OT – And there’s an air-ball from Lebron as he heaves up another ill-advised three. Hey 23, no one makes fadeaway three’s on tired legs in overtime. Stop forcing it.

1:30 OT – Lebron pulls down a rebound and promptly tosses an unnecessary 2-line pass directly into the hands of the Magic. Another turnover – 8 for the game. This is one of the worst crunch-time performances by a big-time player I’ve seen in awhile. It’s a little depressing.

39.3 OT – Lebron, still battling, drives and gets to the line. You have to give him credit – the kid won’t quit. It just shows you how much confidence he has in himself and I respect the hell out of that. Gut check time here.

39.3 OT – Lebron calmly makes both free throws. Those were really, really big shots. Maybe I spoke too soon.

21.0 OT – Big Ben Wallace appears out of thin air to replace the departed Varejao and promptly puts a good foul on Howard. Shockingly Howard makes both free throws while I was warming up my next jock strap joke. We might have to upgrade him back up to Medium.

16.5 OT – Lebron has now shifted into one-on-one mode. He drives the lane looking for a layup or a foul, but Howard meets him with the muscle. It’s a clean block but the call is “jump ball.” Yes Commissioner Stern, I understand. We’ll do everything we can.

07.4 OT – Lebron with ANOTHER TERRIBLE THREE. He tried everything he could to draw a foul but even Stern couldn’t bail him out on that one. What a desperation move.

06.4OT – Zydrunas Ilgauskas gets fouled and makes both free throws. We’re about to enter the NBA’s patented “15-minute Long Final Five Seconds.” No one enjoys the “15-Minute Long Final Five Seconds.”

04.1 OT – Lebron for three……YES! Good god. He was almost out of bounds. Great shot, but I’m convinced that it would be better for his game in the long run if he didn’t make shots like that.

03.2 OT – Magic up by 2, 116-114, and the Cavs are going to need a miracle here. Let me take a wild guess – quick inbounds pass to Lebron followed by an off-balance last-second prayer.

00.0 OT – When you’re right you’re right. Quick inbounds pass to Lebron followed by an off-balance last-second prayer. No Game 2 deja vu here tonight, as the shot looks okay in the air but ultimately doesn’t fall. “Didn’t you think that was going to go in?” Doug asks Marv. “Yes,” he replies. But Doug’s not finished: “You just expect those shots to go in.” No, Doug. I don’t expect miracle three’s hoisted by a poor jump shooter to go in. Why would I expect that? If I had never watched a basketball game in my life, I still wouldn’t expect that. Why is Doug’s mic even on?

Final: 116 Magic – 114 Cavaliers. And Orlando leads the series 3 games to 1 “over the team that went 66-16 during the regular season,” Marv reminds me. Wow.

If you’re a Cavs fan, if you’re an NBA fan, or if you’re a Lebron James fan you have to be disappointed right now. The media had all but slipped the ring onto Lebron’s finger before the start of this series and now the basketball wunderkind is staring at a 3-1 deficit and three consecutive must-win games. It’s not a good spot for a 24 year old global icon to be in, that’s for sure. And it’s not as if his team is letting him down. That game was Lebron’s to win or lose, and he lost it. He took over, took the game into his hands, and he couldn’t pull it off. Maybe he just had an off night, but Lebron looked a whole lot like a kid trying desperately to live up to his own hype. 

Lebron finished the night with 44 points. Every time the MVP has scored over 40 in this series, the Cavs have lost. Dwight Howard, on the other hand, only scored 27 but 10 of them came in overtime to seal the win for his Orlando Magic. Is it out of line to say that the next however-many games will play a large part in defining the future of Lebron James? If his Cavs can pull off the miracle comeback with him leading the way, then Lebron will waltz into the second stage of his career as a confident closer. Even if they force a Game 7 and lose a hard-fought contest, he can still point to that as an accomplishment. But if the heavily-favored Cavs lose to the Magic in six games or – heaven forbid – five, then Lebron goes into next season as the savior who couldn’t quite live up to the hype, or at least hasn’t yet. If King James wants to wear the NBA crown, he’s going to have to come out and play like a champion for the next three games.

But after tonight, the only throne he deserves to sit on is porcelain.

And You Thought I Liked The Hawks Already….

In Uncategorized on May 26, 2009 at 12:54 pm
MJ doesn't wave his own arms.

