Max Kellerman: Pacquiao GOAT over Mayweather?
By Jaime Ortega: In a recent interview, Max Kellerman stated, “Pacquiao is the greatest of our generation.” Obviously, Mayweather fans take such statement as blasphemy — arguing Max is irrational and incoherent. How could an HBO analyst, who predicted that Floyd would beat Pacquiao, suddenly imply that Manny Pacquiao is the greater fighter of our generation? One theory is that he works for HBO and bias to his network, but in May 2 2015 out of all the HBO analyst Max thought Floyd Mayweather Jr. would probably win – the HBO favoritism conspiracy don’t work.
Before I start my analysis, I want to point that Max Kellerman out of all the boxing experts who work for other broadcast networks, has shown a decent predictive record when judging bouts. I had the chance to speak with him at the MGM in Las Vegas, during a press conference — and the man knows his boxing well. He is not the type of analyst that allows emotions to affect his opinion — and I respect that – I can’t say the same of Paulie Malignaggi, who constantly accuses Pacquiao of using PEDs earlier in his career — without much evidence outside of supposition! Nevertheless, I agree to disagree with Max. Max’s logic is correctly incorrect — specially ranking both boxers top ten. In the end, it all falls down to opinion. Yet, most people I’ve chatted with, agree with my points—feel free to disagree.
Now, there is a misconstrue floating in the world of social media and the YTBC, that unknown boxers who fight or fought for world tittle shots are ‘bums and cab drivers’ — I exposed such myth in my past article as ludicrously childish, invented during the era of Hugo Chavez Sr. – many great boxers and sport professionals before achieving a world title worked in restaurants, construction or any job to make a decent living while boxing — not to mention some started late and others hustled to simultaneously accomplish other personal goals with hard work and dedication. No boxer that deserves a title shot should receive criticism, degradation or phantom labels. In fact, no boxer should receive any criticism; it’s easy to diatribe the career of boxers, when most fans have never laced a pair of gloves. Those who imply that Sugar Ray Robinson (just to name one legend) fought bums in his career to achieve legacy, have zero to absolutely no knowledge or background of the sport of boxing – its lack of study, really!
Sport newbies who degrade boxers based alone on quality, must also oblige by their own judgment and definition of ‘bum’s and taxi drivers’ with the boxers they claim to support —if so, Pacquiao and Mayweather, had poor professional records according to the mainstream logic of ‘bum’s and taxi drivers’; Mayweather alone, fought boxers who had terrible professional records. Reggie Sanders 12-41-4, Louie Leija 21-15-1, Tony Duran 13-26-2, Larry O’Shields 17-12-3, Bobby Giepert 19-9-0, Angelo Nunez 14-12-3, Jerry Cooper 16-16-1, Sam Girard 17-7-1, Felipe Garcia 14-23-1, Kino Rodriguez 10-14-2, Hector Arroyo 18-10-2, Gustavo Cuello 23-21-2, Edgar Ayala 0-4-0, Miguel Melo 8-2-0, Carlos Baldomir 46-16-6, DeMarcus Corley 44-26-1, Emanuel Augustus 38-34-6, Carlos Rios 53-11-3, Justin Jukko 45-12-1, Jose Luis Castillo 66-13-1, and almost all other boxers left in his professional record have an average of 9 loses — I don’t degrade any of his opponents because every boxer in that list deserved a shot to fight Floyd or Pacquiao. So don’t degrade other legends unless the same double-standard is applied to all boxers which would not help Floyd and Pacquiao’s legacy— double standards!
With that said, the best ‘boxer’ of our generation is Floyd Mayweather Jr., the man has shown incredible prowess in the ring and deserves credit for all his victories. His ring IQ is phenomenal, in the latter end of his career he was his own trainer — he didn’t need TMT. Floyd is a legendary master defensive boxer and one of the most skilled to ever lace a pair of gloves — no one can deny it. However, I’ve said it before and will say it again; when it comes to legacy alone, Pacquiao is the most accomplished boxer in our generation and what he achieved, no one will replicate anytime soon. The man deserves credit and recognition because what he attained as a professional boxer is honorable and simply incredible – now a lot of people accuse him of steroid use, Alex Ariza’s secret shake recipes, but never confirmed — and it’s a low-blow to degrade a boxer if not proven guilty. Mayweather was accused of IV use in his fight with Pacquiao, but once again, no conclusive evidence outside the words of the journalist who wrote the article. Don’t hate boxers because they win fights in spectacular fashion– so drop it!
One of my favorite boxers to watch back in the 90’s who had an amazing skill-set was Ricardo ‘el Finito’ Lopez 51-0-1. He was a master class boxer. Much skillful boxer than Salvador Sanchez or Hugo Cesar Chavez; Floyd admired him growing up. I think as a boxer ‘El Finito’ was even more skillful than Roberto Duran, Gene Fullmer, or Carmen Basilio to name a few legends — but unfortunately his skill set only remained stuck in two divisions because he hastened to challenge his legacy in other weight classes; so despite my admiration, his legacy is shallow compared to other legends. Most people don’t know Charles Burley, a very skillful boxer who was part of the Black Murderers Row, a boxing elite of skillful African-Americans who never had the chance to fight against many pro’s in the 40’s. Burley had all the attributes to beat Sugar Ray Robinson, but the fight never materialized because he was not granted the opportunity to perform. It was not Burley’s fault he never received the chance to compete – and unfortunately, tainted his legacy. But he had a valid excuse, whereas most boxers today don’t have an excuse at all. El Finito Lopez, and Charles Burley were probably one of the most skillful boxers to ever exist, but unfortunately they just didn’t take on higher weight classes, or never got the chance to prove themselves — so it affected their legacy.
