Floyd Mayweather Jr. - Who Cares?

By Robert C. Jackson: To add to the growing debate regarding Pretty Boy Floyd's place in the pantheon of Boxing's ALL Time greats, several theories have been introduced comparing his ring exploits primarily to those of the two Ray's; Robinson and Leonard. As I'm formulating my own expert commentary on the Floyd Mayweather versus the world of boxing scenario, I must announce that I just read that Floyd is in negotiations with dancing with the stars co-competitor, billionaire and friend Mark Cuban to compete in MMA contests under Cuban's HDNet Fights MMA company; Seriously..

In rebuttal to all who have written, preached, denied and accepted Floyd's greatness in the squared ring I will say that Floyd is CLOSEST to surpassing the ring escapades of Sugar Ray Leonard. Ray made his 40 fight career off of fighting just three other fighters, those being Roberto Duran, Thomas Hearns and Marvin Hagler; Mighty feats in the history of boxing. Wifred Benitez should not be considered in this discussion because he failed to accomplish anything significant following his loss to Leonard and indeed lost seven more times before retiring in 1990. Ray Leonard's comeback victory over Hearns, the 'No Mas' fight and Ray's 12-round unanimous decision victory over Hagler are the fights that legends are made of.

To examine these fights, the 'No Mas' fight was a rematch to avenge their first match that saw 'Hands of Stone' emerge victorious with a unanimous decision victory in June 1980. The 14th round TKO over Hearns is a clear cut victory over a prime fighter even though some thought the referee stopped it too soon. The Hagler fight though won by the 'Sugerman' (coming out of retirement) via Split decision has some underlying controversy associated with the conditions that had to be met by Hagler in order for the fight to be made, many will say that Hagler won or that if the fight had went 15 rounds like the other championship fights of that era Hagler would've came out on top.

Another controversy associated with that fight was the failure of a rematch between the two fighters to be made and all point to Ray Leonard as the culprit who soon after this fight would retire again and then un-retire to acquire more championship belts against an undeserving opponent Donny Lalonde rather than to give Marvin Hagler a rematch. The Hagler, Lalonde controversies pale in comparison to the outcome of the Hearns rematch that many including myself have Tommy winning, yet a draw was granted by the officials.

The final two blows to Ray Leonard's legacy of greatness have to be his Unanimous decision loss to Terry Norris and his TKO loss to Hector Camacho.

By Floyd Mayweathers 18th fight Floyd was matched against Genero Hernandez in what was considered a mismatch in favor of the champion Hernandez, yet Floyd wrested the victory away from Hernandez, with Hernandez retiring in the corner after the 8th round.

In Mayweather's case, no one can say how great Diego Corrales could've have become, all we know is that he is the victor of one of the greatest lightweight fights if not the greatest lightweight fight in the history of boxing and in my opinion was the Thomas Hearns of his era in the 130 pound division. Going into the Chico Corrales fight Floyd was a big betting underdog and was expected to be KO'd by the 6'0" Corrales yet Floyd did everything to make Chico look bad and ended the bout with a 10th round TKO.

Moving up to 135lb division Floyd faced off against 135lb 'tough guy' Jose Luis Castillo competing in a give and take battle with Floyd getting the better of things during rounds 1-5 of the fight and the Mexican picking up momentum during the late rounds in the fight, Castillo so dramatically won many of the late rounds of that fight that many thought and still do think that Castillo was robbed and that Floyd's win was controversial! Instead of doing what Leonard did in regards to rematching Hagler, Floyd rematches Castillo and wins in a more dramatic fashion even though the judges scored the 2nd fight more tightly then the first one.

Floyd's recent conquest over future Hall of Famer Oscar De La Hoya, isn't given much credence because the 34 year-old 5'10" 'Goldie' is considered past his prime. But with Floyd moving up in weight, fighting in the super welterweight division with Sugar Ray Leonard type conditions not withstanding this has to be a signature victory on Floyd's resume. Many expected the larger Oscar De La Hoya to stop the smaller man, even though the betting edge was in the 'Pretty Boys' favor. Consider, the much Larger middleweight Champion Bernard Hopkins doesn't get as much flack as Mayweather for fighting Oscar De La Hoya in 2004.

Floyd's latest test wasn't against a welterweight at all but against a 140lber, who moved up to challenge Mayweather and possibly garner himself the title as the greatest British fighter of all time by defeating the 'Pretty Boy'. Alas it turned out not to be as Floyd put on the performance possibly of the year by fighting Ricky Hatton's 'rough and tumble' type fight and turning Hatton back with a Ray Robinson vs. Gene Fullmeresque left hook in the 10th round sealing his victory.

In ending this diatribe to the virtues of Floyd Mayweather Jr., I will answer the question if he is the greatest or not; Not. Can he be the greatest? No, not ever. Can he be one of the greatest? Yes. Does he need to continue? Yes. A fight against and a dominant victory over Miguel Cotto will help his legacy as will a fight against and a dominant victory over the middleweight champion. Whenever we get it in our heads that someone is going to beat him, put him down he always surprises us, he always finds a way to win and that is really his gift to boxing, we will miss it when he's gone.

Article posted on 24.12.2007

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