Mayweather: Victory is not hanging in the corner
By Tim Smith

Some of the most dramatic moments in boxing occur in the corner between fights. And some of the most colorful dialogue occurs between the boxer and the trainer in the corner. More than a few competitive fights are won and lost by the corner.
Who can forget Angelo Dundee screaming at Sugar Ray Leonard, "You're blowing it kid! You're blowing it!'' Teddy Atlas practically standing on the lap of Michael Moorer during the second fight against Evander Holyfield and yelling, "Do you want me to get in there and fight this guy?!''

That is why Floyd Mayweather, Jr. not having his uncle Roger in the gym with him everyday leading up to his fight against Carlos Baldomir or in his corner on the night of the fight is an intriguing and possibly dangerous proposition. We already knew Roger was not going to be in his corner the night of the fight because Roger had been suspended for the remainder of 2006 for his role in the tenth round melee during Floyd's match against Zab Judah back in April.

But we all assumed that Roger Mayweather would be around to put together a strategy and work through it with Floyd in the gym. But Roger was arrested and jailed in Las Vegas on a battery charge last month and hasn't been able to do the day-to-day preparation for the fight. That has been left to Leonard Ellerbee, Floyd's advisor and fitness guru for the last nine years, and Rafael Garcia, who wraps Floyd's hands. They will be the two men in the corner on fight night, whispering instructions to Mayweather.

Floyd believes he doesn't need Roger Mayweather in his corner or to help him layout his strategy for this fight. He never even considered bringing in anyone to work with Ellerbee and Garcia.

"He'd better be careful that his attitude is that it doesn't matter (whose in the corner)," said Atlas. "That could come back to bite him. Floyd believes if a guy is not scintillatingly fast or fleet of foot and isn't a gifted athlete that he doesn't stand a chance against him. That would be a big mistake. This guy (Baldomir) isn't great, but he does a lot of things good. He's steady and dependable.

"He (Floyd) ran into another guy like this in (Jose Luis) Castillo and he gave him all he could handle. This guy is similar to Castillo, but he's much bigger.''

Atlas believes a similar line of thinking hurt Leonard in his second match against Thomas Hearns. Leonard also went into that match with a different trainer.

"I'll give you that they weren't the same fighters as the first time around, but Leonard thought he could go in there and just touch Hearns on the chin and go home,'' Atlas said. "Instead Hearns had told himself that he was going to do everything in his power to make sure that wasn't going to happen. Leonard couldn't make the adjustment. Even though they called the fight a draw, I thought Hearns won.''

Ellerbee said Mayweather is not underestimating Baldomir and though they didn't plan on Roger not being available to them in the gym everyday they have been able to work with the strategy he mapped out before going to jail.

"Floyd has total confidence in his team and his ability to execute the game plan,'' Ellerbee said. "Floyd trains hard no matter who he's fighting. He doesn't take anybody lightly. We're certainly not taking Baldomir lightly.''

Atlas said there are moments in tough fights where things flip upside down and the boxer has to turn to the trainer in the corner and the trainer needs to know which buttons to push to get the boxer to get back on course.

"It's a matter of the shadows that exists in that room,'' Atlas said. "If you don't know that then you can't help a fighter who's in trouble.''

Ellerbee, who will be doing the talking in the corner during the fight with Baldomir, said he has been with Mayweather for nine years and has been an integral part of his boxing preparation throughout. Ellerbee said that Mayweather has never had to deviate from a fight plan in his entire career.

"If there are any adjustments that need to be made, we'll be able to make them,'' Ellerbee said. "This will be Floyd's 15th world title fight. He's not like the other fighters out there. He is an experienced fighter. He understands boxing. Things that other guys are trying to do, Floyd has been doing since he was a kid. Floyd is a winner. He's seen every look you can throw at him. He knows what to expect.''

Ellerbee likens the situation that they're in with Mayweather to what happened with Bernard Hopkins when he dismissed longtime trainer Bouie Fisher and promoted Nasim Richardson. Richardson had been working alongside Fisher with Hopkins for years and Hopkins didn't have a dropoff when he got into the ring against Antonio Tarver.

"We're having a great camp and we've gotten some excellent sparring,'' Ellerbee said. "I've been there the whole time and Rafael has been there the whole time. We're not going to miss a beat. We just can't wait for the fight.''

"The outcome of this fight will be determined by the two fighters and not the corners.''

About November 4: Carlos Baldomir, who despite not having lost a fight in more than

nine years, came out of virtual obscurity last January to register upset victories over Zab

Judah and Arturo Gatti, takes on boxing’s pound-for-pound champion Floyd

Mayweather for Baldomir’s WBC welterweight championship. The Mayweather vs.

Baldomir battle is already generating the excitement of the biggest and most compelling

fight of the year and certainly one not to be missed. The odds in Las Vegas have

drasticially dropped, still in favor of Mayweather, but with Baldomir action coming in

heavy for the upset.

“PRETTY RISKY”— Mayweather vs Baldomir for the WBC Welterweight Championship is being by Goossen Tutor Promotions in association with Sycuan Ringside Promotions airs on Saturday, November 4 at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas and broadcast live on HBO Pay-Per-View.

Rachel Charles
Goossen Tutor Promotions