Greatness is not based on skill alone or undefeated records, it’s based on risks. Henry Armstrong a natural featherweight took dangerous risk and fought middleweight Caferino Garcia, Al Manfredo and Bobby Pacho; much bigger-stronger opponents only to win to lose again, and re-challenge the belts — at one point even simultaneously defending his belts in three different weight classes; Roberto Duran a lightweight who fought-up to super-middleweight likewise achieved an incredible record going up in weight class stripping undefeated Sugar Ray Leonard from his belt, only to lose the rematch. Harry Greb a natural welterweight beat heavyweight undefeated champion Gene Tunney, who crunched his opposition; even though, Greb lost the rematches with Tunney after his first victory, he sealed his destiny with that first win. The legends above deemed to challenge the status-quo and triumphed and undoubtedly deserve the top ten spot — I will explain wjy later bellow.
Pacquiao is not more skillful than Floyd, but he undoubtedly took greater risk in the game of boxing by moving to different weight classes — a natural flyweight— went all the way up to light middleweight to challenge Antonio Margarito. He cruised through eight weight classes and smote his opponents only to lose to Floyd and rematch other fighters in his career. Floyd on the other hand, was a super featherweight that ventured to light middleweight; but despite his skill, he has not risked enough to station his legacy above Pacquiao — though he is clearly the better boxer. Floyd has an undefeated record, but a record where risk only exemplifies undefeated streaks, not the quantity of fights, nor dominating other weight classes. He should have taken more middleweight fights to seal a greater legacy record than Pacquiao—but undoubtedly he is the better boxer.
In my opinion, both ducked fighters in their careers. Pacquiao wanted no beef with Edwin Valero, who I have little to no doubts would have stopped the Filipino slugger with his demonic power; I also think Pacquiao ducked Terrence Crawford, who has the potential to outbox the Filipino at 140 — yet, I am not convinced Crawford beats Pacquiao at 147. Floyd wanted no part of Paul Williams and retired soon after Williams called his name out — my guess, probably somehow related with Paul’s length. Erik Morales apparently frustrated Floyd in a sparring session on Palo Alto, California 1999 – so he fought Diego Chaves instead, and vacated 140 to avoid Morales. But of course Mayweather in 1999, was not Mayweather in 2007, he was still fresh and under construction. Yet no doubt, Floyd in 2007 would have beat Morales.
Pacquiao’s record is slightly more impressive than Floyd’s based only on where he started — Floyd loves to brag that he easily beat Marquez, but Marquez jumped two weight classes to fight Floyd, and Floyd got penalized for not making weight. If Marquez had beat Floyd, the credit goes to Marquez, but can’t give credit to Floyd because he was naturally supposed to win that fight– bigger boxer here. Likewise, I can’t give credit to Canelo if he beats Khan, because he is supposed to win — he is larger. But If Khan beats Canelo, he takes extra credit to ramp-up his legacy. Floyd beat Canelo, he deserves all credit for that bout, but to rank higher than Pacquiao he amply needs more selection of middleweights and Jr. Middleweight champs in his resume — Shane Mosley confirmed my point in an interview. What I can’t stand about either one, is that they simply avoided mandatory fights. Why fight Tim Bradley, when Kell Brook awaits? Why fight Andre Berto, when Keith Thurman, WBA champion calls you out? I mean, that clearly shows the present state of boxing — how their fans defend such actions baffles me and it is beyond deplorable.
To rank Joe Calzaghe, ahead of Bernard Hopkins or Roy Jones Jr. despite his win against them would be ridiculous. To rank Leon Spinks, ahead of Muhamad Ali despite his win against him — would be also ridiculous. To rank Dennis Moyer ahead of Sugar Ray Robinson, despite his UD win against him — would be simply idiotic. To rank Sandie Sandler ahead of Willie Pep, despite his multiple wins against him — would be ludicrous. And finally to rank Floyd Mayweather Jr. ahead of Pacquiao, after Pacquiao lost to him, is also nonsense – most people don’t understand boxing—they follow the hype without common sense. Double standards!
There are three factors to take into consideration to grant boxers a historical legacy. Amount of fights taken; how many different weight classes a boxer fought outside of his natural weight class; and competition, which equates into quality during the era fought – more competition maximizes quality – that is undeniable. Again, it is all based on the level of competition – how many people box today? How many competitions or boxing gyms exist in America or around the world? Competition has gone down every decade — If that wasn’t enough, ducking, drug abuse and dives still menace the integrity of pugilism today.
In today’s boxing scene, casual fans categorize greatness based on undefeated streaks but dismiss other important factors selecting only the one that suits their agenda– its modern day propaganda. The mainstream average boxing fan no longer relate greatness with the amount of fights taken per year, or the fact that certain boxers move to different weight classes to achieve tittle shots — unfortunately, that is how unknowledgeable fans of pugilism history lens greatness—only based on undefeated streaks mixed with the imaginary notion of “bum’s and taxi drivers”. A Slippery-slope argument. The propaganda is ‘you lost’, ‘you are now a bum’ and ‘I don’t believe in you anymore’ – true boxing fans or opportunist?
According to what I stated above, legacy wise, Pacquiao could not rank at the level of Armstrong, Greb or Duran because he lacks in the department of total amount of fights taken compared to those three legends – his average fight rate is significantly much lower—here I disagree with Max who ranks the Filipino top ten with Floyd. There is no way Pacquiao ranks top ten — not even top 20 – but he should rank ahead of Floyd, El Finito, Calzaghe and Marciano based on the amount of risk he took. People easily forget the risk involved with going up and down different weight classes, only blinded with low rate undefeated records as the only precursor of boosting legacy. Floyd is the best boxer in our generation hands down, but Pacquiao took the greater risk and should be ranked ahead of Floyd in terms of legacy– end of discussion here.
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