Official ESB Countdown to Mayweather vs Cotto: Measurin' Mayweather - A Tale of Legacy & Lunacy

boxingIn this weeks segment of our countdown to Mayweather vs Cotto, boxing scribe Vivek "Vito" Wallce takes a closer look at Floyd Mayweather jr. For the purist out there, it's his talent that defines him. For others, it's the antics that overshadow that talent. Today, we take a look at both, and realize that what we see may not forever the end has yet to be told:

How good is Floyd Mayweather jr.? This is the million dollar question that fight fans all around the globe continue to ask themselves. Some remember the Olympic run in which he fell short of the gold. Others reflect on the beginning portion of his career where he became a pro on the heels of that Olympic fall with a chip on his shoulder, annihilating everyone placed before him. Then you have that contingent who loved what he did in those days, but consistently ask themselves now "What has he done for us lately"? In recent years, Mayweather hasn't been quite as active as we once saw, and when he has fought, many have taken it upon themselves to question the level of competition he faced. In his last six fights Mayweather faced very recognizable names in the sport, but to many, only one (Hatton) was viewed by most to be truly at the top of his class. But that's at first glance. When we dig a little deeper, things become a bit more transparent..

In Baldomir, we had a lineal champ at the time which represents the best competition available to some degree. Oscar wasn't the talent he once was, but was still strong and also the biggest name in the sport. Victory over him wasn't about talent, but perhaps a necessary step in a sport that had one huge ego being driven out and effectively replaced by "the next best". Mexican warrior Juan Manuel Marquez was the #3 ranked P4P fighter in the world at the time and was also a RingMagazine champ. When we fast-forward a little, we saw a very strong and durable 'Sugar' Shane Mosley who had just finished his destruction of Margarito and had been viewed as a major threat. And then there was Victor Ortiz. Basically a young gun who had shown great strength and a ton of heart, despite a little quit as well.

Each of these men represented great talent, yet cynics and critics alike continue to explore why Mayweather hadn't taken on other challenges. This particular argument is where the Mayweather legacy gets interesting. You have the identification of talent (faced), and identification of his particular talent. For every argument about Mayweathers lack of greatness, there's an angle that adequately supports his true greatness. These two sides have equal ammo to dispense in this argument, yet will never see eye to eye. Despite this reality, the one argument that none could deny regardless of where they preside in the great Mayweather debate is how profound his talent truly is.

"In this era.....the best Pound for Pound fighter in the world is Floyd Mayweather jr.". Those words were very potent, and they slipped off the tongue of a man not exactly known for speaking highly on many outside of himself. That man was another profound talent who few seem to understand: Bernard Hopkins. When we research thoughts from greats of yesterday in the sport beyond Hopkins, most can recall the incredible "Sugar" Ray Leonard saying how it's "all in the eyes", referring to what he deemed Mayweather's most prominent gift, allowing him to "see everything his opponent does and use great speed and an off-the-charts ring IQ to stay a step ahead of them, using every mistake they make and every new step they take against them".

Even the darkest Mayweather critic would have to admit that this is a man who's talent and dedication to his craft is more developed than we've arguably ever seen in the world of sports. To solidify this point, I point to another quote....this one from actor Denzel Washington, who once said "Tyson's mystique and intimidation was one thing, but aside from Tiger, Jordan and now, Kobe, the only athlete I know in the history of sports who has shown that pure killer instinct to conquer his opponent....that put a dagger in your heart and watch you bleed with a smile....just so fundamentally skilled at what he does which makes him almost unconquerable is Floyd Mayweather jr.". Those are some powerful words from some powerful people, yet they don't truly grasp the greatness of what he feels we have before us. But is he right?

Unfortunately, Mayweather has a personality that isn't quite as refined as his talent, and ignorant acts outside of the ring have led some to define his legacy inside of it. As of now, the Mayweather book remains blemish-free, but very much still open, as a few more chapters have yet to be told. His perfection is to some a real perception....yet we learn often in life that perception isn't always reality. In appearance, Mayweather beams a great smile and mahogany skin, free of any ink or piercings. But as we know, the outside isn't as pure as what's within.......just like the ending may not go like it began. On May 5th, he'll have to prove his greatness all over again. It's what he says he was born to do, but doesn't wanna die doing. Trouble is, Puerto Rico's finest seems eager and ready to pull the plug. Stay tuned, as next week we continue our countdown to Mayweather vs Cotto.

(Vivek "Vito" Wallace can be reached at, 954.292.7346, Youtube (VivekWallaceBoxingChannel), Twitter (VivekWallace747), Skype (Vito-Boxing), and FaceBook).

Article posted on 07.04.2012

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