India's star boxer Vijender Singh is known to punch above his weight and has always put his money where his mouth is. Before the Beijing Olympics, he had promised a good show, and delivered India's first and till date only Olympic (bronze) medal in boxing. Then, he announced his intention of becoming World No 1 in the Middleweight (75 kg) category and achieved that too.
Floyd Mayweather Jr reacts after his win over Manny Pacquiao at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas yesterday. PIC/AFP
The Asian Games gold was also on his wishlist, and the Bhiwani Boxing Club prodigy overcame a broken finger to punch his way to that too at Guangzhou 2010. So now when the posterboy of Indian boxing says that he can take on newly-crowned WBA, WBC and WBO welterweight world champion Floyd Mayweather, one can't help but sit up and take notice.
Long shot, but...
The fight is an obvious long-shot given Vijender hasn't even turned Pro yet, but the Indian pugilist's confidence in the run-up to the Rio Olympics is noteworthy. Vijender, however, maintains he's serious about his Mayweather match-up. "If given an opportunity I would love to fight Floyd Mayweather. He's a brilliant fighter, but I don't think I'll do too badly against him. He fights in a lower category (69 kg) while mine is the 75 kg division, so I just have to shed a few kilos and I'll be ready. I'll probably put up a better fight to Mayweather (than Manny)," Vijender told mid-day over the phone moments after Mayweather beat Manny Pacquiao by unanimous decision in the 'Fight of the Century' at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas yesterday.
Vijender (five foot, nine inches) is taller than Mayweather (five foot, six inches), but admitted that the American is a big puncher as he went on to analyse yesterday's pound-for-pound battle.
"I always knew that Mayweather would beat Pacquiao. Reach is one of the most important aspects in boxing and Mayweather enjoyed a much better reach than Pacquiao (five foot, five inches). Mayweather is a much bigger puncher too, while Pacquiao relies on his quick combinations," said Vijender, who hardly slept the previous night in anticipation of the much-publicised fight that was aired at 9:30 am (India time) yesterday.
A picture boxer Vijender Singh tweeted of him watching the Mayweather vs Pacquiao bout at his Gurgaon home yesterdayA picture boxer Vijender Singh tweeted of him watching the Mayweather vs Pacquiao bout at his Gurgaon home yesterday
"Both boxers looked extremely confident as they stepped into the ring and took the first couple of rounds to get a measure of each other. Mayweather has an awesome defence and Pacquiao tried time and again to breach it but couldn't. In Rounds Three, Four and Five, Pacquiao tried to get his combinations going, but Mayweather simply let him come closer and unleashed a couple of power-packed punches. This set the tone of the fight. Mayweather kept his defence up, inviting Pacquiao and subsequently tore him apart with his counter punches. Pacquiao also landed a few blows but Mayweather had more hits which were a lot heavier too. In fact, at one stage, Mayweather can be actually seen provoking Pacquiao to come hard at him and when he did, he sidestepped him and landed a cruel blow proving he's easily one of the best boxers of this generation. I remain a huge fan of Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson, but after yesterday, Mayweather has also joined my list of all time great boxers," Vijender signed off.