Is Mayweather The Best Ever?
Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather
Even the most uneducated boxing fan knows who Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather is. The name is a dead giveaway; Mayweather’s ‘Money’ persona is one that the boxer has carefully cultivated over his historic career, from a young star in the making to the most famous fighter on the planet. He has worked hard to gain the reputation and character of who he is today, it’s one of the reasons why he can bank $100 million plus for each fight.
So why are his Pay per view buys so unrivalled? Why does he make so much money off one or two fights a year? Because he is a draw, he is enigmatic, people love him or hate him, and when you can get a large chunk of the world to pay to watch your fights in the hope of seeing you get knocked out, only to then soundly defeat your opponent with relative ease, you are onto a winning formula.
Many people have heard more about Mayweather’s antics outside the ropes before they have even realized what he has achieved inside the ropes. Yet his flamboyant attitude towards money is one of the reasons why his moniker carries so much weight. Most people hear the stories about his lavish purchases and high rolling lifestyle. He dropped $1 million on a single football bet (and won), he owns an extensive watch collection worth several million dollars, in fact he is famed for simply having a duffel bag full of cold hard cash and isn’t afraid to spend it all.
It is almost understandable why Mayweather is deemed as arrogant by so many, simply put, he has earned it. Yet with an unearned reputation for only taking on easy fights in an effort to keep his record unblemished, many of his criticisms are on how he has handpicked his opponents to suit his style, and all he cares about is netting another lucrative pay day. Some believe he has had it easy, although looking at the evidence, the history of his career tells quite a different story.
With an unscathed record spanning almost 20 years, he is undefeated with 49 victories, 26 of these by way of knockout. As well as being a champion in 5 different weight divisions, he has won 12 world titles in total and is a two time Ring Magazine fighter of the year.
Starting out his professional boxing career in 1996, Mayweather fought regularly in his early years, fighting 17 times before his first championship bout with only three going to the score cards.Taking only two years to land a championship fight, Mayweather has rarely fought below championship level.
You could run down a list of Floyd’s opponents and it is easy to see that they have by no means been a free pass. Mayweather just made it look so easy due to his unrivalled talent. Many other detractors are quick to bemoan his style, claiming that he is a safe fighter, and one who runs away and wins on points. Although this claim has always seemed outright farcical to say the least.
Diego Corrales was considered one of the most dangerous fighters on the planet back when him and Floyd fought in 2001. Corrales had never been stopped prior to the bout which many consider as one of Mayweather’s greatest performances. The fight lasted ten rounds until Diego’s corner threw in the towel due to a succession of devastating power punches and knockdowns.
Oscar De La Hoya is regarded as one of the all-time greats in the boxing world, and when the two fought back in 2007, De La Hoya was the reigning champion at light middleweight and held a height and weight advantage over Mayweather. Despite these advantages, Floyd came out victorious via a split decision with De La Hoya struggling to land clean punches and break Mayweather’s impregnable defence.
Ricky Hatton was the darling of the UK boxing scene going undefeated into the much anticipated bout with Mayweather when the pair faced each other in 2007. Quite the opposite of a safe opponent at the time, Mayweather again proved his skill by finishing the Brit inside ten rounds marking Hatton’s first defeat in his professional career.
Shane Mosley was just coming off a knockout victory over Antonio Margarito before Floyd and Shane met in 2010. At the time Margarito was one of the most avoided fighters in boxing and the media hailed Mosley as the only fighter that Mayweather should be willing to face. After Floyd walked down and dismantled Mosley throughout the full 12 round bout, the media quickly forgot about Shane's previous achievements and labelled him as washed up and over the hill.
Saul Alvarez was a young up and comer going into his bout with Mayweather in 2013 with an undefeated record as well as holding a number of world titles. Mayweather again proved his dominance in the sport by defeating the younger, bigger Alvarez, who was in no way considered before hand by the media as an easy opponent.
After many years of back and fourth disagreements and boxing politics, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao finally sealed the deal to step in the ring together on May the 2nd 2015 in what was cited as to be the most challenging fight of Floyd Mayweathers career. After a completely one sided 12 round unanimous decision on Mayweather’s behalf, Floyd carved his legacy in stone by completely dominating the bout in what seemed to be one of Mayweather’s most comfortable and easiest fights to date. Of course the critics slammed Floyd after the fight as being too defensive and too preserved, but many considered Money’s performance as a boxing Master class with Manny barely causing Floyd a moment of discomfort throughout the match.
Mayweather has rarely looked troubled in his fights, and takes little damage. His style is very much of a counter fighter, luring in his opponents with footwork and movement and then punishing them accordingly. This can be construed as mundane and lacking in excitement, but in reality, it is one of the most technical aspects of the game. Any fool can rush in and throw haymakers until someone goes to sleep, but to be able to methodically dissect your opponent with intelligence and precision is a remarkable feat, and one that Mayweather deserves praise for.
Floyd Mayweather has almost done it all in his boxing career, and almost done it better than anyone before him. Yet he will always come with that stigma, that target painted on his back. For some, it means a lifelong argument about where he stands in the greatest of all time debate, but the inevitable fact remains. That for Floyd Mayweather, there is one opinion that reigns supreme amongst them all. And that is, that in Mayweathers heart, in his soul, and in his unstoppable vision, he will always be, The Best Ever.