Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Gregorio Vargas

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2000-03-18 : Floyd Mayweather Jr 130 lbs beat Gregorio Vargas 130 lbs by UD in round 12 of 12

  • World Boxing Council Super Featherweight Title (5th defense by Mayweather)
  • Mayweather's purse: $750,000

It's a Successful but Unimpressive Mayweather Win
By Steve Springer, Los Angeles Times, March 19, 2000

LAS VEGAS — Better sign that HBO contract real quick, Floyd.

At 23, Floyd Mayweather Jr. has the talent to be a dominant fighter and the showmanship to be a crowd pleaser. But he's not as good as he thinks he is.

Not yet.

Certainly not good enough to have turned down a six-fight, $12.75-million contract offer from HBO which did not include a bonus for pay-per-view revenue.

That was evident Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena where Mayweather (23-0, 17 knockouts) defended his World Boxing Council super-featherweight title by winning a unanimous decision over Goyo Vargas (40-7-1, 28 knockouts) of Mexico City.

Mayweather knocked Vargas down with a left to the body in the sixth round and won easily on all three judges' scorecards. John Keane and Daniel Van de Wiele both scored it 119-108 while Chuck Giampa had it 118-109.

The problem was not the end, but the means. Mayweather was unable to put Vargas away, being content to cruise along on his superior speed and footwork, happy to just hit and run.

"I went into the fight with both my [right] hand and wrist hurting," Mayweather said, "but I don't want to make excuses. I moved around more than usual because I didn't want to get hit. I was fighting with one hand."

Vargas wasn't buying that excuse.

"He has a lack of courage," Vargas said.

Mayweather also had another excuse. He hadn't fought for six months because of the turmoil in his corner where his father, Floyd, Sr., remains the trainer, but has been replaced as manager by rap music producer James Prince. With Prince in charge of negotiations, the younger Mayweather's current contract with HBO ran out with Saturday's fight.

"The long layoff affected me," Mayweather said. "It affected my defense. I was hit too much. I want to fight in a month or a month and half. Six months is too much."

Yet despite his claims of injury and rust, Mayweather still found the time to talk to the ringside broadcasters. At one point, he told trainer Emanuel Steward that he felt fine.

On another occasion, when HBO's Jim Lampley told his audience that Mayweather had switched to a southpaw style for the second time, Mayweather leaned over to inform Lampley that it was the third time.

Cute stuff, but not enough to keep the crowd from booing Mayweather for the lack of action.

Whatever the reason for Saturday's performance, it exacerbated the difficulties with Mayweather's image and appeal.

He has thus far failed to become a draw worthy of big bucks. Saturday night's crowd was only 5,123 and of that total, 1,500 tickets were given away. [1]