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Time to give Floyd Mayweather his due

By Kirk Jackson: He’s too old. He’s too small. He’s too slow. He didn’t knock him out. The fight was boring. These are common excuses and complaints, echoed from some of the Floyd Mayweather detractors while watching his fights. It seems as though every time Floyd does something in the ring, every time he defeats his opponent, there is always an excuse, and critics line up to discredit Floyd in any way.

Whether it’s against the likes of recent opponent Shane Mosley, or Oscar De La Hoya, Zab Judah, or whoever the fighter may be, full credit is never given to Floyd Mayweather.

There always seems to be a loop hole or something, and if that’s the case, you can nit pick any fighter’s resume if you really think about it. We can take a look at his current pound for pound counterpart Manny Pacquiao. Even with their 3 common opponents.

In 2007, Floyd Mayweather moves up in weight to 154, fights Oscar De La Hoya conceding to every request made by the Golden Boy, and Floyd still beats Oscar decisively. Yet at the end of the day, perhaps because the fight was not as exciting as most had anticipated, Floyd does not seem to get much credit for his victory over the larger and still game De La Hoya.

About 2 years later, Manny Pacquiao moves up to meet Oscar De La Hoya at a catch weight which happens to be at the welterweight limit of 147 pounds, a division Oscar hasn’t fought at in over 7 years. Oscar looked drained at the weight, and Pacquiao pulled off one of his most memorable performances pummeling Oscar over 8 brutal rounds. Manny shouldn’t be blamed for Oscar’s shortcomings, Oscar wasn’t forced to take the fight and he probably should of opted to fight at his natural weight class. Manny just beat who was put in front of him. As does Mayweather. Unlike Mayweather, Manny received much praise for his victory.

Also in 2007, Floyd met then undefeated 2 division champion Ricky Hatton in a mega fight at the welterweight division. While Ricky Hatton put up a valiant effort against the pound for pound king, Floyd dominated most of the fight with precise punching and matched Hatton’s toughness with his own brand of inside fighting as well. Floyd also closed the show by knocking Hatton is spectacular fashion in the 10th round. After emerging from the fight victorious, instead of being welcomed with congratulations and unquestioned acceptance as one of the sport’s all time great fighters, Mayweather yet again is met with criticism by many of his skeptics. “He’s too small,” “He wasn’t that good anyways,” is once again echoed by the nay sayers.

In 2009, a few years removed from his defeat against Mayweather, Ricky Hatton challenges Manny Pacquiao in attempt to stand on top as pound for pound king of the sport. Perhaps a little worn down from recent wars in the ring, and ballooning up and down in weight between fights, Manny produced one of the most sensational knock outs over Hatton we have seen in recent memory. After his victory, Pacquiao was met with much praise and high acclaim for his efforts against Hatton.

Against Mexican star Juan Manuel Marquez, Pacquiao had 2 epic fights that ended with controversial results. The 1st bout taking place in 2004, ended in a draw while the 2nd bout which took place in 2008, ended with a split decision win for Pacquiao. Those bouts took place in Marquez’s more natural weight classes 126 and 130 respectively. Many argue Pacquiao may have lost either or both fights because the fights were that close. And you also have some that argue in Pacquiao’s favor because he was able to knock Marquez down in both fights.

After becoming the Lineal Lightweight Champion with his short stint at the division, Marquez jumped up another weight class to meet Floyd Mayweather at a welterweight catch weight in his comeback fight out of retirement in 2009. The 2 year absence seem to have no effect as Floyd dominated Marquez to earn a 12 round unanimous decision. Despite his marvelous performance, Floyd was met with more negative criticism. Detractors would argue Marquez was the smaller man or that he was too slow. There can be a valid argument made because it was Marquez’s 1st fight above 135.

But even with all of that, Mayweather seems to have an unrivaled skill set and ring intelligence that sets him apart from every other fighter. Even with victories over the same opponents, Pacquiao is hailed by most media and many fans as a hero and legend, while Floyd is hailed as an overrated fighter. Floyd beat better versions of Oscar and Hatton and dominated a guy that gave Pacquiao problems, yet he does not receive the same warm praises as Pacquiao does for beating the same opponents. The double standards are not fair and neither fighter should be held to them.

Perhaps the fact Floyd comes off as an arrogant individual, may turn some people off. I can understand some people not willing to embrace the cocky persona. But it’s not like he’s the first person to ever talk trash. The most well renown trash talker of all time is the self proclaimed “Greatest of All Time” Muhammad Ali.

Like Ali, and other polarizing figures, Floyd is providing entertainment. So much in fact he is a household name. Perhaps playing the role of villain or heel, Mayweather is the spark that ignites many emotions and lures people in. He is a draw that catches the eye of many, even the not so casual fight fans. And for that, boxing fans should be thankful.

This isn’t even about whether you personally like Floyd Mayweather or not. It seems like he doesn’t even get respect. Even if you dislike the guy for his personality, you can at least appreciate him for his skills. In the ring he seems to be playing high speed chess while everyone else is playing checkers.

It’s unfair to criticize a guy because of his style, he shouldn’t have to sacrifice his style to please someone else. This is the sweet science after all isn’t it? The name of the game is to hit and not get hit, and he has mastered that. He is a maestro with the boxing ring as his canvas. He trains hard, he is truly dedicated to the sport, just watch him fight he can flat out box. You can see him thinking in the ring, calculating every step, he is a true boxing savant.

To those who claim he is a boring non action fighter, Floyd has also produced some exciting action fights as well. His fights against Arturo Gatti, DeMarcus Corley, Jesus Chavez, Genaro Hernandez, Emanuel Augustus, Angel Manfredy, etc. had plenty of action.

Floyd Mayweather is undefeated, has won championships across 5 different weight classes, and has faced over 15 current or former world champions.

He has already proved his worth as being head shoulders above the rest and being the best fighter of his era. It’s time to start talking about Floyd Mayweather in regards to the all time greats of the sport. It’s time to place him with the likes of Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson , Henry Armstrong, Tommy Hearns, Julio Cesar Chavez, guys of that stature.

Maybe at the end of the day Floyd could care less what many seem to believe. Even if you hate him, you still pay to see him. Whether it’s to win or lose you still pay.

So for all those that say Mayweather’s opponents are too old, or too small, or too slow, or he’s past his prime, maybe people should just come to terms with the fact that maybe Floyd Mayweather is just too GOOD.

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