By Robert “Big Moe” Elmore: Thomas Hearns ended his illustrious career against Shannon Landberg. Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. ended his career with a lost to Grover Wiles. Rocky Marciano ended his career against a badly faded Archie Moore. I could go on and on.
These greats have their reasons why they chose the opponents they chose for their last hurrah and most importantly their fans can/will justify their reasons for doing so. But for Floyd Mayweather it can’t be the case and it hasn’t been the case. Almost every major sports outlet, lead by ESPN, criticized Mayweather’s choice of two time former champ Andre Berto.
They cried that he should have fought Amir Khan, Keith Thurman, or middleweight champ Gennady Golovkin (GGG). But the way Floyd career has gone, it wouldn’t have mattered who we fought. Berto was not a popular choice, but Mayweather did not over look him. Keeping in par with his defensive mastery, Berto landed only 83 out of 495 punches (17 percent).
Mayweather connected on 232 of 410 (57 percent). Compare those numbers with Floyd’s fight with Canelo Alvarez. Floyd landed 232 of 510 (52 percent) while Canelo landed only 117 of 526 punches. I could name a few more, but for the sake of time I will leave those for the comment section.
If anybody knows me, I’m all a boxer getting the most money he can while fighting, and retiring from the game on their terms and with their vitals in tack. Mayweather knew what he was worth and to an extent his former promoter Bob Arum knew that as well. The best thing Floyd did was gain control of his career. He would not be where he is today had he resigned with Top Rank. He dumped manager James Prince sometime in 2006 and aligned himself with the powerful Al Haymon. From that point, Mayweather was making no less than ten million dollars a fight. He gave everyone he fought their highest pay day and highest pay per view buys even Oscar De La Hoya. De La Hoya’s highest pay per view was 1.4 million buys with Felix “Tito” Trinidad. Sure, there are fights that Floyd missed on the way to the top. What fighter hasn’t? (and I dare anyone to challenge me in that area be the match big or small). Floyd called out several fighters such as Prince Naseem, Juan Lazcano, Joel Casamayoer, Kostya Tszyo, and none of those answers were returned.
Mayweather specifically called out Shane Mosley and especially Oscar De La Hoya (who was the cash cow at the time) after he defeated Henry Brusseles. Both Shane and Mosley made him wait. When Floyd seized the top spot in boxing every fighter from 140 to 160 wanted a piece of Floyd. He has set the bar very high in terms in of how superstar fighters are paid, he leaves the game as the top draw in the sport financially and pay per view buys. De La Hoya has often criticized Floyd for being strictly about business and not about doing exciting fights (though his pay per view numbers say otherwise). The late great trainer Emmanuel Steward once said that fights back in the day were done on a hand shake. De La Hoya was just trolling with his comment which I believe comes out jealousy of Mayweather. Boxing has ALWAYS been about business since the sport came to be. And this is why De La Hoya became his own manager in 1993 then broke away from Top Rank in 2001. Emmanuel Steward once said that fights got done by a hand shake.
I firmly believe that is exactly why most fighters ended up being robbed of their money by promoters because proper documentation wasn’t on the table. Mayweather said he will retire from boxing; boxing won’t retire him. He’s leaving on his terms. He’s still in supreme condition, not punch drunk, not slurring his words, and truly going out on top. And for a guy who has been accused of running and hugging, he sure found way to land over 150 and sometimes 200 punches in a fight. 49-0 and a great career. So long champ.