COMMENTARY | Floyd Mayweather Jr. is, pound for pound, the best fighter in the world. There are few who deny this fact. Of the few who dispute his spot atop the sport, nobody reasonably knowledgeable disputes his placement in the top three. Mayweather, whether you love him or hate him, is truly one of the elite fighters in the game and just may be one of the very best of this era.
However, Mayweather doesn’t receive the acclaim that elite, “best of an era” fighters generally receive at this stage of their careers.
Oh, the accomplishments are there. Mayweather is a five-division world champ with a 20-0 record in world title fights. He has become the biggest pay-per-view draw in the sport and still owns the record for highest grossing PPV of all-time for his 2007 bout with Oscar De la Hoya.
There’s no doubting Mayweather’s place in history and what he has meant to an American fight scene suffering through a recession of sorts over the last decade or so.
But, still, one gets the feeling that so much more could’ve been accomplished, so much more could’ve been done with his God-given talent and ability to sell his skills to the world.
While it’s true that some fans and media seem dead set on never giving Mayweather anything resembling credit, the truth of the matter is that he is missing several pieces of what should’ve been a more complete Mayweather legacy.
Inactivity has plagued the last several years of his career. With only five fights over the last five years (and counting), it’s hard to insist on receiving more credit and more acclaim when you’re simply not fighting. Even bouts with second-tier challengers between the big ticket fights would’ve shut up some of the critics and would’ve strengthened his legacy as a true all-time great.
Even now, following his release from jail, Mayweather is nowhere near a return to the ring. Rather than follow up his May win over Miguel Cotto with another legacy-defining bout, we see Mayweather at NBA games, strip clubs, and engaged in goofy Twitter beefs.
Now approaching 36 years of age, Mayweather is at the tail end of his career, but acts as though his ability will always be there, the wins will always come as easy, and boxing will always welcome him back with open arms whenever he decides to come back to it. Up until now, he’s been able to come and go as he pleases, picking up eight-digit paydays whenever he starts to run low on cash. But despite what he thinks, this will not last forever. He’s getting older and his pool of available challengers is getting younger.
We all know of the Top Rank/Bob Arum blockade on Mayweather over the years. This has put Manny Pacquiao, Antonio Margarito, Joshua Clottey, and up until he left Top Rank, Miguel Cotto out of the running for a Mayweather bout. So, few reasonable fingers should be pointed solely at Mayweather for the lack of Top Rank names on his resume. But we also know of Mayweather’s relative indifference at the implications of that blockade. Even though Arum never wanted his guys fighting Mayweather, Mayweather never really cared to pursue fights with Arum’s guys, either.
All of this leaves “Money” with enough holes in his legacy to prevent any talk of him being included in any list of all-time greats. There’s no doubting that his talent and skills are good enough to make the grade, it’s just that his resume doesn’t match up with some of the sport’s true legends. Mayweather only has himself to blame for that, but probably doesn’t care all that much about such things. And that’s part of the problem.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing.
Boxrec, Floyd Mayweather’s Ring Record