May Weather in June and September
A few weeks back, sick of being teased by sunny days bracketed by entire weeks of rain I posted the following plea to my twitter feed:
"Waiting for the return of May weather. The climate or the fighter. I'm not picky."
For everybody who re-tweeted in agreement, it looks like we're getting both.
Tuesday afternoon Mayweather announced via his own Twitter account that on Sept. 17 he would challenge Victor Ortiz for the WBC welterweight belt.
And neither should you.
Any time the biggest name in the fight game steps into the ring it's good for the Sweet Science and for sports overall.
Of course, when Mayweather first tweeted about the Ortiz fight he prompted a backlash both immediate and predictable.
"Your fans aren't waiting for this fight."
"Why aren't you fighting Manny?"
"Floyd knows he can't beat Pacquiao."
Understandable given the Pacquiao-Mayweather dance that has droned on for nearly two years.
But that doesn't make any of the anti-Mayweather reaction logical.
The people bashing Mayweather for his choice in opponents need to remember that Pacquiao was never an option for a September bout, not with the reigning pound-for-pound king already signed to fight Juan Manuel Marquez in November.
Demanding Mayweather face Pacquiao next means asking Pacquiao to compromise his November showdown with Marquez, or asking that Mayweather remain on the sidelines until spring 2012 and face the world's top fighter after a two-year layoff.
Neither scenario makes sense and if you're honest with yourself you'll recognize that, no matter how much you might dislike Mayweather.
And whether you like or abhor him you realize Mayweather boxing is infinitely more appealing than Mayweather not boxing.
But Mayweather boxing is the biggest draw in the sport.
The people ripping Mayweather for choosing Ortiz might disagree with that point, but they also prove it.
To argue that Mayweather should fight Pacquiao this fall mean you're not fully aware of Pacquiao's schedule but you're fully aware of Mayweather's because you're criticizing it. So even if Mayweather doesn't engender more love than Pacquiao does among sports fans, he still garners more attention -- when he decides to fight.
And understand the September showdown with Ortiz is a legitimate fight.
Is Ortiz supposed to beat Mayweather, or even raise a few lumps on the face so pretty it lent Mayweather his first nickname?
Of course not.
But he is a world champion who answered nagging questions about his heart by rising from the canvas to vanquish the previously undefeated Andre Berto in April, and who in signing on for the biggest payday of his career figures to enter the ring hungry to knock off a future Hall-of-Famer.
And the fact that he functions as a high-level tuneup bout for Mayweather says more about Mayweather's skill level and profile than about his alleged lack of courage.
This doesn't necessarily mean Mayweather wins in a walkover, but he and his team are banking that the gap in skills between him and the rest of the welterweight division remains too wide for even the WBC champ to close.
And it means that Mayweather, whom I had considered semi-retired until Tuesday, is once again an active fighter, which in turn means a spring 2012 mega-match with Pacquiao is possible.
It'll come two years too late, but if it happens will you complain?
I didn't think so.