Floyd Mayweather Jr, and the fantastic four
By Tom Drury: From the heading of this article by now you will know I’m going to talk about how Floyd Mayweather Jr. would have fared against four of the best welterweight fighters the world will likely ever see, Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns, Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran.
The article will ask would Mayweather have been a worthwhile addition to that great era of welterweights? Would he have found the success then that he enjoys now? Would his defensive skills and counter-punching ability have prevailed in match-ups against any of the fantastic four? Would his personality and trash talk effected these fighters as it so obviously does fighters of today? Would he have been and stayed undefeated? I know this article is hypothetically speaking and fantasy. However, I believe a good debate and insight into the best welter-weights of the past against the current best welterweight of present.
The five boxers in this article have gave so much to the sport in one way or another; “Sugar” Ray Leonard, one of the most likeable charismatic fighters in boxing history, humble but confident with scintillating fight skills; Thomas “Hitman” Hearns, unorthodox, heart of a lion, no nonsense type fighter; “Marvellous” Marvin Hagler, quiet, recluse character, great heart, great fighter never received the accolades he deserved; Roberto “Hands of stone” Duran, all in fighter, do or die mentality, a great; Floyd “Money” Mayweather, master of the sweet science and what it stands for (hit and don’t get hit), arrogant, brash personality always the showman, the times of the fantastic four made for one of the most exciting periods in boxing history at one stage or another all four were to exchange leather leaving behind a legacy of brutal, classic wars and punch perfect boxing performances.
Mayweather vs. Leonard – What a spectacle this fight would have been. These two personalities together at a press conference would be to say the least entertaining. I expect the entertainment in the ring would have also been quite the show. This is the ultimate dream match-up both fighters possess defensive skills; Mayweather the greater, Leonard possessed the greater offence. Both were arguably pretty even in terms of speed without doubt Leonard would have the higher work rate and punch out put. I give this fight to Mayweather on the basis of his defensive skills and counter-punching ability. Many fighters out-punch Mayweather the problem being out punching and landing are two different things entirely, close fight but Mayweather by UD. This is only my opinion Leonard is a great and in all honesty i don’t say Mayweather by UD with 100% confidence Leonard was relentless when he wanted, the only fighter in my opinion that maybe could have thrown Mayweather off his defensive fight game and got him to open up if that was to happen, Mayweather could have ended up been on the wrong end of Leonards ferocious, pinpoint accurate combinations which was the undoing of so many fighters, Leonard was a smart fighter also he knew how to get in the mind of his opponent inside the ring and out, like i said the “ultimate dream match-up”.
(Mayweather Vs Hagler) Again, Mayweather by unanimous decision for me. Hagler had incredible knockout power but feel he was a one dimensional fighter. Hagler wasn’t the best in terms of movement and ring generalship. He liked to swarm, chase his opponent round the ring loading up his hayemakers and backing them up to the ropes in order to unleash his attacks. Don’t get me wrong; if Hagler was to land, I feel it would be lights out for Mayweather but as mentioned landing flush on Mayweather is a rare occurrence. Mayweather is no stranger to being “roughed up” and that would have been Hagler’s game, Mayweather would have out-maneuvered Hagler, counter-punching his way to victory. Hagler was known to be easily tempered by his opponents. Mayweather’s personality would have been tailor made to make Hagler lose all composure in the ring.
Mayweather vs. Duran – In my opinion this would be another unanimous decision. The reason being Duran had a granite chin and Mayweather just doesn’t possess the kind of power to knockout a fighter with that kind of genetic make up. If Mayweather did possess this power I would say KO without hesitation. Duran is a slower version of Manny Pacquiao. The resemblance is uncanny, albeit Duran was slower and didn’t possess Pacquiao’s footwork. Duran was a fighter charging his opponents letting combinations go while leaving himself exposed to counters. Leonard made Duran quit due to his one dimensional style of fighting Duran loved nothing more than to mix it up just waiting to land one of his bombs Leonard new this and utilized the perfect game plan, moving, slipping, jabbing countering, infuriating Duran to the point where he refused to fight. Both Pacquiao and Duran do not utilize the jab. As we know the jab arguably is the most effective/important punch in boxing; it is a range finder, it knocks opponents off balance, and it sets up further punches. In my opinion, Mayweather would make light work of Duran in dominating fashion.
Mayweather vs. Hearns – This match-up is the most interesting for me. When I think about Mayweather vs. Leonard, I think an even playing field. Leonard has the better offence, but also has defence and ring smarts. Mayweather has the better defense, but also has offense and ring smarts. For some reason when I think about Hearns vs. Mayweather I think Hearns would knock him out. I have never thought this about any other fighter against Mayweather and as you all know I am a keen Mayweather fan and believe he is an all time great. Thomas Hearns was coached under the Great late trainer Emmanuel Steward. Steward did with Hearns what I believe no other trainer could have done. Hearns was the most unorthodox welterweight there has ever been his genetic make up did not belong in the welterweight division. Hearns was six foot one, a gangly fighter with abnormal reach and was a serious banger. Emmanuel Steward utilized this in the best way possible namely in his earlier fights and against Duran who he knocked out cold. By Stewards own admission he said Hearns would be unbeatable at the weight if his head ruled over his heart. The “Hitman” just couldn’t bring himself to stay out of a dust up, this being his undoing against Hagler in the finest three rounds of boxing I have ever seen. I have visualized this fight many times and due to Hearns’ relentless style, long arms and knockout power. I believe Mayweather would be knocked out. I also believe it would have been early in the fight. Hearns could throw a bomb from a foot away and land it. No defense can prepare for that. That’s why you saw fighters trying to cramp him and fight on the inside. I couldn’t see Mayweather doing that as he is not an engaging fighter who has the power to make it count in that type of a fight.
Those are my opinions only and of course these fights will never happen. Mayweather is one of the modern fighters i believe could have held his own in that era due to the skills he possesses. I don’t believe he would have had things all his way and no doubt would have found a rise to the top of the sport more difficult without doubt. The shame is Mayweather will never be remembered as fondly as the fantastic four not down to his boxing talent but due to the fact there is very little talent surrounding him in his division at this time and for some time before. He has fought the best and beat the best. The business boxing has become hasn’t helped his cause either fighters see the money before the glory of being recognized as a world champion.