Money Mayweather...A Legend In His Own Mind?
Just How Great Is Floyd Mayweather?
I have been a boxing fan since Liston first fought Clay way back when, so let's say I know a little something about the sweet science. When Frazier first fought Ali I picked Frazier to win because I had the feeling Ali just wasn't ready from his long layoff to take the tough as nails Frazier on just yet. I was right even though Ali fought one hell of a fight, actually one of the most exciting fights ever. I knew once Ali had a good look at smoking Joe things would be different the second time around and I was right again. A lot of people thought Ali wouldn't have a chance against Foreman but I wasn't convinced. I said wait and see and sure enough he out foxed the mighty one with his skill, speed and power.
Ok enough about Ali. This is about Mayweather and the question..just how great is he? Sadly we may never know for sure because of his lack of great fights but I think I have a mighty fine clue. I think one cannot argue about his fine skills as a defensive boxer but does his unbeaten record mean he is one of the greatest ever? Does he rank up there with Duran, Sugar Ray Leonard, Robinson, Hearns and other legends of the sweet science.
My answer plain and simple is..not quite. I think he comes up a little short of this category. Why would I place him short of the top? First off his lack of willingness to fight for one thing. I just get the impression he is a very cautious fighter. There is nothing wrong with being cautious in the ring, but being cautious and his skills are not going to win out over fighters like Robinson, Leonard, Hearns, Duran or maybe even Hagler.
I think the proof of the pudding was in the De La Hoya fight. I had missed the fight when it happened but finally saw it a few weeks ago. This has to be considered his toughest fight for sure. Some thought De La Hoya won. I disagree but I do think it was his fight to win going into the later rounds. Mayweather had his hands full keeping off the ropes in the earlier rounds. At this point in his career Mayweather was still in his prime of primes while that couldn't be said for his opponent. I think De La Hoya a great fighter but I dont think he ranks up there with say Leonard, Duran or Hearns. Actually I think De La Hoya had a better record then he was given credit for. I for one think he did beat Trinadad and Mosely#2 but he had the habit of expending too much energy early in fights and his energy would sag in the championship rounds giving his opponents a chance at him. Leonard and Duran would fight like the devil for 15 rounds if need be and they carried their power into the later rounds. I just get the feeling Mayweather would not jump at the chance to prove himself against these guys the way they jumped at it, no fear.
The very greatest fighters are chomping at the bit to go against anyone who stands in their way. And if by some chance they dont win first time around they will just keep going at it. Forget about records, these guys want great fights. Great fighters want great fighters so they can show everyone what they have under the most trying conditions. Forget about proving yourself in mismatches and loading up your record with wins. Mayweather would not be able to keep fighters like Leonard or Robinson or Duran at bay. In their prime these guys would always throw punches in bunches and really press the fight seeking to drain the energy out of their opponents with clean damaging shots. Mayweather wouldn't get away with the stuff he's gotten away with against lesser fighters. After the Cotto fight a damaged Mayweather said hey he's a hall of fame fighter..well sort of, maybe, not really. If that had been Duran in his prime we might have seen Mayweather falling though the ropes not just taking a beating along the ropes. Dont get me wrong I think Cotto a very tought fighter, a very good fighter, I'm just not convinced he is great. Duran IS great not Cotto. What I saw was Cotto doing real damage to Mayweather with short punches. He only could put two rounds of this sort together. Mayweather was lucky he didn't have more fight in him. He would not have been so lucky against the great ones. Mayweather doesn't seem to posses the power or the energy to deal with the very best. I think they would get to him and once they did it would be downhill from there.