By Allan Fox: Floyd Mayweather Jr. is still firing back at boxing great Sugar Ray Leonard over a brief comment he made on social media recently. Mayweather already responded to the former 5-division world champion Leonard over the comment recently, but it looks like he’s still not done at fully venting.
Mayweather is now reminding the media that Leonard was knocked out by Hector Macho Camacho in his final fight of his career on March 1, 1997. By letting the media know that Leonard was beaten by Camacho, Mayweather appears to be elevating himself above him.
Leonard was 41-years-old when he fought the then 35-year-old Camacho in 1997. Leonard hadn’t fought in 5 years, which is very long time to be out of the ring. Camacho was an active fighter. He hadn’t take 5 years off like Mayweather. For example, Camacho fought 6 times in 1996, 2 times in 1997. Leonard made a mistake obviously in facing an active former multi-weight world champion like Camacho coming off of a long layoff.
“If I was a fighter in today’s time, and I’m not Sugar Ray Leonard, I’d have to want to take the Floyd Mayweather blueprint,” said Mayweather to Fighthype. ”That’s the best blueprint that’s ever been invented in the sport of boxing. Sugar Ray Leonard got stopped by Hector Camacho. People will say Mayweather fought Manny Pacquiao when he was old. I’m older than Manny Pacquiao,” said Mayweather.
Mayweather recently came off a 2-year layoff at age 40 to defeat UFC fighter Conor McGregor in a big money fight on August 26 on Showtime PPV in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was a smart move by Mayweather to take the fight with McGregor. That was the perfect opponent for Mayweather. He picked out an opponent with no prior boxing experience in McGregor, and the Nevada State Athletic Commission sanctioned the Mayweather-McGregor fight. It might have been a different story if Mayweather came back and fought a top welterweight in the division like Errol Spence Jr., Keith Thurman or Shawn Porter. Mayweather might have ended up looking his age, and losing to one of those guys. It’s easy for Mayweather to trash Leonard for losing to an active Hector Camacho, but he easily could have suffered the same fate if he dared to take on a dangerous welterweight in his last fight. What Leonard did in taking on Camacho was crazy. Leonard’s natural weight class was 147 though most of his career. When he came off of a 5-year retirement, he fought Camacho at middleweight. If Mayweather were to come off a similar 5-year retirement at age 41 and take on Gennady Golovkin, I think he would suffer the same fate as Leonard did. Any fighter that stays out of the ring for 5 years and makes a comeback at 41 against an active former world champion, they’re asking for trouble.
”He didn’t make more money than me,” said Mayweather about Sugar Ray Leonard. ”Ray is good, but Mayweather is great,” said Mayweather.
Leonard definitely didn’t make the kind of money during his career that Mayweather has. The pay-per-view apparatus wasn’t setup back when Leonard fought compared to now. There’s more money to be made by top fighters in PPV in this era compared to the money that was made during Leonard’s time. Leonard would have made a lot more money if he fought in this era on PPV against fighters like Roberto Duran, Thomas Hearns and Marvin Hagler. Another thing that limited the money Leonard made was the inactivity during the last part of his career. Leonard suffered an eye injury from his first fight with Thomas Hearns in 1991. Leonard didn’t fight for close to 3 years after his win over Kevin Howard in 1984.
Here are the gaps of inactivity for Leonard during the last part of his career:
• 1982 to 1984 – 2 years
• 1984 to 1987 – 3 years
• 1987 [April] to 1988 [November] – 1 ½ years
• 1989 [December] to 1991 [February] – 14 months
• 1991 to 1997 – 5 years
With all the time that Leonard was out of the ring in the last 15 years of his career, it’s a wonder that he did well at all. The fact that Leonard was still winning during that time shows you how great of a fighter he was. There aren’t too many top fighters in boxing that could have continued to fight well with the amount of inactivity that Leonard dealt with during a major portion of his career.
”They want me to go to middleweight now,” said Mayweather in talking about the boxing public that are interested in seeing him challenge 160 lb. champion Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin. ”I don’t even weigh 147 pounds, and they want me to go to middleweight.”
The reason why boxing fans want to see Mayweather fight Golovkin is because he’s told the media that he can beat Golovkin. If Mayweather had never opened his mouth to criticize GGG and say that he can beat him, the fans wouldn’t be pushing him to take the fight. That’s how it is in the sport. When a fighter says he can beat another top fighter, the boxing public is going to insist that they prove it. Actions speak louder than words. When Mayweather had the chance to fight Golovkin, he chose to fight novice Conor McGregor in a circus fight instead of facing a relevant guy in Triple G. Leonard never cherry-picked a fighter from another sport to fight inside the boxing ring. Leonard obviously could have, and probably would have made a lot of money. If Leonard had decided to pick out a professional wrestler and make him fight under the rules of boxing, he would have made money, but he would have hurt his legacy. Mayweather doesn’t seem to be bothered about how he’s perceived by a great many of the fans of the sweet science.
”I’m the most talked about combat fighter,” said Mayweather. ”Whether it’s MMA or boxing, they talk about me the most. When I say something, my quotes go all around the world. You know why, because I’m a legendary icon. I do legendary [expletive]. I speak facts,” said Mayweather.
If Leonard was in his prime right now, he’d be right up there with Mayweather in being talked about in my view. Leonard was more willing to entertain than Mayweather inside the ring. Mayweather mostly been a safety-first fighter his entire career. Leonard was more willing to get in there and get dirty in his fights, and that’s what endeared him to the fans.