Floyd Mayweather is undoubtedly the most famous active boxer in the world today. A lot of non-boxing fans know him more for his lavish and expensive lifestyle than his mastery of the sweet science which is something of complete artistry. People recognize him as the man who carries around a million dollars at all times. The man who buys a new car every month and rarely drives them. The man who just made a $25K mouthpiece made of $100 bills and diamonds. True boxing fans recognize him as one of the greatest defensive fighters of all-time. As a man who has a giant 0 in his loss column. And a man who has become the greatest fighter of our generation.
Other great fighters of our time (Hatton, Corrales, Gatti, Ortiz) have been knocked out by the man who refers to himself as “TBE”, The Best Ever. Other future Hall of Famers (Canelo, Mosley, Marquez, De La Hoya, Cotto) have simply been made to look stupid and get dominated in decision victories.
For a man that is accused of hand-picking weak opponents, Mayweather has fought a lot of great fighters. He has fought in arguably the most competitive weight class, and when he notices a fighter that is considered a challenge at a higher weight class, Mayweather fights them at a higher weight instead of making them come down. He has dominated opponents in every weight class that he could reasonably be expected to fight in (form super featherweight to light middleweight). He has faced 15 opponents that either are or will one day be in the Boxing Hall of Fame. Quite a lot of stiff competition, better than any other current fighter has faced in the last 10 years.
And in those last 10 years, many boxing analysts have had the same high opinion of Mayweather that he has of himself. He has been ranked as the #1 Pound for Pound boxer in the world in 9 of the last 10 years. The 1 year he wasn’t granted the honor of best P4P fighter, 2008, he was at his lavish Las Vegas house enjoying his year-long “retirement”, and even then it was assumed that he could probably come off his couch and beat most fighters without training.
And yet, without a single loss over a 19 year career of facing legitimate boxers and winning 10 world titles in 5 divisions, he still will be judged on something that won’t happen until his 48th fight.
Today, May 2nd 2015, Floyd Mayweather clashes with the boxer who is closest to him in terms of greatness over the past 15 years, Manny Pacquiao. Many say that it is a fight that should have happened 5 years ago, but it might be for the best that it didn’t.
There is little doubt that in the last 15 years boxing is a sport whose worth is diminishing in the US. With the rise of MMA in America and the lack of truly great heavyweights save the Klitchkos, boxing’s rating numbers have fallen dramatically since the days of Louis, Ali, and even Tyson. But Mayweather has given the sport enough attractiveness to watch in these dire times to keep even those not interested in boxing a reason to watch.
People pay the PPV rate to watch a fight with Floyd Mayweather. He’s the best salesman the sport has ever seen. Die-hard boxing fans tune in to watch him slip, roll, and counter better than any fighter since Pernell Whitaker. Casual boxing fans watch in hopes to see the first loss of a man who considers himself unbeatable. Even non-boxing enthusiasts tune in to see the man who calls himself “Money” to see the cockiest fighter in sports get knocked out. And yet Mayweather still holds the most important 0 in sports, the one under his loss column.
Mayweather’s greatness in the ring is only rivaled by his expensive flash and confidence that have helped make millions see him as the villain of boxing. Little do they understand that it’s that flash and arrogance that has helped save the sport of boxing.
As Floyd Mayweather Jr. presumably ends his career after his showtime contract is up at the end of the year, he will watch boxing’s next generation of fighters come up and try and keep revive the sport. Mayweather carried the sport of boxing on his back for the last 10 years while the newest crop of up and coming superstar boxers (Canelo Alverez , Andre Ward , Marcos Maidana , Timothy Bradley Jr. , and Gennady Golovkin ) matured and gained relevance.
And even though Mayweather has done as much in the ring with his 47 wins without a loss as he has done for the sport outside of the ring, many will judge his entire career based on the outcome of this single fight with a man who has already lost 5 times.
Mayweather’s comments on what is considered yet another “fight of the century”? “Once I stomp the midget I’ll make that motherf- -ker make me a sushi roll and cook me some rice.” Well if indeed Mayweather does this to the very highly thought of Manny “Pac-man” Pacquiao, then there shouldn’t be any doubt that boxing’s most important fighter is also the greatest the sport has seen in quite some time.
I guess we will have our answer around 9pm tonight.