MJ doesn't have to wave his own arms.

Apparently Michael Jordan showed up at Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals sporting a personalized #23 Blackhawks jersey.

In related news, I just grabbed the wheel of the Blackhawks Bandwagon and am driving it 15o miles per hour down the highway.

I mean, are you kidding me? MJ, with a Blackhawks #23 jersey on, waving to the crowd at the game? And I’m supposed to somehow handle this like a normal person?

Oh, and – no surprise here – the Hawks won the game 4-3, in overtime.

Of course they did.

Shockingly Jordan did not score the winning goal.

Are We Going to See A Melo-Howard Finals? Nope.

In Uncategorized on May 26, 2009 at 12:00 pm
David Stern does not want this.

David Stern does not want this.

With the Orlando Magic and Denver Nuggets putting up a legitimate fight against the Cleveland Lebrons and Los Angeles Kobes, everyone following these respective series has one terrifying thing on their mind: Are we really going to be cheated out of a Lebron-Kobe Finals matchup by a Nuggets-Magic series?

Seriously?

No one wants this. Not me, not you, and definitely not NBA Comissioner David Stern. You just know Stern is hoping – praying – for a Cavs-Lakers finals, and Stern usually gets what he wants. Though he has softened in recent years, Stern has a longstanding reputation as an intimidating NBA boss. It is widely thought that he holds some serious sway over NBA officiating crews and can, with a couple quick calls, tweak a series to his liking. And sure, Carmelo Anthony is currently in the midst of a breakout performance and the league and media are peddling uber-soft Dwight Howard as a star, but let’s be serious: what everyone – and I mean everyone, excluding only the families of Nuggets and Magic players – wants to see is Lebron and Kobe squaring off in the Finals. Just like last year, when everyone wanted to see a throwback Celtics-Lakers series, and that’s exactly what we got. 

So that is why I am guaranteeing, Mo Williams style, that we’ll see Lebron and Kobe in the Finals. Look for some suspect officiating in the next couple games, with the big names getting all the big calls, and don’t be surprised if these two series take a quick and sudden pendulum swing back in the Superstars’ favor. 

After all, it’s what Nike wants and – regardless of everybody else – Nike always gets what it wants. 

Does Lebron James Read Game 6?

In Uncategorized on May 23, 2009 at 3:09 pm

Um, remember when I said that Lebron James’ career was severely lacking in magical moments? Well, last night he went ahead and took a big dump on that idea. It was almost as if he read my MJ post and it pissed him off, so he decided to bury what Bill Simmons called one of the “Top-12 greatest shots ever.” Right in my face. Hell, I thought I was in the clear after Game 1 when James had 49 points but couldn’t close it out in the end, somehow failing to even take the final shot. I was feeling good. But then he had to go out and do that last night. And with a jump shot – a freakin’ 3-pointer!

Okay Lebron, I get it. I read you loud and clear: You’re for real. Call off the dogs. 

(It is a shame though that on your big night you were still overshadowed by Marv Albert’s stellar performance, but now I’m just splitting hairs).

Jake Peavy Says “No Thanks” To Trade

In Uncategorized on May 22, 2009 at 1:19 pm

 

Jake Peavy staying put

Jake Peavy staying put

San Diego Padres ace Jake Peavy isn’t going anywhere. 

The pitcher chose Thursday to reject a proposed trade to the Chicago White Sox after both teams had agreed on a deal. Peavy has always maintained that he wants to pitch in the (easier) National League and saw no reason to waive his no-trade clause to head to a worse team than the one he’s already on.

“As of right now, this is the best place for us to be,” said Peavy of his decision. “I don’t want to be any kind of distraction to the team.”

Well, sorry Jake, because by refusing a trade you’re now a bigger distraction than ever before. A baseball player should not, under any circumstances, be able to reject a trade. It creates a ridiculous situation and it causes – yes, Jake – distractions for everyone involved. 

Now don’t get me wrong, I like Jake Peavy and I love San Diego. What 28 year old major league ballplayer in his right mind would ever accept a trade out of San Diego if he didn’t have to? I mean, it’s San Diego. 75 degrees and sunny every day. Beautiful beaches and beautiful people everywhere. Who would ever want to leave that? If I were Peavy, I’d stay put at least until they start a franchise in Hawaii. 

