Mayweather’s unfinished business with Maidana
By Anthony Mason: With the rematch between Mayweather and Maidana pretty much guaranteed, fans can look forward to one of the biggest fights of 2014. Although Maidana is the best option by default, it does not hide that Mayweather’s record is the product of a watered down era on top of his extremely low activity, with only 46 fights in 18 years.
Instead of feasting on the likes of Canelo or Maidana, he could have tried to find his inner Duran and move up in weight to fight prime versions of Paul Williams or Sergio Martinez, far more accomplished boxers than the vast majority of Floyd’s opponents. Even the accomplished boxers on Mayweather’s resume came with caveats.
Mosley was almost 40 and went 1-3-1 immediately after the Mayweather fight, having been worn down after he lost his prime against Vernon and Winky. Cotto had been damaged by the plaster fight with Margarito, and is still a good win for Floyd, but it is diminished due to Cotto’s regression. Austin Trout showed this in Cotto’s very next fight. Marquez was undersized by two weight classes, (one weight class by the standards of the real era of boxing) on top of Floyd failing to make weight. Lastly, Oscar De La Hoya only had one legitimate win in his last 4 fights prior to Mayweather, only beating an inconsistent Ricardo Mayorga.
I am not saying that Mayweather should not take the Maidana fight. It is one of the very few options available at this time. That does not do anything to hide the fact that Mayweather was barely able to squeak out a 7-5, 8-4 type of fight against an opponent of Maidana’s caliber and now needs a rematch to erase the memory of his massive struggles against a far from elite boxer. This speaks volumes about the dearth of quality in Mayweather’s resume.
The same thing happened with a solid but far from great Jose Luis Castillo, whose best wins are Verdell Smith and Stevie Johnston; not something that really stands out on a supposedly great boxer’s resume. The only difference is that Castillo actually beat Mayweather in the first match. Diego Corrales is also one of Castillo’s top wins, but that doesn’t say much seeing as Casamayor defeated Corrales and only lost due to a highly disputed decision. Someone who got dominated by a journeyman in Joshua Clottey is far from a great opponent to defeat.
People will have prepared the excuse that Mayweather intentionally fought on the ropes and on the inside just to entertain the fans. Mayweather repeatedly emphasizes that he needs to be healthy enough to count his money when his career is over, defense is the number one part of his game, and that boxing is to hit and not get hit. He is not going to intentionally disregard all of that for one night of entertaining the fans. That is a convenient excuse he prepared in case Maidana did give him massive problems. Yes, great fighters of the past have struggled against boxers that were not highly regarded, since styles do make fights, but when comparing their toughest struggles to Mayweather’s, the difference is clear.
- Hagler vs Mugabi
- Duran vs Benitez
- Ali vs Norton/Young
- Foreman vs Young
- Holmes vs Spinks
- Hearns vs Barkley
- Robinson vs Lamotta
- Hopkins vs Jones/Taylor
- Toney vs McCallum
- Johnson vs Langford
- Pep vs Saddler/Angott
- Mayweather vs Maidana/Castillo
It’s not hard to see that the last one doesn’t belong anywhere near the list. Roger Mayweather himself has stated that Maidana did not beat anyone notable, so obviously any belts or titles at stake do not hide that fact. Maidana’s wins consist of former paper champion Victor Ortiz, a slim decision over a faded Erik Morales, Josesito Lopez, and a complete hype job in Adrien Broner. On top of that, he lost to Amir Khan and was easily outboxed by Devon Alexander. This is the caliber of opponent that the “all-time great” Mayweather so badly struggled against? I don’t see what makes Maidana comparable to Ken Norton, Jimmy Young, Sammy Angott, John Mugabi, Wilfred Benitez, or the large multitude of fighters that troubled the fighters who, unlike Mayweather, were actually great.
Being the best boxer after 2004 is simply being the best of one of the weakest eras in boxing. That’s not enough to validate greatness. He can only fight who is in front of him, but that doesn’t change the fact that there are very few impressive opponents that he has beaten. He cannot be given special treatment just because he fights in a weak era. Mayweather’s status as a great businessman in the sport of boxing is undeniable. As an all-time great boxer, not so much, especially considering how weak and unimpressive his opposition is.
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