Floyd Mayweather Jr: The Best Ever and Why the “O” Matters
By Joshua Blessman: There have been some great fighters. Many of them beat top opposition. However, what separates Floyd Mayweather Jr (47-0, 26 KOs) from other great fighters is that he is unbeaten and has influenced the sport and its followers more than any other boxer in history.
Unlike his predecessors, Mayweather faced the best boxers of his time and remained undefeated. Boxing pundits may argue that today’s opposition is not as tough as it was in previous eras. This is undoubtedly true when discussing fighters like Sugar Ray Robinson and Henry Armstrong, who both had over 180 fights. However, this argument does not hold when discussing the fighters of the “middle” era, who had a similar amount of fights as Mayweather.
We do not know if “middle” era fighters like Roberto Duran or Tommy Hearns could beat boxers like Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley, Oscar De La Hoya, Juan Manuel Marquez, or Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. Any prediction would just be guesswork. However, we do know that Mayweather beat all the top guys he faced in his time and that elite fighters in the “middle” era that fought a similar amount of times as Mayweather, like Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard, did not. They lost. For this reason, Mayweather is better than the best in the “middle” era. He faced the top level of opposition of his time and remain undefeated. This also explains why Floyd’s “0” is so important and why Pacquiao is such a threat. If Mayweather faces Manny Pacquia and loses, the “0” argument as “proof” of being TBE goes out the window. There would be nothing separating him from other great fighters. There would be no evidence that he is TBE.
Mayweather does not earn the TBE title just because he was able to accomplish what the “middle” era fighters could not. Doing that would completely disregard the “early” era fighters. Thus, it must also be demonstrated why Mayweather deserves to be considered better than the fighters of the “early” era. In the “early” era, fighters like Sugar Ray Robinson and Henry Armstrong fought almost 4-times as much as Mayweather. If Floyd fought 180+ times, assuming he even had the fortitude to do so, it is likely he would have lost. Evaluating Mayweather’s ability to defeat every man he has faced against the extraordinary toughness of the “early” era fighters involves too much speculation. While there is a logical and clear cut argument for stating that Mayweather is better than the “middle” era fighters, he faced top level opposition and remain undefeated, no such argument exists when comparing Mayweather to the “early” era fighters because the amount of fights Mayweather has had is not comparable to the amount of fights of the“early” era fighters. The use of records as a gauge of “fighting ability” to determine greatness goes out the window. Therefore, another method must be used.
Here it is proposed that we look at the boxer as a personification of the sport. When doing this it become clear that Mayweather is TBE. Mayweather’s physical prowess and boxing talent is extraordinary. He is regarded as one of the hardest workers in the sport if not the hardest and his natural ability is uncanny. Second, he has mastered his craft at the highest level. Boxing is about hitting but not getting hit. Mayweather has the best percentage in this area since this statistic started being recorded. When it comes to entertainment, no boxer in the history of the sport has even come close to what Mayweather has done. He is the highest paid athlete for a reason. In terms of advocacy, Mayweather has carried the sport on his back for quite some time: “Mayweather is boxing.”
When adding up his marks, it becomes clear that, right now, no boxer who ever lived can match what Mayweather has done. Mayweather has demonstrated the highest level of talent and athleticism. His mastery of boxing is unmatched. His entertainment value and what he has done for the sport is unparalleled. For these reasons, Mayweather moves ahead of the great “early” era fighters and truly holds the title of TBE. Of course, if he fights again and loses, this no longer holds true. He will still be one of the best ever, but the argument for complete boxing supremacy will be greatly diminished. The “proof” will be gone.
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