Should Mayweather Be Considered One of the Best Ever? Facts vs. Perception
By Chester Rivers: He is the sports biggest draw yet many criticize his choice of opponents. He is undefeated in 45 fights but many criticize the style he used to reach this milestone. He is consistently atop many pound for pound list yet his critics are often drafting failed blueprints designed to defeat him. With only 4 fights left in his illustrious career should Floyd Mayweather Jr. be considered one of the best ever? Let’s examine the facts vs the perceptions.
Famed boxer,Roberto Duran, made headlines this summer with his comments that Floyd Jr. would be “just another guy in the bunch” if he had fought during Duran’s era. It is most boxing fans perception that Duran’s era, the late 70’s and early 80’s, is the most competitive era in welterweight division history. It is also Duran’s perception that Mayweather would be average. When dealing with mythical match-ups facts can not be imposed but logic can be invoked. The truth is Sugar Ray Leonard was the best of this era. Leonard did fight Floyd Sr for 10 very competitive rounds before Leonard scored a stoppage. Many would agree that Jr. is far superior in skills than the Sr. Mayweather. Also unknown at the time is the fact that Mayweather Sr. also had a injury before the fight yet was very competitive. The fight was tough enough that Leonard handlers refuse to grant Mayweather Sr. a rematch once his injury had healed. It is logical to believe that Floyd Jr would fair far better against the era’s best thus dismissing the notion Mayweather Jr would have been “just another guy in the bunch” during this era in boxing.
Does Mayweather cherry pick his opponents and avoid major challenges? Of his 45 opponents 20 has held world titles at some point in their careers . 12 of his opponents were current world champions and considered the lineal champion (the best) of their weight class at the time of their defeat (note Juan Manuel Marquez was the lightweight champion). All of these opponents were victorious in their previous fights unlike the opponents of rival Manny Pacquiao who often fight guys who were badly beaten in their last fight. It is logical to perceive rival Manny Pacquiao as the cherry picker and not Mayweather.
Many of Mayweather’s critics believe his name do not belong along side some of the best in boxing history but when you compare his resume against the sports elite the numbers don’t lie. Sugar Ray Robinson is considered the best ever in the sport. He retired with an impressive record of 173-19-6 with 103 knockouts. Many would say Floyd’s 45-0 record is not comparable but you need to look closer for yourself before passing judgement.
Robinson faced 12 Hall-of-Famers for a total of 31 fights. Of those 31 fights he was defeated 6 times and fought to a draw twice. With this information you now know that 167 of Robinson’s fights resulted in 13 defeats and 4 draws against fighters not worthy of the hall of fame. How can we praise Robinson as the best ever when it is proven he wasn’t the best in the ring on 25 different occasions. The only fighters on his resume to ever hold world titles are the 12 Hall of Famers referenced. Some could argue that at this point Mayweather’s record of victories over 20 different former champions (defeated Castillo twice for 21 victories) is more impressive.
Ironically, Kanye West’s 2007 mega hit “Good Life” describes Mayweather’s career success. In one verse Kanye rapped about some advice he received from fellow rapper and former Mayweather bestie Curtis “50 cent” Jackson. The verse says, ” 50 said go ahead and flip the style up and if they hate you, let them hate you and watch the money pile up.”
In 4 fights Floyd Mayweather Jr career will be another chapter in boxing’s history book. I PERCEIVE that the FACTS of Mayweather’s career will have the subtitle One of the Best Ever.