No, I don’t blame Jake Peavy – I blame Major League Baseball for allowing the inane no-trade clause to exist. It fundamentally makes no sense. No player should be bigger than his team, his front office, and his general manager. Is there a bigger obstacle to a team’s success than the no-trade clause? I say no. It handcuffs a GM beyond belief. How is Padres GM Kevin Towers supposed to improve his small-market team when his biggest and most expensive trade chip can reject any trade he wants? How is that good for the game? A baseball GM should be able to do whatever he needs to do in order to make his team better. No one guy should be untradeable. Hell, in the NFL if you’re tired of a player you can just cut him! No strings attached – it’s beautiful. Towers’ job – his occupation – is making sure the Padres are the best team they can be. I’m sure he put in a lot of time on the phones in order to get a trade lined up for his expensive star. Then he takes it to Peavy, hoping for the best, and Peavy shakes his head. “Nah, I’m good. Thanks though.” Are you kidding me?

You hear all the time nowadays that baseball is a business. A guy signs a free agent contract with his former team’s hated rival – Sorry guys, baseball’s a business. A big name star holds out for a better contract – I really do love the game, it’s just that baseball is a business. Okay, I think I get it. So, if baseball is a business, then why can any player with a no-trade clause reject a general manager’s business decision? It’s asinine. And yes, I understand that it was a business decision to a grant a player a contractually obligated no-trade clause in the first place. But that is beside the point, because often times small-market teams face immense pressure to hand out no-trade clauses in order to lock up their big stars, thereby assuring the player that they are serious about keeping him. It’s a trust thing, a small-money GM’s way of saying “we want you here,” because otherwise, many players would merely bolt for greener ($$) pastures.

But trust shouldn’t be an issue in the modern business of baseball! Aren’t we past the good old days of sealing a deal with a handshake and a promise? What is this, the Boy Scouts? Baseball has long been infiltrated by dirty money, by agents like Scott Boras who will simply sell players to the highest bidder, and by stars who have no loyalty to the teams that made them famous. It’s a business and in business the coldest, most ruthless bastards usually win. In order to succeed, you’ve got to make the hard choices and the tough decisions, and sometimes that involves trading a superstar player, the face of your franchise, to secure assets for the future.

That’s all Kevin Towers was trying to do when he set up a deal for Jake Peavy. He was simply trying to make his team better – it was nothing personal. But by rejecting the deal, Peavy made it personal. There’s no way a star player heads back to the team that just tried to trade him with no hard feelings. It goes against human nature. I’m sure Peavy’s pissed and maybe he has a right to be. But what he shouldn’t have a right to do is reject the trade. By doing so, Peavy did exactly what he claims he never wanted to do – he became a distraction. And now, for the rest of his tenure in SD, Peavy will never be more than the big star who refused to leave. If the no-trade clause didn’t exist, none of this would ever have happened. 

So get rid of the no-trade clause, Commissioner Selig – it’s detrimental, it makes no sense, and really, it’s nothing more than a distraction.

Brian Kenny Bullies “Lunch Money” Mayweather

In Uncategorized on May 21, 2009 at 3:08 pm

From this day forward, Pretty Boy Floyd Mayweather should be known as Lunch Money Mayweather because that is exactly what Brian Kenny took from him yesterday during this ESPN interview.

Not only did Kenny take Mayweather’s lunch money, he took Floyd’s dignity, his pride, and his big ego and flushed each one down the toilet. Instead of lobbing Mayweather softballs and letting the former retiree crush them out of the park, Kenny actually did his job and asked Mayweather hard questions – like why his first bout back isn’t against Shane Mosley, who is actually in the same weight class – and Mayweather stumbled and mumbled and fell back on insults when he couldn’t summon any sensible answers. It was a brilliant interview, one that finally revealed the elephant in the room when it comes to Mayweather’s “undefeated” career: 

He’s a ducker.

Mayweather is a spot-picker and a fight dodger. Always has been. When you look at the list of guys he’s made his name beating – Arturo Gatti, Zab Judah, Oscar De La Hoya – at first you think, Wow, those are big names – Mayweather must be really good. But then, after a little research you realize that Mayweather fought all of them after their primes, after their skills had eroded but their famous names had not. It’s a genius strategy, really, perfectly executed by a guy who’s not nearly as dumb as he looks.

Not as dumb, but also not as good. 

Duck!

Duck!

