Saturday, December 3, 2022

Someone Help Me Out: Mayweather Beat GSP & Pacquiao For 2010 ESPY?

By MATT BOONE
MMANEWS.COM Staff Writer

Wait a second. Someone has to help me out here. Did Floyd Mayweather really take home the ESPY for “Best Fighter” after the award ceremony on ESPN this past Wednesday night? I'm not sure which is more offensive: the “decision-makers” behind the ESPY winners for selecting Mayweather as best fighter, or Mayweather for having the gull to accept the award and actually go home with it as if he legitimately earned it.

After clearing up some confusion I had in my 2010 ESPY Awards recap article earlier today, I have become confused about something completely different. In the article, I pondered whether or not fights Mayweather and Georges St-Pierre had in 2010 counted towards the voting. From a completely speculative standpoint, I assumed they had to, otherwise Mayweather won the award for a lone victory over a man in Juan Manuel Marquez who fought multiple weight classes higher than his fighting weight for the first time in his pro career.

Certainly that doesn't warrant the nod over UFC welterweight champion GSP, who by comparison took out B.J. Penn, a top-five (at the time) pound-for-pound ranked fighter who was also a UFC world champion (also at the time) inside the five-round distance before successfully defending his welterweight title against the division's number one contender in Thiago Alves. A fight, by the way, that St-Pierre won after toughing out multiple rounds with a torn abductor muscle that he suffered during the fight.


But that part is okay. That's the confusion I was able to clear up after digging around the web a bit. Apparently, the ESPYS did take into consideration Mayweather's decision victory over Shane Mosley in May of 2010. They did not, however, mention a peep about St-Pierre's fight two months prior to Mayweather/Mosley, a bout that saw GSP defend his title again against UFC welterweight contender Dan Hardy in March.

By the way, since we are including the first-half of 2010 bouts for each guy, wouldn't that be a detriment to Mayweather as opposed to additional support to back the claim that Mayweather topped GSP and Manny Pacquiao as the best overall fighter of 2009?

Although the nice and tidy label put on the Mayweather-Mosley fight was that Mayweather “won a dominant” decision that night, despite suffering perhaps the worst trouble in the early rounds he's faced in his 41 professional bouts. In addition to that, he dropped four rounds on one judges card, and two on both of the others.

St-Pierre, in his apparent uncredited 2010 performance, secured a unanimous decision victory over top contender Dan Hardy, winning every round on all three judges cards. He even scored two 10-8 rounds one one card and a single 10-8 round on a second judges card.


The moral of the story so far is – how did Mayweather beat out GSP for the “best fighter” award at the 2010 ESPYS? But there's still one more question that needs answered. Say he did out-shine GSP in 2009. He didn't, but for the sake of a point I intend to make here in just a moment, let's say he did. He was a better fighter than Manny Pacquiao in '09? C'mon now.

Pacman's 2009 saw the Filipino native rack up two huge wins over then-highly ranked pound-for-pound pugilists Miguel Cotto and Ricky Hatton, both of whom went into the fight with a single loss a piece, and a world title to their credit. Both left the building that night the victim of a Pacquiao stoppage inside the distance. In the case of Hatton, the United Kingdom's favorite son couldn't find it in him to complete two full rounds with Pacman, ending the contest flat on his back fully unconscious. Cotto simply took a beating for 12 rounds before ultimately being forced to have his night cut short just shy of the distance due to a relentless assault from Pacquiao. The two wins in title fights landed Pacquiao a spot in the history books as he became the first boxer to win world titles in seven seperate weight classes.

If we're including Pacman's 2010 performance, a unanimous decision victory over Joshua Clottey, which the ESPY nominee listing did cover, that's when you can nit-pick and find some negative things to mention, as Pacman was less than his usual self in dealing with the awkward style of the Accra, Ghana-born fighter back in March.


ESPN changed the name of the ESPY award covered in this piece in 2007 from “best boxer” to “best fighter”, recognizing MMA's popularity taking off and their acceptance factor growing within the combat sports media. You could look at a breakdown of past nominees for this very category that represented MMA, check their stats out for that given year, and see for yourself that there is an apparent bias against MMA when it comes time to decide who the best fighter on the planet is.

Last year “best fighter” MMA nominees Lyoto Machida and Anderson Silva finished behind ESPY winner Manny Pacquiao. Pacman may have deserved that one, putting together an amazing year with wins over Oscar De La Hoya (TKO, rd. 8), David Diaz (TKO, rd. 9), Juan Manuel Marquez (split decision) and Marco Antonio Barrera (unanimous decision).

In 2007, the debut year of availability for MMA fighters, Randy Couture and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson were nominated, but fell short to this year's winner, Floyd Mayweather.

While we still have a ways to go before the next “best fighter” ESPY is handed out, one would have to assume that a win over Cain Velasquez in October would be enough to push UFC heavyweight kingpin Brock Lesnar over the edge to secure at least a nomination for the coveted annual award. I don't think anyone would complain if MMA champions Jose Aldo, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Jake Shields were in the running as well.


Regardless of which MMA fighters the ESPY crew decides to acknowledge at the 2011 ceremony, you can more than likely put your money on whichever pro boxer is in the running and clean up at the betting windows without worrying even the slightest bit.

Check out our ESPY 2010 MMA-related categories report for more information on what went down involving the UFC at the biggest sports award show of the year.


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