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Floyd Mayweather Jr and the curse of being number 1

Andre Berto Floyd Mayweather JrBy Yannis Mihanos: To be at the top spot in any sport means that you have beaten the best out there. Still, the quest as number 1 never ends.

To stay on top and reign supreme means that you still need to work hard, you still have to take care of business. There is no rest for the number 1. So except from a gift, it can also be seen as curse for those who can’t handle the pressure.

Today in boxing, things have changed and don’t happen like they used to. Often fighters to stay on top for long periods of time choose the easy way out: They take on lesser challenges more often, they pick opponents that can easily beat with eyes closed and hands tied.

On the other hand they rarely take tough challenges despite the public pressure and unless they are really forced.

On September 12, boxing’s pound for pound number 1 Floyd Mayweather Jr. (48-0) takes a new challenge, he faces Andre Berto, a fighter that for many shouldn’t be sharing the same ring with him.

For many, Berto seems to be just a tune up fight. A fight well-tailored for the needs of Mayweather today.

Already for this choice, Mayweather has received a lot of criticism. It comes with the territory as they say, what comes around goes around.

Wherever there is too much hype there is also too much expectation, you can’t avoid it, it’s natural.

As we all know Mayweather is not somebody with a low profile, he calls himself “Money” for a reason.

He also makes big statements in public like claiming himself as the best ever: TBE or the greatest ever: TGE.

Even if all these statements may well be marketing attempts for him to sell and attract bigger audiences, these are also triggers for those who are up against him to attack and criticize his every step.

The subject of him facing with the best will always be under question. It goes with the territory as I just said.

For any number 1 there is always somebody out there that seems capable to beat him. For 6 years that somebody was Manny Pacquiao. Pacquiao was perceived as the biggest threat in Mayweather’s career.

Last May, Mayweather finally faced him and beat him and so after a long time he felt again calm and relaxed, but not for long…

A few months have now passed and he is getting ready to fight for the 49th time.

You can never say never in boxing and Berto may still hold a slight winning chance. But is he at the level of an elite professional?

I don’t know about that.

I only know that Mayweather is an elite professional and I also know that he won’t turn up for the fight unfit or unprepared. He has never done that in his whole career so why do it now? No way.

The curse that comes along with every number 1 is that tough challenges never stop, new names always pop up. Now it often appears in public the name of Gennady Golovkin as the new threat for Mayweather’s dominion. He is a bit bigger in weight class but is willing to come down in weight and face him if necessary.

If Mayweather decides to continue and I find it likely, he will be challenged over and over again just like with Pacquiao. There will be no peace, no rest until he fully retires.

If you want to be the undisputed number 1 then all you have to do is fight with the best out there.

Then history will do the work. History will seal the account and make the amends.


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