Don’t get me wrong, there’s no dismissing the fact that Mayweather is a great boxer. He has a career record of 39-0 and that doesn’t happen without some serious talent. But the key to being great at something isn’t to not lose to anybody – the key to being great is to beat everybody. It doesn’t matter if a guy goes undefeated – to be the best he must make sure that everyone else is defeated – with his name under the check in their Loss Column. To be the best, you have to beat the best. And that is something that Mayweather simply hasn’t done. He hasn’t beaten every great fighter of his era – at least not in their respective primes – and that is a fact that cannot be ignored.

And normally, this wouldn’t be an issue. Mayweather could call it a career and retire with a pristine record and a good reputation. But it became an issue because Mayweather made it one. He wants to be in the Greatest of All Time discussion. He wants people to talk of him when they mention the all-time boxing greats – he wants to be considered the best ever. To listen to him talk, you’d think he already is. But he’s not. Until Mayweather fights the best fighters at their best, he can’t lay claim to any historic label. 

Brian Kenny knows this – he has known it for a long time. He’s labeled Mayweather a ducker before, and Mayweather responded – beating both guys that Kenny named. But this time Kenny wasn’t naming just any fighter. Halfway through the interview he dropped the bombshell name that’s on everybody’s mind:

Manny Pacquiao. The pound-for-pound best fighter in the world and the guy who many think has marched squarely into the void Mayweather left when he retired. 

Pacman

Pacman

Pacquiao, coming off his absolute destruction of Ricky Hatton, is the boxer currently standing in the spotlight. His record isn’t as clean as Mayweather’s – with 3 losses and 2 draws – but those decisions came when he was fighting, as Kenny mentions, at a weight of around 1oo-110 pounds. He’s now at 140, lightning fast and a great counterpuncher. He’s no runner, like Mayweather, content to dance around the ring and outlast the other guy. Like we saw in the Hatton match, Pacquiao steps in the ring looking for a fight and when the bell rings, he comes out flying. Prior to his fight with Hatton, I didn’t know much about Pacquiao – I thought he looked like a little guy with a lot of quickness, but I had no idea what kind of power he has stuffed inside his gloves. You don’t expect to see a brutal second round KO in a light welterweight fight – I was ready for a drawn out bout, and even had Hatton pegged for an underdog win – but then, BOOM. That all went up in smoke as Hatton lay stone still on the mat while Pacquiao cemented his pound-for-pound claim. 

Another KO for Pacquiao

Another KO for Pacquiao

Floyd Mayweather can talk all he wants about how he retired an undefeated champion, how he’s “not no former number one pound-for-pound fighter,” but until he fights Pacquiao Mayweather will walk around with a giant Looney-Tunes question mark hanging above his head. After his July tune-up fight with Juan Manuel Marquez – interestingly enough, another 35 year old fighter well past his prime – Floyd Mayweather Jr. simply has to take on Manny Pacquiao or risk embarassing himself and his legacy. Why he didn’t just come out and tell Kenny that he would fight Paquiao any time, any place, I have no idea. He talked about every other thing. But just as he has his whole career in the face of a challenge, Mayweather ducked and dodged as soon as Pacquiao’s name was mentioned. “What about Manny Pacquiao?” asked Kenny. Mayweather hemmed and hawed: Well, you know, me and Bob [boxing promoted Bob Arum who works with Pacquiao] have a problem, we have an issue, so that’s gonna be hard to make. I’m almost suprised he didn’t physically duck while he was answering the question.

So the cycle continues. 

“No one has dethroned me, so how am I not pound-for-pound the best fighter in the world?” Mayweather asked at the beginning of the interview. “You tell me,” he said. 

And then Kenny told him – “Because you retired,” he said. 

But he didn’t listen apparently, so I’ll tell him again:

You’re not the best anymore because you quit, Floyd, that’s why. Now Manny Pacquiao is the greatest pound-for-pound fighter in the world and he deserves a shot at you. For once in your career, Floyd, instead of running from the ring why don’t you man up and let the world’s boxing fans decide for themselves who is the best . And if you beat Pacquiao, great. You can go back on tv with Brian Kenny and silence him once and for all. But if you lose – well then, you’re just going to have to stop talking. 

If Pacquiao want it, he can get it, says Floyd Mayweather Jr at the end of the interview

So prove it Lunch Money. Let’s see what you got.