Left-Hook Lounge: Does Mayweather’s Legacy Hold Up in History? Will Chavez Jr./Canelo Happen? What next for Floyd?
Javier R. (Ontario, CA): Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. recently had some critical comments about Canelo. I know the problem between Goldenboy Promotions and Top Rank will prevent us from seeing this fight, but if it were to happen, who do you see winning?
Vivek W. (ESB): Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez currently fights at 154lbs and Chavez has struggled to make weight at 160. I wouldn’t rule out a move to 160lbs at some point for Canelo, but will that move come before Chavez Jr. is forced to move up in weight? I think it’s really tough to say. Focusing on the question itself, if the stars do align and these two men somehow square off, personally, I don’t think it’s a very easy night for Canelo. I know that all the Mayweather detractors will suddenly try to take away from his ability and say that he’s “young” and “untested”, or “not as good as the media made him out to be”. But the reality is that the kid simply loss to not only the best in this era, but arguably the best in any era.
I think Canelo’s skills and ability, as is, make him the best fighter under 160lbs. The experience he gained facing Mayweather on such an elite level is paramount, and to be quite frank, a showdown with Chavez Jr. is actually a few notches below. Canelo would be totally ready for this stage and I think those who don’t want to believe now will have several reasons to do so in the aftermath. I really love the kid! He has shown adjustments and he aims to get better every time out. If he was able to nullify the skills of a good boxer like an Austin Trout, I see no reason why he can’t defeat that rarely in shape and often unpolished Chavez Jr. To his defense, Chavez Jr. does display heart. But against a guy like Canelo, I think he’d simply be too slow and greatly outmatched. All that being said, don’t plan for this bout. It won’t be happening!
Robb N. (Dallas, TX): On “Left-Hook Lounge Radio” last week there was a point where you discussed Floyd Mayweather and where you feel he stands amongst other greats in history. Can you explain your position on where you feel he should be on that list, and why you feel he shouldn’t have to prove himself by going up in weight like Robinson and many others did?
Vivek W. (ESB): I don’t subscribe to the mindset that a fighter has to go up in weight to prove anything like many fans and media seem to. Particularly if it means going beyond their natural habitat. I don’t think Mayweather’s decision not to go up in weight should cause his legacy to suffer, and here’s why: Lets start with a look at the sheer size of these men, which directly impacts their ability to accommodate a heavier frame. “Sugar” Ray Leonard was 5’10” with a 74 inch reach. Marvin Hagler, 5’10” with a 75 inch reach. Thomas Hearns was a lanky 6’1″, with a 78 inch reach. Floyd Mayweather is a modest 5’8″, (possibly 5’7″ without sneakers on); with 72 inch reach, and on his heaviest day, a whopping 148lbs.
Not one of these men walked around under 160-170lbs between fights. Not one. They were much bigger men who could get down in weight, similar to what we see with men like Margarito, Chavez, and beyond. Mayweather has NEVER entered the ring above 152lbs. EVER. When we take a look back in history even further, the name “Sugar” Ray Robinson emerges. Was he deemed in such a great light because of results rendered at a height and size comparable to Mayweather’s 5’8″? Nope! He stood 6’ft tall. When we look at each of these men, what’s clear is that they’re all much bigger. Both in size and dimension (reach, etc).
And relative to Robinson’s legacy, there’s been so much talk about him being able to move up in weight through the middleweight realm and perform such heroics. But one thing no one ever brings up is the fact that Robinson, (who had 200 fights), and those in his era fought as much as 4 times in a given month. That was possible only because fighters in that era didn’t have to trim down to make weight. These men all fought at their natural weights. And when they fought someone in a weight class above their own, they basically performed the equivalence of what we see every fighter in the sport today do. Which is face opponents 10-15lbs heavier than they are on the actual fight night.
This is why I hold true to the notion that Mayweather has no moral obligation to fill to anyone by going up in weight. For them, they faced a man who was roughly 15lbs heavier and it was considered miraculous. For Mayweather, this happens every single fight. So by going up to middleweight and facing a fighter who weighs in at 160lbs, it would potentially result in facing a fighter who re-hydrates to as much as 178-180 or so on fight night. There’s a reason behind the fact that once you get higher in weight divisions, there’s more pounds between the classes. The Fly’s, Bantam’s, Feathers, etc., are separated by roughly 3 to 4lbs. When you cross that Welterweight limit, the separation goes from 6lbs, to 8lbs, to 25lbs (LHW – Cruiserweight), and beyond!
It was designed that way because the heavier these men get, the more impact they’re able to sustain, and the more impact their able to inflict. This is why I hold my position about him being potentially the greatest of all time. Some had better offense, defense, power, etc But overall depth-and-balance of ALL those attributes? If both men entered the ring at 147lbs, I’d like his chances any day. When we look at some of the men who defeated the great “Sugar” Ray Robinson, how many had the skills of Mayweather? That says he was hit by men who – all things being equal – would rarely land on Mayweather.
Beyond that, when we compare legacies between Floyd and the “Four Kings”, aside from facing one another, can anyone name 10 top-tier contenders they faced that showcased the “higher level of opposition” many say Floyd hasn’t faced (without taking a look at Boxrec)? Floyd has defeated a host of world Champions, and a ton of future and current Hall of Famer’s to include Mosley, Hatton, Cotto, Oscar, Judah, Marquez, Gatti, and one day I assume Canelo, as well. Contrast that list with Duran, Hagler, Leonard, Hearns, and even Robinson (who finished with 200 career fights). I have the utmost respect for those men as legends, but I’m not one to discount this era because the previous one was more celebrated. “Hard to hit” is hard to hit in ANY era. Ring intellect and pure skills equal success any day, last I checked!
Brian G. (Aventura, FL): I’ve heard a lot of names tossed out as possible future opponents for Floyd Mayweather. When you look at who’s out there from 160lbs down through 140, who do you think will emerge by next Cinco de Mayo?
Vivek W. (ESB): There’s a ton of options at this point. The reality is that every last one will be a considerable step down from the one he just faced, if he stays below 160lbs. Going up to the middleweight limit could be pretty interesting, but I don’t expect to see that, and neither do I think it’s necessary. Of the list of names circulating, Khan, Garcia, and potentially the Marquez/Bradley winner seems more prominent. But I’d be quick to caution that this list means nothing, simply for the fact that we just don’t know what to expect from Mayweather.
One possibility to consider that would certainly be a hit with the fans (contingent upon a solid performance from Amir Khan against Devon Alexander) would be a split feed card from two separate venues, pairing Canelo vs Cotto on the Cinco de Mayo under card of Mayweather vs Khan from Wembley Stadium across the pond. If all parties involved win their next fights, I don’t see why this couldn’t happen. Unless of course Martinez gives deep consideration to a Cotto bout – which has been discussed on a smaller scale. It’s really tough to say how that will all unfold, but relative to Mayweather, I think the options are pretty slim.
What I find comical is that many are saying he should face Broner, yet the same people who want that fight shoot down the Garcia option, claiming that Broner isn’t a good fighter, but Garcia is. Doesn’t really make a lot of sense, but at the end of the day, whatever option he pursues will definitely be one to make a lot of dollars! That’s about the only guarantee we have right now. Stay tuned.
(Vivek “Vito” Wallace can be heard every Tuesday night on “Left-Hook Lounge Radio” at 9ET/6PT. He can also be reached at Twitter (@vivekwallace747), Instagram (ViveksView), & Facebook).