The Tampa Bay Area isn’t a boxing town, it’s more like every other town in America; it’s a football town. To be more specific it’s more of a college football town. Due to the lack of hype and anticipation for this Per-Per-View there weren’t that many places showing the bout, but I did find a sports bar in Tampa called The Press Box that was advertising showing the fight. I wasn’t sure what to expect when entering The Press Box however there was a very lively and loud atmosphere as soon as I walked in, that was interrupted by a $20 cover, but that’s better than $75. There were many sports fans there watching college football games and to my knowledge I was the only boxing fan on the scene along with a friend that I brought along. We started off the night by playing darts and some pool while enjoying a couple of IPAs. More after the break.
The first fight that I was able to view at The Press Box was the Gonzalez vs. Oquendo match-up that started off very fast with both men trading knockdowns, however it slowed down in the second half as both boxers looked worn from the punishment they had taken over the night and through the years of their boxing career. Oquendo ended up getting the decision. Both men may want to think about hanging up the gloves soon, especially Gonzalez who has been through many wars and many knockdowns, but I guess he’s always one left hook away from being back in contention.
Badou Jack vs. George Groves was up next and that is when we were joined by a couple who were there to support Floyd Mayweather. I could tell by their TMT and TBE hats and shirts. The couple was nice enough that we ended up playing pool and darts with them as well as taking some wagers on some fights via who buys who a round of shots. The Jack vs. Groves fight was entertaining and in my view I witnessed one fighter get progressively better and the other simply get worse. There could be a couple of reasons why Groves didn’t look good that night, which was a close fight, and to give credit to Badou Jack he did seem to take control in the second half of the fight. Groves, since leaving Adam Booth and Carl Froch, doesn’t seem to be the same fighter he was before. I don’t think it’s the end for Groves, but I do believe that he needs to make some changes, as it seems he has gone backwards and hit a wall.
The fight of the night was next. The Orlando Salido vs. Roman Martinez rematch was coming up with the hope that it could match at least some of the action of the first fight. Being on a Mayweather under-card brought these two boxers more exposure, but I had my reservations about this fight-taking place on this under-card as the atmosphere for the first fight was electric. The crowds seemed to finally pile into the arena for the main event, this match up and made it look more exciting for those of us watching on television. To put it simply Orlando Salido should have gotten the decision on this night as he out-worked Martinez from the 5th round on, but he had to settle for a draw. Martinez, like Jesse Vargas, has gotten some benefit of the doubt from the judges in the past. A trilogy looks like it has been set as the rivalry should be at 1-1.
On to the main event of the night. Floyd Mayweather vs. Andre Berto. In all honesty there’s not much to say. Andre Berto didn’t offer up anything more than we thought he would and neither did Mayweather. Mayweather was able to control the distance and the pace of the match up. There was some hope that Mayweather may turn up the offense with an opponent like Berto, but Mayweather was content to out-point Berto to a unanimous decision in a rather uneventful affair. The under-card for this PPV was very good and hopefully more PPV’s follow this format in the future. While there weren’t any fight of the year candidates there were some very competitive and entertaining matches that was a good change from the typical one-sided white-wash that are typical of PPV under-cards. This may have been Floyd Mayweather’s swan song and if it is than as a fan I wish him nothing but the best and hope that he really has saved his money. His PPV events and hype will be missed as it brought more eyes to the sport, his in-ring performances especially as of late won’t be missed as much. Boxing is a sweet science but the only reason men put on gloves and decided to fight one another were for two reasons; money and entertainment. Entertainment has been lacking from his performances for quite a while.