Another Controversial Decision

Gnarled knuckles. Mangled fingers.

Lame handshakes. Sore and swollen

wrists. They are the signatures of

battle commonly found on the hands of

boxers and Floyd Mayweather knows the

pain all too well. Mayweather, a fast

and explosive boxer dances and

pounces at the boxing ring better

than most top caliber fighters in the

ring. As the owner of the Junior

Welterweight title, Mayweather has

most pundits calling him, pound for

pound, 2005’s best boxer.

Born on February 24, 1977, in Grand

Rapids, Michigan, Floyd Jr. has

boxing in his blood. His father,

Floyd Sr., fought Sugar Ray Leonard

in the late ’70s, while his uncle

Roger was a Junior Lightweight and

Super Lightweight champion. It was no

surprise then, that Floyd Jr. showed

an aptitude for boxing from a very

young age.

When he had received enough training

from his dad and uncle, Floyd entered

the world of amateur boxing as an

adolescent. Fighting at 126 pounds,

Mayweather put together an amazing

84-6 record as an amateur, winning

Golden Gloves championships in 1993,

1994, and 1996. Mayweather made the

Olympic team in 1996 and at the

Atlanta Olympics, he beat boxers from

Kazakhstan, Armenia and Cuba before

falling to a Bulgarian in a highly

controversial semi-final bout.

Mayweather had to settle for the

bronze medal.

Last December 9, Mayweather Jr.

defeated Great Britain’s Ricky Hatton

in the 10th round of their World

Boxing Council welterweight title

fight in Las Vegas.

During pre-bout interviews,

Mayweather has repeatedly denied that

his hands might cause him a problem.

Hatton himself is concerned that

Mayweather may use his hands as an

excuse if he loses his title.

However, his camp agreed that the

priority was to prevent the American

from any illegal advantage using the

controversial pain relief medication.

The Hattons maintained their focus on

this issue at another prebout meeting

when they wanted to ensure that

Mayweather would not be able to

protect his hands with an unfair use

of tape and lidocaine.

However, the Mayweathers are unhappy

that lidocaine has been specifically

identified as a drug that cannot be

used. Lidocaine is a local anesthetic

(numbing medication). It produces

pain relief by blocking the signals

at the nerve endings in the skin.

Lidocaine topical systems are used

for pain relief and for managing

discomfort associated with herpes

zoster virus infection of the skin

(shingles).

Mayweather’s hand problems have been

long documented but they resurfaced

in an edition of a television

documentary that showed the boxer

having a wax paraffin treatment and

quietly acknowledging the issue.

However, with all the controversy and

trash talks that surrounded their

title bout, Mayweather still managed

to beat his opponent.

Fight veterans such as Mayweather and

Hatton, have struggled over the years

to keep their hands healthy, a

problem that is shared by many

boxers. Some of those fighters are

resorting to expensive pain relief

drugs and, if necessary, undergo an

intricate surgical procedure to

restore the strength of their hands.

While the boxers try to explore all

options to remove pain from their

bread-winning hands and knuckles,

boxing officials are still in hot

debate about whether existing rules

should be changed regarding the use

of anesthetics in a sport that has

been hounded by drug and steroid

scandals for many years.