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How will Mayweather deal with adversity?

4/28/2010

Floyd Mayweather Jr. is a remarkable fighter. No one doubts his skills. The one thing that Mayweather hasn't had to do is to rally from adversity.

Yes, he has had fights when things haven't gone quite according to plan. He was under pressure against Zab Judah in the first four rounds, and he hurt his hand against Carlos Hernandez, even touching the canvas with one glove to be given an eight count.

Mayweather, though, has never had to come back from a perilous passage in a fight, one in which there seemed a real chance of him losing.

The greats all had one thing in common: the ability to come back when a fight seemed to be slipping beyond reach. Sugar Ray Robinson survived a heavy knockdown against Artie Levine, and later in his career, there were rough moments in big fights, including the wins over Jake LaMotta.

Muhammad Ali got up to win against Sonny Banks and then when Henry Cooper floored him with a big left hook in London. Later in his career, Ali showed amazing heart to outlast Joe Frazier in Manila.

Archie Moore had the classic fight in Montreal with Yvon Durelle when he was hanging by a thread in the opening round, down three times (two of them official knockdowns) and maybe being one or two punches away from getting knocked out.

Mayweather would have an answer for those who question whether he can overcome calamity. He would tell you that he is in the business of hitting and not getting hit, that it will suit him just fine if he goes through his whole career without ever having to dig down and dredge up victory from deep within, and it is impossible to argue with this line of thinking.

Perhaps we will find out whether Mayweather has the inner substance to win a war when he meets Shane Mosley on Saturday -- or, just maybe, that he is truly so gifted that this question will never be answered. If so, that will be just fine with "Money" Mayweather -- but it will leave the fans always wondering: "What if?"